Once again the Aussie Racing Cars were without a doubt the best show on wheels at Phillip Island last weekend. No other class can boast having 10 cars bunched up at the front with anyone one of them able to jump to take the win, multiple lead changes every lap, pack racing right through the field or five cars wide through the fast turn one!
The second to last round for this year saw a number of new drivers and new cars join us. Leigh Bowler had a baptism by fire first run in his pocket rocket with a couple of spins resulting in a couple of DNFs. Youngster Harley Haber proved he’ll be a 2016 contender when he steps up to his new car after qualifying 5th in the wet on Friday. And new comer Adam Casuccio was very happy with his 13th outright for the weekend in his new Toyota Aurion.
A fine day on Thursday saw the unpack and setup lull the entrants into a false sense of security with a lovely fine Victorian day. However Friday morning started with a storm and torrential rain, somewhat par for the course with Phillip Island! The practice session was extremely wet and saw the teams bolting on ducting to blow some air onto the windscreens to limit fogging up, and some drivers elected only to do a few laps. “No point damaging the car in this weather, the car feels good”, commented Trent Young after only running 3 practice laps.
Qualifying later in the day was also a wet session, Brendon Tucker found the gravel trap at Siberia early on which brought out the red flag. Tucker didn’t get back out when the session went green again, Trent Young and James Duckworth almost set identical times with the former taking pole by just six 10 thousands of a second. In third spot was Chris Stevenson 1.1 seconds shy of the leaders, currently second place in the championship standings Stevenson was keen to gain some points on the current series leader Brendon Pingel who only managed to qualify in 9th ahead of Blake Scibberas.
Throughout the entire event the Aussie Racing Cars enthralled the spectators, Race One and Two lay down the foundations for some of the most exciting racing the series has had this year. 10 cars plus, pack racing saw the lead change numerous times, not just throughout the race but from corner to corner. The same racing was reflected down the field too with a second pack of 5-8 cars running side by side, and even further down there were pairs of cars running together, Phillip Island is very much suited to the Aussie Cars running 4-5 wide along with some keen slipstreaming passing too.
Adrian Flack continued to show he was quick by winning the first two races. He jokingly said he dedicated these too his brother after Damien’s huge crash at Bathurst, Damien was actually on hand at Phillip Island to lend the team a hand, albeit one hand with the other in a sling, it was great to see him back at the track. And we look forward to when he jumps back into an Aussie Racing Car.
In the championship fight Pingel kept ahead of Stevenson in the first race but the pair finished the other way around in race two after Pingel was hit from pillar to post, “It felt like it was ‘take out the leader day’, I couldn’t believe it,” said Pingel.
Race three saw Trent Young take victory in yet another thrilling race, there was again numerous leaders including Pingel initially, then Ben Walsh while Young picked up a couple of places on the opening tour of the eight-lapper before hitting the lead on lap four.
But it wasn’t over there with Walsh and Jon McCorkindale getting ahead of Young at various stages over the ensuing laps.
The final race for the weekend showdown was after the final V8Supercar race late Sunday afternoon, it was pleasing again to see the spectators stay on in droves to watch what was yet another captivating Aussie Racing Car race. In only his second Aussie Racing Car outing Jon McCorkindale not only won the last race but also took the overall round six win at Phillip Island.
It was another thriller for the pocket rockets as McCorkindale was being hunted down by series leader Brendon Pingel over the closing laps, bringing a 1.5 second advantage down to just half a second in the end, there were cheers from the crowd as the duo crossed the start finish line with a lap to go as Pingel visibly closed the gap.
Western Sydney Motorsport team mates Craig Woods and Blake Scibberas headed a four-way dice for third with James Duckworth and Darren Chamberlin tucked in behind, the four finished in that order.
Trent Young and Adrian Flack came together towards the middle of the race over Lukey Heights when Young’s brake pedal went to the floor, they also took out Adam Uebergang who managed to hang on and finish in seventh from Brendon Tucker.
Brendon Pingel has continued his strangle hold on the 2015 series with second place for the weekend and increased his lead to 36 points from 29 after Bathurst from Chris Stevenson with Adam Uebergang sitting in third just 10 points ahead of Craig Woods. James Duckworth was third for the weekend.
We now have our shortest turn around between rounds this year, after the final race on Sunday most of the teams had packed up and were on the road home before sundown. The final round for the series is at Sydney Olympic Park next weekend (Dec 4-6) the street circuit is again a crowd pleaser and the teams are sure to be turning it on for them, 4 wide on a street circuit will make for very interesting viewing!
Brendon Pingel (Spirit of Lockyer Holden Cruze) “Well as always Phillip Island proved to be another ever exciting round. A big thanks to two new local sponsors – Autopro Gatton and Haines Constructions for coming on-board for the final two rounds. We struggled a little at the start with car setup but still remained very competitive. Being at the top of the points ladder always makes you a target and I really felt that in race two. I know none of the incidents were intentional but it was like it was take out the leader day. Just made we more determined to keep focused and fight harder to keep our position at the top of the point’s ladder. Finally got the car perfect in the last race and I think it really showed. Can’t wait to battle it out in the final round at Homebush in a couple days. Bring It On!!”
Chris Stevenson (Advantage Motorsport) Phillip Island was about consistency for Advantage Motorsport and while our wet weather form didn’t transfer directly to dry weather speed Chris raced at the head of the field and remains in second place heading into Sydney. Jeff took points away from Gold Cup leader Alan Smith and is looking to finish second in the class for the season. Our new driver Leigh Bowler found his feet and built speed progressively, the team has challenge him to take out the Rookie of the round in Sydney!
Outright Phillip Island Points Scores
1st Jon McCorkindale 248 pts
2nd Brendon Pingel 240 pts
James Duckworth 236 pts
Brendon Pingel 346 pts
Chris Stevenson 310 pts
Adam Uebergang 307 pts
ARC Gold Cup Standings
Allen Smith 342 pts
Jeff Watters 335 pts
Michael Rinkin 331 pts
Masters Cup Standings
Brendan Tucker 339 pts
Kent Quinn 337 pts
Craig Thompson 319 pts
Grant Thompson 324 pts
Ben Walsh 296 pts
Myles Bond 201 pts