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Over the weekend of June 25, Hampton Downs Motorsport Park hosted the second round of the Mahindra North Island Endurance series. If the first round was anything to go by, then there were destined to be some sort of extreme weather scenario, as Taupo saw fog, rain, and extremely low temperatures. Would Hampton Downs suffer the same fate? Fog didn’t make its way to the newly revamped racing circuit this time thankfully, however, rain did. 

What happens when you combine drivers that are pushing the limits, slicks, and wet weather? You’re 100-per-cent guaranteed a few offs. The rain was an added element that saw the one-hour and three-hour enduro races lasting much longer, and painfully so. After hours of slicing, sliding, and dicing, it looked as though Richard Muscat was going to win the three-hour endurance race outright — and it would have been deservingly so. 

However, it was heartbreak city for Muscat and the talented Trass Family Motorsport Ferrari team once again, as the International Motorsports Audi R8 saw a gap created by Muscat, dived, and took charge.

With only a mere five minutes remaining, Muscat pushed hard, but it wasn’t to be. A 1.895-second lead by Jonny Reid and Neil Foster in the International Motorsport Audi was the result of a well-thought-out, well-fought battle — this is endurance racing after all. 

The intensely staunch Remraf Racing Nissan R35 GT-R that NZ Performance Car featured back in Issue No. 218, driven by Tim Martin ran extremely well, too, finishing first in its class. How insane is this flame shot by Matt Smith? 

In the one-hour race, it was yet another International Motorsport team that dominated. No Audi this time, but rather their Porsche, driven by Matt Whittaker. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the movie-worthy race ending we’d all hoped for, though, as Matt finished the race behind the guidance of a safety vehicle. Whittaker proved his worth among the hydro onslaught, keeping the nose of the boxer-powered Porsche in front most of the race. 

Three-hour results: 

1. Reid/Foster
2. Muscat/Fillmore
3. McIntyre/Gilbertson
4. McLennan/Cunningham
5. Quin/Penny
6. O'Connor/Innes
7. Martin/Farmer
8. Mortimer/Mortimer
9. Urquhart/Rudd
10. Barrett/Frew

One-hour results:

1. Matt Whittaker
2. Elliot Andrew
3. Rhys Warren/Shaun Varney
4. Paul Verryt
5. Warwick Mortimer
6. Reid Harker
7. Tim O’Connor
8. Kevin Etches
9. Rick Cooper
10. John Midgley 

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.