The ‘big guns’ of the NZ KartSport world, the purpose-built 6-speed/125 KZ2 class karts and their talented drivers, are on their way to Auckland this week to contest the penultimate round of the 2017 Molecule ProKart Series at the KartSport Auckland club’s Giltrap Group Raceway on Saturday and Sunday.
So far this season the Molecule ProKart Series has visited Palmerston North, Te Puke and Rotorua, but this weekend is the first time this year that the drivers get to strut their stuff at what for many is their ‘home round’ in front of friends, family and sponsors.
“That’s right,” says promotor Steve Brown, “we’re finally bringing the show to Auckland this season, and with it being the penultimate round of our series it’s going to be some show, believe me.”
Key to that show is just how close it is points-wise with the runner up in the premier Wifi Plus KZ2 class, Aaron Wilson, just a single point behind leader Mat Kinsman, with reigning KZ2 class NZ sprint champion Dylan Drysdale and multi-time former class champion Ryan Grant, tied another single point back in third.
The round also sees the return to the Molecule ProKart series of top Australian driver Troy Loeskow (currently running second in class in the Australian Kart Championship) and the addition of another local young gun, Caleb Currie, to the 20+ grid.
Things aren’t as close, points-wise in the Aarque Group KZ2 Masters and Aarque Group KZ2 Restricted classes but the unique nature (a combination of fast straights and tight hairpin turns) of the KartSport Auckland club’s track on the Rosebank Domain will keep things close.
Particularly with a combined grid of over 20 regulars supplemented by three returning Masters class drivers, Kevin Storr, Tommy Benadie and Garry Claxton.
Aarque Group KZ2 Masters driver Andrew Hunt from Auckland heads into this weekend’s round with 274 points, 15 more than Hawke’s Bay ace Tom Loughran. But then there are only nine points separating Loughran and the next four drivers, Enrico van der Griend and Brett Hollander from Auckland, Graeme Lambert from Mangakino and Darren Aislabie from Rotorua.
Long-time Aarque Group KZ2 Restricted class pace-setter Garry Cullum, meanwhile, has a six point lead over fellow Aucklander Regan Hall. Again, though, behind Hall, there are four drivers – Aaron Wooley and Gerhard Benadie from Auckland, and Shaun Anderson and Jamie Pollock from Wellington – separated by just seven points.
This weekend the Molecule ProKart Series classes are the headline act at the inaugural Lightning Racegear-sponsored Auckland Cup meeting.
There will be action at the track on both days with qualifying and two 16-lap heats per class on Saturday and the remaining 16-lap heat then 20 lap Pre-Final and 28-lap Final per class on Sunday.
Access to Giltrap Group Raceway is via Patiki Road and spectators are welcome.
2017 Molecule ProKart Series, Series points after Rnd 3 of 5
1. Mat Kinsman 259 points; 2. Aaron Wilson 258; 3=. Dylan Drysdale & Ryan Grant 257; 5. Rhys Tinney 242; 6. Jordan Morris 239
Aarque Group KZ2 Masters
1. Andrew Hunt 274 points; 2. Tim Loughran 259; 3. Enrico van der Griend 256; 4. Brett Hollander 250; 5=. Graeme Lambert & Darren Aislabie 247
Aarque Group KZ2 Restricted
1. Garry Cullum 270 points; 2. Regan Hall 264; 3. Aaron Wooley 258; 4. Gerhard Benadie 256; 5. Shaun Anderson 254; 6. Jamie Pollock 251
2017 Molecule ProKart Series – Calendar
- Rnd 1: Sat- Sun Feb 18-19 Manawatu Toyota Raceway, Palmerston North
- Rnd 2: Sat-Sun March 18-19 Te Puke Auto Electrical Raceway, Te Puke
- Rnd 3: Sat-Sun May 20-21 KartSport Rotorua International Raceway, Mamaku, Rotorua
- Rnd 4: Sat-Sun July 29-30 Giltrap Group Raceway Auckland
- Rnd 5: Sat-Sun Aug 12-13 AgriSea Raceway, Hamilton