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Lions drivers adapt to pack hunt

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 12:00 08/02/2013

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Getting used to racing with team-mates is the biggest hurdle for the English drivers when it comes to stockcar teams racing.

The Great Britain Lions team will have their fifth tilt at the national teams champs starting at Arena Manawatu tonight, when they come up against the Wanganui Warriors and the Auckland Allstars.

With an enviable record of three podium finishes, including one final, and a fifth place, Great Britain will meet the take-no-prisoners style of Wanganui, after already beating Auckland in a warmup last Saturday.

Despite four previous visits to New Zealand to race, new team member Murray Harrison said New Zealand's style of stockcar racing is more difficult to overcome.

"Back home you may get taken out to the wall but it's every man for himself; there's no-one helping you to win," 49-year-old Harrison said. "We've never had anything like teams racing so it takes a lot to get used to."

Harrison, who will drive rookie Jake Bakers' superstock, said their championship finals were run over one race only while in New Zealand they tend to be three-heat finals.

"It's incredible here because when you get to the third heat of a championship, it's just another teams race with drivers out of the running helping those in the hunt."

Harrison believed the New Zealand championships at Nelson and the World 240s at Rotorua clearly showed teams racing by the Palmerston North drivers was instrumental in helping Shane Penn win.

"Shane didn't have the quickest car but he had the best support," he said. "It's clear all the Palmerston North drivers got together and decided who would race and who would stop others from winning."

Murray said he just didn't want to let his team-mates down this weekend. "Mark [Taylor] and Frankie [Wainman have been here before and are proven teams racers; I just want to do my part and help us win."

But Harrison's main aim in returning to New Zealand is to further develop the skills of 21-year-old son Ryan, who will also front for Great Britain tonight.

"I've had 30 years' racing and I'm over the top now, but this is another stepping stone in Ryan's development as a stockcar driver; and he's always wanted to come out here and race'

"He's aggressive back home and as he's already shown here, his aggressive style of driving will I think be suited to teams racing."

Ryan Harrison has already rolled Peter Rees and last week he took to Darren Short in Auckland.

"If drivers want to attack him he's not going to sit back and watch; he'll get even."

Ryan Harrison had already put his body on the line for Rees once before, at Coventry, England, when Rees had been knocked out in the world final. "Ryan could see Peter was in serious trouble. He was knocked out but his throttle was still on hard and Ryan rushed out in his car and sandwiched Peter's car into the wall so someone could stop it."

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- Manawatu Standard

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