In what was one of our most exciting rounds so far for 2015, the fourth round at Sydney Motorsport Park had a bit of everything! All of our entrants performed to the highest level, be it on and off the track. The presentation of the cars was second to none and the 3 and 4 wide during many of the races again proved we are the class to watch!
Friday dawned fine but we all new at the end of the weekend, Sunday was going to be a bit different! Maurice Masini was back for his first round this year and was sporting the all new Mustang, and straight away he was breaking the lap record and setting the fastest times in practice. Another driver we’ve not seen for a couple of rounds is Peter Carr, with his now re-bodied Ford Mustang he was second quickest in Practice.
Unfortunately as we were the first class on track for the weekend we classed the track as “needing cleaning” there was little rubber down and it was a cold and dusty surface and consequently one of the first to feel the limited adhesion was last year’s champ Darren Chamberlin who spun his Camaro at turn 5.
Friday afternoon warmed up and the track rubber’d up, we had our qualifying midafternoon, the V8Supercars and Porsche had been on track and so it was an ideal time to qualify. Carry on with his good form from practice Masini set the fastest time again for pole position for race one with a 1:12.67, James Abela was .3 of a second behind for second with Adam Uebergang rounding out third. Adrian Flack, Chamberlin and Brendon Pingel came out fourth to sixth on the grid.
All of the classes racing this weekend experienced issues with running wide at turn 5, the circuit has changed since we last raced at SMP with a new two circuit layout turn 5 is also the pit exit of the second “southern” circuit, so many were “using” the extra cement, 4 wheels over the yellow line saw your best time invalidated by race control, during the ARC qualifying there were 12 penalties applied!
Race One saw 34 of our pocket rockets line up for the race, Abela proved too hard to beat and easily won the race after leading for the entire 9 laps (the race was shortened due to time restrictions). The race for second was a three way affair between Pingel, Carr and Flack, however Flack was penalised for running wide at turn 5 and was relegated back to seventh place, Pingel finished ahead of Carr. Uebergang’s luck from the previous Darwin round unfortunately ran out at turn one in the first race, contact with new comer Dehnam Ballantyne’s Holden Cruise saw Uebergang roll his car, it landed back on its wheels and he managed to finish the race with body parts adrift.
Pole position for race one was left empty after Masini’s car broke a drive shaft on the warm up lap leaving a trail of nuts and bolts on the front straight.
In Race Two the current series leader Pingel won a thrilling race that saw the lead change multiple times between himself, Abela, Flack and Carr. From the start to turn 2 saw Abela and Pingel side by side with Abela as the early race leader. Further down the field the racing was just as intense with multiple multi car packs swapping positions. Another too return to ARC was Trent Young, and in this race he had an impressive run starting from 17th to finish fifth overall. Masini repaired his car but this saw him start off the back of the 34 car grid, and with an even more impressive run he finished 6th from Craig Woods at the dash for the finish line.
Aussie Racing Car Series owner Tony Quinn won race three the full reverse grid handicap event. Starting 16th Quinn managed to work his way forward through the field, chasing down new comer Adam Casuccio who started off sixth and quickly got a handy lead. Eventually Quinn finished in style with a 3 second gap ahead of Casuccio with Myles Bond home in third place from Young, Daniel Gaunt (a ring in to Mark Griffith’s car) and Stevenson in sixth place.
Our final race for the weekend was also the final race for the SMP V8Supercar meeting, starting at 4.40pm in steady rain it was almost dark, all the cars ran with rain lights and ducting pushing air onto the windscreens, the Aussie Racing Cars don’t have windscreen wipers so visibility was extremely compromised, and with open windows water spray filled the cars.
Early on in the race Jeff Watters spun at turn 3 and found himself beached and unable to restart the car, the safety car was called so Watters could retrieved. Pingel had just taken the lead from Chris Stevenson on the lap before the safety car but on the re-start James Duckworth leap frogged the field to take the lead, Pingel was having none of this and slipped by Duckworth at turn two to control the balance of the race. Abela came through to take second place which gave him enough points to take the outright win for the round, third home was Flack.
In the final wrap up, as mentioned Abela won the event from Pingel and Flack outright, Flack also took out the Masters Cup honours, Allen Smith was pleased to “finally win a cup” as winner of the Gold Class, and the Rookie for the weekend went to Myles Bond continuing his form for the same award at Darwin.
Brendon Pingel continues to lead the 2015 series with 245 points from Craig Woods on 225 points just one point ahead of Adam Uebergang.
The series now looks towards the 5th round at Mt Panorama Bathurst where once again we are a key support category to the V8Supercars Bathurst 1000. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for updates and press releases.