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THE FIFTH round of the Aussie Racing Cars 2017 Championship was held at Sydney Motorsport Park under cold and extremely windy conditions last weekend.

Defending champion James Duckworth (RDA Brakes Camaro) stamped his mark once more on the field after winning the same round last year.  Fastest in qualifying Duckworth won 3 of the 4 races and finished second in race three, he also set a new lap record of 1:42.9783 on Sunday morning, Kel Treseder (KKP Motorsport Camaro) continued to improve his form to take second outright for the weekend with Blake Sciberras (Western Sydney Motorsport Mustang) banking a healthy set of points to come home third.

The weekend got off to a rough start with the Pit Marquee being blown away on Wednesday morning whilst being erected, though there was no rain for the weekend there was a chilling wind blowing most of the event, this did effect the Aussie Cars specially around the fast turn one.

A new marquee was in place just as the teams started their setup on Thursday morning.

Friday morning’s very early practice (the cars were on track at 7.05am) saw Craig Woods set the fastest time, however he couldn’t bank the same time in qualifying due to the even stronger winds, most drivers bemoaned that they couldn’t set the same times or faster in qualifying.

In the qualifying session following Duckworth was Treseder and Peter Carr, from Craig Woods and Jaie Robson for the top five, three drivers had their fastest times invalidated after exceeding the track limits at turn 5.

Race one was the only race the pocket rockets had on Saturday and being run from 2pm meant that the teams had a reasonably relaxing day, this would change on Sunday!  A lights out to flag fall race for Duckworth saw him take the win, in his wake was Treseder and Robson whom had traded places a couple of times during the race, Treseder prevailed.

Sunday dawned fine but very cold, once again the Aussie Cars were first on track, Duckworth won the first race, Treseder lead for the first 3 laps after Duckworth slipped to third at the start however he recovered  to pass him on lap four to take the chequered flag.  The race for third place was a tight matchup between Robson and Sciberras with the former getting a 5 second penalty after a jumped start which relegated him to fourth behind Joel Heinrich.

Race three was the traditional reversed top 50% of the field, after finishing race two in first place saw Duckworth start from 14th, he managed to work his way forward to eventually finish in second.  Reece Chapman lead the majority of the race but Duckworth and Robson managed to jump him on the last lap which saw Robson take the win.

The final race for the weekend was after the Supercars and was the last event for the whole weekend, once again Duckworth displayed his dominance to take another win, Treseder had to settle for second spot ahead of Sciberras.  Peter Carr returned fire after losing an engine in an earlier race by taking fourth in a Western Sydney Motorsport “spare car”, and Chris Stevenson showed renewed speed to top off the top five drivers.

This round was the last permanent circuit round for 2017, round six will take place at the Gold Coast 600 event in October with the finale at the new Newcastle round mid November, the teams have around 8 weeks to sort out any gremlins they might have in their cars.

Duckworth has taken over the lead for the series with 245 points from Craig Woods on 243 points with Blake Sciberras on 241.

Point Scores for Round 5

1st James Duckworth 254pts
2nd Kel Treseder 248pts
3rd Blake Sciberras 239pts

Masters Cup
1st Leigh Bowler
2nd Adam Casuccio
3rd Craig Thompson

Gold Cup
1st Brendon Tucker
2nd Bruce Duckworth
3rd Tony Quinn

1st Jaie Robson

Ladies Cup
1st Charlotte Poynting
2nd Madison Dunston
3rd Emma Clark

Teams Championship
1st Sean Rose Motorsport
2nd Western Sydney Motorsport Team 1
3rd Rinkin Racing

Driver Quotes:

James Duckworth (RDA Brakes/Rinkin Racing): The weekend started with a major setback when our “A” engine expired, we had to go to our “C” engine the last resort, we knew we had to stay positive, qualifying came, and we got pole and won three of the four races and set a new lap record of 1:42.9783 in Sunday’s first race, the car was on rails, its also good to be back in the championship lead.  Race 3 on the warm up lap the safety clutch clip / thingy ha! broke off and got lodged in the clutch plates, the clutch slipped all the way until the start box with no drive, thankfully the rest of the field took its time to the grid and while I had the clutch engaged the oil in the box dislodged the piece of metal out of the clutch plate! Ha talk about a lucky escape!”

Chris Stevenson (Hertz- Advantage Motorsport):  Advantage Motorsport is very happy with the results over the weekend another solid 5th placing overall with some solid race results, Chris trialled a new engineer combination over the weekend and we went in a setup direction that we would never have without the personnel change. This yielded good car speed and a renewed confidence that we have what it takes to be up front.

Jeff Watters (Cure for MND – Nissan): SMSP was challenging round for the #96 Cure for MND Nissan. The WSM team did a great job of setting the car up and the P16 qualifying position was OK, but the car had a lot more left in it.  Race 1 was a blinding start but trying to share racetrack with Leigh Bowler in turn 2 resulted in me backwards and at the rear of the pack.  From there, the car developed a mysterious electrical gremlin that was causing an engine misfire – something that we weren’t able to fix for races 2, 3 or 4 despite changing lots of parts and left me right off the pace and struggling to not be last.  Thanks again to the WSM Team, their head scratching can now continue in the workshop.

Blake Sciberras (Investment Homes Millennium Building Group Mustang): Great weekends racing very consistent kept creeping forward with no mistakes missed all the drama good weekend all round bring on the Gold Coast!

Mr & Mrs Clark J (Lustre Bar Melbourne Nissan) Mr and Mrs Clark learned the hard way how challenging it can be to run 2 cars on a race weekend!  Mr Clark qualified well in 14th but spun the car in Race 1 and had an engine failure in Race 2. Mrs Clark struggled early with pace and then had a mechanical issue in Race 1 which saw the car run on 2 cylinders for the remainder of the weekend. This is Mr Clarks only appearance this year but his pace means that Mrs Clark may need to step aside next year and even up the seat time!

Kel Treseder (KKP Motorsport Camaro): We had a very positive weekend coming home in second overall, still need to find a bit more pace in the car for the high-speed corners, however we may be very much suited to the next round on the Gold Coast, we’ll take the car home and Sean Rose’s team will go over her ready for the 6th round in October.

Reece Chapman (Motorsport 25 Camaro): Sydney Motorsport Park was a challenging weekend for Reece driving for Motorsport 25. Reece qualified in 11th position and saw himself moving through the field in race one to finish in 8th position. In race two Reece was unfortunately turned around which caused him to finish in 14th. Race three provided a better result as Reece finish in 3rd position in a reverse top 15 race. In the final race Reece was placed in a poor position on the race track which caused him to lose momentum, he finished the race in 11th.

Micheal Rinkin (Rinkin Motorsport Camaro) I had a great weekend I’m like a goldfish I learnt again my ambition is bigger than my ability 🙂 (posted on Facebook 🙂 )

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