Sunday’s MINI Challenge at Pukekohe Park Raceway showed that Kiwis do fly in
their MINI Cooper S machines.
German driver Peter Sharmach arrived after the Friday practice session and was
handicapped by damaged tyres but still managed first place overall for the
Former Pro 7 national champion Eddie Bell took second place for the round and
young gun Anthony Pedersen finished in third place.
It was a dramatic race three of the MINI Challenge that wowed the crowd with
door handle to door handle racing showing the Kiwi drivers had the mettle of
What started out as a battle in race three between former Toyota series
champion Brent Collins in the PDL MINI #44 and Eddie Bell in his ESWA MINI #69
for the first eight laps, took a dramatic turn on lap nine when Peter Sharmach
in MINI #27 took the lead and International Motorsport team member Anthony
Pedersen in the J.A. Russell MINI #96 followed.
A relieved Sharmach crossed the line in a dramatic finish, winning by the
slimmest of margins, 0.023 of a second in front of Pedersen.
“Everything came together for me despite the tyre issues, I was very happy to
finish so well,” Sharmach said at the podium presentation held after the race.
Hailing from Rotorua, 16-year-old student Pedersen was wrapt with his
performance in race three, after finishing in fifth place in race two earlier
in the day and third in the first race on Saturday.
“It was an awesome race, I absolutely loved every minute of it,” said an elated
Pedersen. “The car went really well, it was great chasing Peter to the finish
Kevin Cantwell of Auckland finished race three in third place in his MINI #6,
followed in fourth place by Eddie Bell.
In race two Brent Collins in the PDL MINI #44 took the lead at the first corner
from Gavin Dawson in the Scalextric MINI #50, and then lead the field to the
finish line by driving defensively.
Eddie Bell got around Dawson on lap four of the eight lap race, and chased
Brent Collins all the way to the end finishing in second place, while third
place went to Peter Sharmach in MINI #27 who passed Dawson aggressively in the
Anthony Pedersen kept a clear head and held on to fifth place in race two
followed by Motorsport Services team members Kevin Cantwell, Jeff Hogg, and
Gary Johnstone held onto ninth place followed by the MINI Challenge’s youngest
competitor 14-year-old Richard Moore driving to 10th place.
MINI New Zealand manager Peter Jarratt was very happy with the outcome of the
first round of the MINI Challenge, given that all competitors and cars had
finished relatively unscathed.
“It appears that we have three Kiwi drivers, Collins, Bell and Pedersen who are
already very competitive against our experienced German entrant Peter Sharmach
and we still have six very exciting rounds of the MINI Challenge to go.”
Source: MINI of New Zealand