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UP-AND-COMER LIAM BURKE CLEARS OUT IN PRO-SPORT QUALIFYING

After taking second place in the opening round of the D1NZ Pro-Sport Series, Liam Burke has stomped his authority on the competition at ASB Baypark Stadium.

Burke arrived at round two in Tauranga with a fresh new look, but the same aggression he showed at Max Motors Wellington Family Speedway a month ago.

Burke dominate proceedings with a 71-point run that put him 11 points clear of his nearest rival Callum Neeson.

The judges set tough criteria for the Link ECU D1NZ National Drifting Championship Pro-Sport Series field to meet. Aggressive entry and exit were key to getting a high score, as well as following the set line and mixing up angle with style.

After suffering a crash in practice, Alec Griffin managed to get back out to set a score. He barrelled through turn two, but went too deep and dropped a wheel off. Unfortunately he didn’t make it through to the top-24.  

Taupiri teacher Kyle Jackways was the first casualty. An uncharacteristic mistake saw him spin on the exit of turn one and subsequently record a zero.

Scotty Dinsdale looked solid through the first sector in his new-look Nissan Silvia S13. However, he made a big correction out of turn three and was relegated to the back. Fortunately his second run earned him a spot in the top-10.

Callum Neeson went to the top early on in his Evergreen-backed Nissan 180SX. He scored high in line, but the drivers were still some 40-points away from the highest possible mark.

In rather bizarre circumstances, Atlan Norman drove the course twice. The judges decided to score both runs and ended up with a 50.5-point run to sit third provisionally. He eventually fell to 12th however.

A really strong start to local driver Kurt Blackie’s first run came to an end after he spun on the exit of turn three. It was a similar story in his second run, but a few straight lines cost him. He qualified 21st and just scraped through to the top-24.

Round one pole sitter Ra Heyder leapt to third on his first run with a 51-point run, but fell to seventh by the end of the session.

Tulley Puckey’s second run signalled the halfway mark in qualifying for the Pro-Sport Series. Having sat 13th he managed to improve in ninth. As the field moved on through he fell down the order and qualified 15th.

Wellington round winner Taylor James sat 23rd and needed to improve to have hopes of getting a good run through to the finals. A big dirt drop meant he was marked down, but he still managed to get up to 13th by the completion of qualifying.

After a zero in his first run, Kyle Jackways surged to third. A 24 out of 35 in his line put him up towards the top and into third. Meanwhile, Scotty Dinsdale managed to go from 17th to eighth with his second run.

The second run continued to bring some surprises with Michael Thorley usurping Jackways for third and James Steel snatching fourth.

Eventually it was Burke who came out on top. His second run was favoured by the judges because of aggressive entry and exit angle. However, he could’ve improved through the bottom teardrop, but stacks of angle and consistent throttle put him on top.

The Link ECU D1NZ National Drifting Championship Pro-Sport Series at ASB Baypark Stadium continues on February 17th for what is the second round of their calendar.

For more information visit d1nz.com or nzxms.co.nz. For ticking details visit iTicket.co.nz.