Ethan Cook can now show 1NZ

Daredevil's best so far

Daredevil's best so far

THE SPOILS: Ethan Cook with the trophies he received for winning the New Zealand saloon car championship at Meeanee Speedway. Picture by Sam Hogan
Gisborne Spreedway Club racer, Ethan Cook (previously 76G) can now show the 1NZ number on his car.

High-line daredevil Ethan Cook pulled off the performance of his career so far when he won the New Zealand saloon car championship at Meeanee Speedway in Hawke’s Bay on Wednesday night.

Gisborne Speedway Club’s Cook, previously 76G, can now show the 1NZ number on his car, and he is rapt about it.

“It was unreal to win . . . it’s still sinking in,” the 24-year-old said yesterday.

Ethan and his brother Daniel (77G) both came through qualifying on Tuesday night for the 20-car three-heat final the next night.

“I had to do it the hard way, though, and go through a repechage that I had to win to qualify for the final,” Ethan said.

In the repechage he went from one on the grid and got away to a good start to establish a handy lead.

“A caution just before the last lap brought everybody back together again, so I had to concentrate really hard for that last lap because the guys behind were trying hard to get past me.”

In the first heat of the final, Ethan started from 16 on the grid.

“I pretty much sat on the high line — the outside line — right through the race,” he said.

“I took the lead at one stage, but with two laps to go I had a car pull in front of me, so I just pulled in behind him for second place.”

In the second heat, he started from six on the grid.

“I won that heat by a good margin.”

In the third and final heat, he started ninth and finished sixth.

“The guy who was challenging me for the title started at the back of the grid, so I drove quite conservatively.

'I knew I was in with a real chance . . .'

“I knew I was in with a real chance to win the title.”

The championship was decided on accumulated points over the three heats of the final.

His brother Daniel had bad luck at the start of the final.

“He was taken out in the first heat,” Ethan said.

“A car slid into him and took out his steering, and he had to retire from that race.

“Daniel made good positions in the other two races, but with a DNF (did not finish) you cannot do much to get on to the podium.

“He was disappointed — we all were for him — because he was looking really fast.”

For Ethan, the result was special.

“It means everything to me to win this national title,” he said.

It was reward for all the hard work that he, Daniel, their father Dean and all the crew had put in on his new car.

It had performed perfectly.

“The car was unreal,” Ethan said.

“It definitely had the grip because it was a hard track to race on. It was slick all night.

“And without John and Sue Baker from Eastlite Carriers we could not be racing.

“What a way to bring in the New Year!”

He and his brother Daniel travel to Wellington now for the New Zealand Saloon Car Grand Prix this weekend, when Ethan will defend his GP title.

High-line daredevil Ethan Cook pulled off the performance of his career so far when he won the New Zealand saloon car championship at Meeanee Speedway in Hawke’s Bay on Wednesday night.

Gisborne Speedway Club’s Cook, previously 76G, can now show the 1NZ number on his car, and he is rapt about it.

“It was unreal to win . . . it’s still sinking in,” the 24-year-old said yesterday.

Ethan and his brother Daniel (77G) both came through qualifying on Tuesday night for the 20-car three-heat final the next night.

“I had to do it the hard way, though, and go through a repechage that I had to win to qualify for the final,” Ethan said.

In the repechage he went from one on the grid and got away to a good start to establish a handy lead.

“A caution just before the last lap brought everybody back together again, so I had to concentrate really hard for that last lap because the guys behind were trying hard to get past me.”

In the first heat of the final, Ethan started from 16 on the grid.

“I pretty much sat on the high line — the outside line — right through the race,” he said.

“I took the lead at one stage, but with two laps to go I had a car pull in front of me, so I just pulled in behind him for second place.”

In the second heat, he started from six on the grid.

“I won that heat by a good margin.”

In the third and final heat, he started ninth and finished sixth.

“The guy who was challenging me for the title started at the back of the grid, so I drove quite conservatively.

'I knew I was in with a real chance . . .'

“I knew I was in with a real chance to win the title.”

The championship was decided on accumulated points over the three heats of the final.

His brother Daniel had bad luck at the start of the final.

“He was taken out in the first heat,” Ethan said.

“A car slid into him and took out his steering, and he had to retire from that race.

“Daniel made good positions in the other two races, but with a DNF (did not finish) you cannot do much to get on to the podium.

“He was disappointed — we all were for him — because he was looking really fast.”

For Ethan, the result was special.

“It means everything to me to win this national title,” he said.

It was reward for all the hard work that he, Daniel, their father Dean and all the crew had put in on his new car.

It had performed perfectly.

“The car was unreal,” Ethan said.

“It definitely had the grip because it was a hard track to race on. It was slick all night.

“And without John and Sue Baker from Eastlite Carriers we could not be racing.

“What a way to bring in the New Year!”

He and his brother Daniel travel to Wellington now for the New Zealand Saloon Car Grand Prix this weekend, when Ethan will defend his GP title.

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