Power Rankings Team TRT April 22, 2024 (Comments off) (456)

Power Rankings: Taupo

Taupo: the latest place to be uncovered by the Supercars Championship that is now on your bucket list.

So there was an awful lot to unpack from that one: the pandemonium of the New Zealand Touring Car Championship on Saturday, to the running of the Bulls on Sunday, and everything else – here are the Hot, Not and What from the maiden Taupo adventure.


ABOUT THE RANKINGS: The TRT Power Rankings are compiled by your nominations from social media and edited by the TRT editorial team. They’re designed to give a balanced, as fair as possible critical overview of those things that excelled and those things that struggled, at each event. It’s (mostly) a democracy, and what you nominate generates the order, so have your say next event via our social media channels, @theracetorque on Facebook, Twitter and Insta. Look for the call out each evening and get commenting!


HOT

1. The Crowd/New Zealand Fans/Taupo

It’s as if Supercars has treated them mean to keep ‘em keen. Questions around the concept of bringing the circus across the ditch to a relatively short country track were shut down with a sell-out audience, who were massively enthusiastic, especially when it came to supporting the locals, who absolutely stood up. How hardy were they to sit through those conditions on Saturday? That was an incredible display…

Then there is the track itself – it was ace, and something unique on our schedule. The paddock setup was solid, and while access to the Supercars pits was limited to VIPs and those willing to pay, the support paddocks were always open and were packed at all times. Tony Quinn’s obsession with toilets extends to both sides of the Tasman – even the portable structures were very decent and clean. Also, the general admission viewing areas were great, with the compact layout playing out well for the crowd.

Also, how good is the town of Taupo? The pictures and stories beamed back to Australia over the weekend will ensure more tourists will be crossing the ditch for a visit in 2025. Can New Zealand support two Supercars events in two weekends next year? Absolutely…


2. Andre Heimgartner

Just missed out on the Jason Richards Trophy after a brilliant Saturday win and a fast-finishing sixth on Sunday. It was a significant turnaround for the Brad Jones Racing squad, who were all at sea after the opening two events of the season.


3. Red Bull Sunday

The Bulls battled the conditions on Saturday, with Will Brown ninth and Broc Feeney 21st, but absolutely turned it around as if race one didn’t happen, with the team’s fourth one-two for 2024 on Sunday in what was the best battle of the race. It clearly hasn’t taken Brown long to figure out the T8 way of going racing, and he holds down a handsome 71-point advantage at the top of the standings heading to Perth.


4. Anton De Pasquale

From a non-start at the most recent race in Albert Park to claiming the Jason Richards Trophy with a pair of third-place finishes, the trip to New Zealand witnessed a massive turnaround for the Dick Johnson Racing stable. After only registering one other result in the top ten this season, it was a genuine return to form for the former nine-time race winner. The sport is better when DJR are competitive.


5. Ryan Wood

After a double-blotto from his debut at Bathurst to a 12th and a tenth at the AGP, the rise and rise of the Kiwi rookie continued on home soil with a flying fourth Saturday and another tenth on Sunday. He was genuinely on for a podium on Saturday, but one small mistake may have been costly. Two top-ten shootout appearances also added to the overall success of the weekend. Kid can drive.


6. Will Davison

Second on Saturday was a big result, his first podium since Hidden Valley last year and third podium since Surfers Paradise 2022. A tougher run on Sunday, but the signs are trending positively for the team.


7. Jack Le Brocq

Fifth and eighth for the weekend to sit seventh in the points – not the ultimate pace you would have seen from the Erebus squad last season, but solidly consistent, as JLB overshadowed teammate Kostecki on his return. Despite everything, the Erebus crew now sit third in the team’s standings.


8. Penrite Racing

Some contrasting results, but the team now sit second in the live pit lane order. Richie Stanaway finished sixth and 13th, while Matthew Payne was 14th and fourth with the Sunday pole, with the pair respectively fourth and fifth in the standings. Hat tip too to Payne for absolutely coming out of his shell, he is now has some really good chat for the TV cameras – the sport needs more personalities, and his is a good one.


9. Jaxon Evans

Another local rookie who did quality things, especially in the wet. After a tough initiation, Evans registered results of tenth and 14th in what was the best showing by an SCT Logistics entry to date in Supercars.


10. Premiair Nulon Racing

Seventh and fifth for Golding was stout, and two shootouts for Tim Slade was solid, even if the races didn’t work out.


FURTHER HOTS

The Rain

If you are sitting at home, the action on Saturday across the board was brilliant. Also, see: NOT.


Dry Sunday Shootout

So much better than the wet version one – 0.09sec separated the top four in an entertaining affair.


Carrera Cup

Some great racing by the Porsches on their second international trip. The opening two races were held in tricky conditions, which played into the hands of wiley veteran David Russell, who claimed the wins – the first defending from Angelo Mouzouris and the second from Jackson Walls. Walls recovered from a slow start to the weekend to claim the third and final race win. For Russell, it was an overall round win breakthrough after a record 60 rounds, from which he finished on the bottom podium steps 14 times. Good stuff. Hat tip too to Nash Morris, who was in the thick of the action at the pointy end of the field in only his second Carrera Cup start.


Supports

It’s always great to roll into New Zealand to see the best of the local undercard strut their stuff on the big stage. The Formula Fords and Toyota 86s aptly raced as if sheep stations were on the line, and were brilliant entertainment, while the Central Muscle Cars tuned on their own brand of brute horsepower.


Merch sales

Supercars did a robust business on Merchandise sales at the weekend, Kiwi fans clearly keen to stock up on the latest branded gear after a year of not being able to. Two separate teams, under the conditions of anonymity, confirmed a near-record day of sales for the last several years.. and that was on Friday afternoon.


