Did you miss any of the Aussie Racing Cars action from the ‘Drive the NT Challenge’ Round at Darwin for the Supercars event? We have these for you below.
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WINNERS – DRIVE THE NT CHALLENGE
ALMOST FROM the outset it was Justin Ruggier in his Hertz Mustang that led the 20-minute qualifying session for this non-championship round of Aussie Racing Cars at Hidden Valley in the Northern Territory.
With a best time of 1 minute 17.4225 seconds, he was half a second up on the second-best effort, that of Joel Heinrich in the Osborn Transport Altima. Third overall was Adam Uebergang (Uebergang Transport Camaro) in his first outing of the year.
Next to the latter for the first of four races, will be Bryce Fullwood (Mustang), doubling up his driving commitments this weekend as he is also racing in the combined classes.
Fifth fastest and returning to the category for a one-off appearance, was Craig Woods #64 (Hertz Mustang) who currently leads the SuperUtes series, while the accomplished and versatile Paul “The Dude” Morris was sixth overall in his Altima.
It was no surprise to see Ruggier at the top of the time sheets, as he was also fastest in the earlier practice session where he headed Uebergang, Fullwood, Woods Heinrich and Morris.
The session did have a red flag period when Leigh Bowler fired his Camaro off at Turn 11, fortunately the damage was superficial, and he did retain eighth behind Adam Clark and his similar bodied pocket rocket.
Brendon Tucker and Ben Wilcox, in Camaro and Mustang respectively, filled out the top ten ahead of Troy Dontas and Charlotte Poynting (Mustangs).
Also in the line-up is American Bill Hynes. It isn’t the Stadium Super Truck racer’s first appearance in Aussie Racing Cars as he posted the 16th best time.
AUSSIE RACING CARS put on two thrilling races at Hidden Valley today with Justin Ruggier (Hertz Mustang) eventually winning both the non-championship event.
In the first he battled for ten and a half laps with category debutant Bryce Fullwood (Mustang) and Joel Heinrich (Altima). After numerous positional changes between the three, Ruggier finally gained a small advantage through the second half of the final lap to take the win while Fullwood edged out Heinrich for second.
Behind the trio there was an equally entertaining battle for fourth which resolved when Paul Morris (Altima) and Craig Woods (Mustang) had a brief and slight coming-together. Morris continued to the line to take fourth position while Woods quickly recovered to finish sixth behind Leigh Bowler (Camaro).
Next to the line was Brendon Tucker (Camaro) ahead of Adam Clark (Camaro), Ben Wilcox (Mustang) and Grant Thompson (Mustang). Adam Uebergang (Camaro) pitted on the sight lap with a gear linkage issue and had to play chase-up. He was getting towards the top ten before contact with Craig Thompson turned his Mustang around.
Uebergang resumed to finish 13th behind Troy Dontas (Mustang) and Charlotte Poynting (Mustang) while Thompson was out as his clutch had gone earlier and he couldn’t restart.
In race two it was a similar scenario with the three front runners. But not until after Morris had charged through to be the early leader. Morris led the opening lap before being passed by Ruggier and Fullwood.
Shortly afterwards Heinrich relegated the wiry veteran who was left to deal with Wood over the remaining laps. In the meantime, Ruggier held sway to take a narrow win over Fullwood who won the drag race to the flag over Heinrich.
Woods won his battle with Morris as they were chased home by Uebergang. They were trailed to the line by Bowler, Tucker, Wilcox and tenth-placed Jonathan Bloxsom. The latter diced with Clark, Dontas and Thompson over the final laps. Craig Thompson was a non-starter as he had a tailshaft break on the out-lap and joined Ian Chivas (Altima) on the sidelines.
VICTORY IN the final race of the non-championship event, gave category novice Bryce Fullwood the overall winner at Hidden Valley in the Northern Territory.
Driving a Mustang-bodied racer Fullwood led from the outset and established a near-two second advantage. That was enough for him to hold off the late charge of team mates and fellow Mustang drivers Craig Woods and Justin Ruggier.
Behind them were Adam Uebergang (Camaro) and Joel Heinrich who finished third overall behind Woods. Paul Morris (Altima) also battled in the group until he pulled off when the motor simply cut out.
When Leigh Bowler fired his Camaro off that left Ben Wilcox (Mustang) sixth ahead of Adam Clark (Camaro), Troy Dontas (Mustang), Jonathan Bloxsom (Camaro) and Masters Class overall winner Brendon Tucker (Camaro) who was tenth.
Race three featured a reverse top ten with Bloxsom and Willcox off the front row. Both were quickly relegated as the fast cars came through.
Bowler claimed the lead on the second lap ahead of Morris and Uebergang. The latter two had a brief coming-together at Turn 1 on lap four with Uebergang spinning.
Morris took the lead on lap five and held it until he and Bowler were passed in an audacious around-the-outside move by Woods at turn one on lap seven.
Woods controlled the race to win from there with Heinrich wrestling away second. Bowler came back to take third ahead of Fullwood whose Mustang lost it rear diffuser several laps from the end.
Morris slipped up at the first corner on lap 13 which dropped him to fifth just in front of Uebergang. Then followed Wilcox, Tucker and Dontas.
Eleventh was a race-long duel between Western Sydney Motorsport Mustang team mates where Charlotte Poynting edged out Grant Thompson. Ruggier who also races for the same outfit and won the first two races, was an early casualty with water in his fuel.