Pither defies odds

  • 11/10/2015
  • By Samantha McLaughlin
  • Dunlop Super2 Series

Ice Break Racing's Chris Pither defied the odds yesterday in the V8 Supercars Dunlop Series mini-enduro, producing a stunning drive to finish third from the rear of the grid.

The flying kiwi was ruled out of qualifying on Friday after he fell victim to The Dipper in final practice, forcing him to start yesterday's 40-lapper in 23rd.

Prior to the crash, Pither was showing strong signs of pace, having recorded the second and third quickest times in practice one and two respectively.

And thankfully for him, his MW Motorsport Falcon returned to form yesterday to pass 20 cars in the race after undergoing massive repairs overnight.

"We rolled [the car] out for the warm-up [yesterday] morning and it was exactly the same way that it was in practice prior to the accident," Pither said.

"It was pretty important for the championship overall to be able to obviously get the car out there, but then to get a result like this is a fantastic effort by the team."

By the first lap, Pither had already made up five spots and had made his way up to 14th position by the time he pitted on lap four under safety car.

The 28-year-old continued to fight his way though the field and was running in seventh by the time he stopped again for a splash and dash on lap 17, remerging in the race with the effective leaders Paul Dumbrell and Cam Waters.

"Most of the time, I didn't really know where I was [in the order] until after the final safety car," Pither explained.

"I was just picking them off one at a time and having a lot of fun doing it.

"The car was really strong in a couple of areas, so I was just basically trying to get myself in a position where I could attack in those spots and make the most of it.

"I was just fortunate the car was strong and made it possible for me to make the passes I needed to make. It was thoroughly enjoyable carving a few of them up."

Pither had made his way past Waters in second on lap 20 and began challenging Dumbrell for the race lead.

But Dumbrell soon pulled a gap, leaving him in the sights of a charging Waters.

As Waters applied the pressure on Pither, the Prodrive Racing Australia young gun made contact with the rear of the Ice Break Racing Falcon at high-speed on the approach to The Chase.

It was a hair-raising moment that sent Pither sideways, but he unexplainably held on to the car to survive the dangerous turn.

"To be honest, I don't know how I did it," Pither said on his impressive save.

"I just thankfully came out the side and didn't end up like Fabian Coulthard's car [when he crashed at The Chase in 2010]."

Waters obviously didn't intend the contact and yielded, eventually making his way past the #42 a few laps later.

"I kind of had to get the job done at The Chase," Waters said.

"When Chris passed me going into The Chase I had a moment, I don't know what happened. I was kind of just chilling out and the car just went and hit the side of his car.

"I made a massive mistake. Massive apologies to Chris and his team, that was all my fault."

After today's 300-point mini-enduro, Dumbrell has closed the gap to leader Waters by 149 points.

Pither's impressive drive yesterday has seen him catch up on teammate Jack Le Brocq in the points, with the kiwi only 10 points off third.

The Dunlop Series resumes for the final round of the series at the Coates Hire Sydney 500, December 4-6.

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