Sir Colin Giltrap tributes

Led by the Porsche Carrera Cup team, by Friday morning a vast majority of the cars racing at Taupo carried tributes to the late founder of the Giltrap Group, one of the most influential figures in Kiwi Motorsport for six decades plus. Every Porsche, every Toyota 86, every Formula Ford, a lot of Central Muscle Cars and the five Kiwi-steered Supercars all carried the commemoration to the great man, who sadly passed on the Thursday morning of the event. It went further afield too, with the same commemoration seen on EBM-run cars in Sepang and at Spa Francorchamps on the same weekend.

He was well remembered by all there in a way that, as his family and friends confirmed, he would have loved – but perhaps the best possible thing was Andre Heimgartner winning Saturday’s race.


Thursday Afternoon in Downtown Taupo

What a turnout – fantastic community support for the Supercars family at a new location for the Championship. Race cars being driven on the road is forever cool…


TV Things

  • Having Greg Murphy back
  • The drone shots (although it’s a NOT that the drone didn’t carry The Race Torque branding…)
  • This opener:

Cameron Waters

Pole for race one was hot, getting fenced off the start was a not, driving back through the field in a car that wasn’t 100 per cent to claim eighth was hot. Sunday was a bit irrelevant in ninth. To see a championship favourite mired in 15th in the points after three events is not what we had on the bingo card…


Wendy’s

Following in the footsteps of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spongebob Squarepants, and some other Pizza Hut special liveries, introducing the American burger chain Wednys to this part of the world with a quality livery was a great play.


WHAT

Forgettable


My precious?


Media Cat


Chad Neylon’s Portaloo Reviews

That’s it. That’s the post.


WHAT?

The Brodie Kostecki Situation

While it is brilliant for the sport that Brodie is back, as has been the case in this entire saga, the latest move to see the reigning champion back behind the wheel simply brings up a raft of new questions, which we’re guessing, will never be properly answered publically…


NOT

1. Chaz Mostert’s Lost Wheel

A cross-threaded wheel nut cost the Walkinshaw Andretti United crew a potential podium spot (or better) on Saturday. It was a tough break after being in the mix for a potentially big result. The lesson? Never take on BJR in a pit stop fight..


2. Race 1 Start Shunt

A wholesale shame for Waters and Slade, who absolutely copped the worst of it.


3. Pit Lane Chaos

Forever a NOT on these pages, it was messy and a bad look. What’s the solution? Shut the pits and everyone will stop early, and strategy would be a non-factor. Give everyone their own boom, and it would cost an awful lot of money, and you’d need to have longer pit lanes. Ugh.


4. Broc Feeney

Finishing 21st on Saturday was a tough result. Rebounded nicely on Sunday, but Brown has the upper hand in that camp at the moment.


5. Nick Percat

The ultimate hero to zero after a last-start win at Albert Park. Last in qualifying for both races resulted in finishes of 19th and 16th, although pace in the races was probably better than that.


6. Brodie Kostecki

Penalties on both days were costly, resulting in finishes of 13th and 12th, which isn’t the end of the world. Hopefully, now the rust is shaken off, he’ll be on the money in Perth.


7. Team 18

After a strong start to the year, results of 16th and 24th for David Reynolds and 11th and 17th for Mark Winterbottom were hopefully just a blip. ATB’s post-event summary to Chad was succinct.


8. Bryce Fullwood

Spun out of the opening race, and with engine dramas kicking in, he couldn’t get going again, while 18th on Sunday wasn’t worth writing home about.


9. The Rain

Just bloody awful for those hardy souls who camped out trackside – they did not deserve that. It also cancelled the driver’s parade, which on the one hand is entirely understandable, but on the other hand, a massive shame for the fans who didn’t get to see their favourite drivers.


10. Rain increasing in the Top Ten Shootout

If you could hold a shootout in equally wet conditions for all, it would be brilliant. As it was, those who provisionally qualified best on Saturday copped the rough end of the pineapple by having to deal with the worst of the conditions in the top-ten runoff.


OTHER NOTS

Blanchard Racing Team

15th and 17th Saturday, 22nd and 23rd Sunday, 12th and last in the team standings – a tough start to the season for the expansion squad.


Race 1 Penalties

Race control had a bit on during and after the Saturday encounter, with numerous penalties served up. Included in the mix were:

  • Triple Eight 30 team points and $1,500 for lost wheel nut in the pits
  • WAU 30 team points and $1,500 for lost wheel on track
  • Randle 15sec for his move on Feeney at turn 1 lap 1
  • Percat 10sec for SC infringement – doing 90km/h in an 80km/h zone
  • Kostecki 15sec for punting Courtney
  • Matthew Payne 5sec for contact with Randle
  • Tickford fined $1,000 for a data logger breach in qualifying

Sunday’s Non-rain


Computer Generated Billboards Look Even Worse in the Rain

It’s a fact.


Too Much Traffic (is a good thing)

All of our feedback from various people on the ground exiting at various times is that traffic management was relatively competent, especially for a brand new event; but the issue wasn’t the management – it was more that there was an awful lot it – so it moved, but took a long time to get out of the track.

Also, the queues for the bus were rather lengthy on Sunday afternoon. A soft not for a solid first-time effort, when this sort of thing has fallen to custard at other events.. as those in South Australia will be familiar with. Still, room for improvement in 2025.


SOCIALS

Tis


We’ve got your back, Chad. But did you win a dog?


Absolutely worth fighting for…

Editors note: By the irrefutable powers of the Crowded House / Pavolova / Russell Crowe / What is theirs is therefore ours rule, we are claiming Steven and his five Bathurst wins for Australia.


That explains his unexplained absence…


Fact


Reason number 587 to visit New Zealand


Dammit…


MEME

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