THE THIRD of four races making up the seventh and final round of the Aussie Racing Cars Championship Series finished one lap short of its scheduled length, and behind a safety car with Adam Casuccio and his ACE Construction Group Ford Falcon a deserved winner.

The combination started off the front row of the reverse grid, handicap start race, and shot straight to the lead, eking out a mighty 16-second advantage over his nearest rivals in just three laps. By the time the safety car came out the gap was out to 23 seconds.

By this stage several of the fast cars, starting from well back had worked their way into the top ten. A return to racing would have put Casuccio’s lead under threat and would have been something of an injustice if he had not had won.

There was a two-fold reason for the compression of the field under the full course yellows. Kent Quinn crashed his VIP Petfoods Holden Cruze at turn five after losing his rear wing a few corners earlier and Robert Motbey (Hertz Nissan Altima) had a separate incident at turn two.

As Casuccio established a handy lead over the first group, series debutant Ian Chivas (Silkgate Group Altima) moved to second ahead of Grant Thompson’s Sinclair Ford Mustang. In the second group Craig Thompson (Mustang) was the initial leader ahead of Chris Stevenson (Hertz Altima) and Allen Smith (Falcon) while Harley Haber (Ice Break Falcon) headed up the third group ahead of the Chev Camaros of Darren Chamberlin and Kel Treseder.

Chamberlin’s charge was checked up with a spin as a result of contact with Scott Taylor’s Mustang. Shortly after Pawel Faber crashed his PT Painting Falcon entering the chicane complex, taking out the Altima of Michael Rinkin in the process.

While Casuccio’s lead was negated, he did take the win. Mark Griffith was the most notable charger, getting his Euro GT to second after starting 18th, and Stevenson, who started alongside Griffith, was third.

Of the usual front runners out of the third group, Craig Woods (Mustang) finished fourth ahead of Blake Sciberras (Toyota Aurion), James Duckworth (Euro GT), Adam Uebergang (Euro GT), Simon Smith (Falcon), Brendon Pingel (Holden Cruze) and race two winner Peter Carr (Toyota Aurion). Trent Young (Altima) who won the first race was a lap down in 28th.

Race Three (8 laps)
1 Adam Casuccio (Ford Falcon) 16:37.9767
2 Mark Griffith (Euro GT) 16:38.0667
3 Chris Stevenson (Nissan Altima) 16:38.6858
4 Craig Woods (Ford Mustang) 16:40.5154
5 Blake Sciberras (Toyota Aurion) 16:40.6521
6 James Duckworth (Euro GT) 16:41.2906
7 Adam Uebergang (Euro GT) 16:42.8195
8 Simon Smith (Ford Falcon) 16:43.1060
9 Brendon Pingel (Holden Cruze) 16:43.6228
10 Peter Carr (Ford Mustang) 16:43.8425
11 Kel Treseder (Chev Camaro) 16:44.2244
12 Scott Taylor (Ford Mustang) 16:44.4855
13 Ben Walsh (Euro GT) 16:44.5145
14 Adrian Flack (Euro GT) 16:45.5005
15 Paul Rooks (Holden Cruze) 16:46.7143
16 Tony Quinn (Ford Mustang) 16:48.1894
17 Darren Chamberlin (Chev Camaro) 16:48.6956
18 Grant Thompson (Ford Mustang) 16:49.4203
19 Ian Chivas (Nissan Altima) 16:50.7079
20 Allen Smith (Ford Falcon) 16:51.3883
21 Harley Haber (Ford Falcon) 16:52.0007
22 Brendon Tucker (Ford Falcon) 16:53.1512
23 Jeff Watters (Nissan Altima) 16:54.0716
24 Craig Thompson (Ford Mustang) 16:56.9443
25 Ruth Bowler (Ford Coupe) 16:57.6913
26 Scott O’Keefe (Ford Falcon) 16:58.5800
27 Leigh Bowler (Nissan Altima) 17:00.1984
28 Trent Young (Nissan Altima) 7 laps
DNF Chad Chapman (Ford Falcon) 6 laps
DNF Kent Quinn (Holden Cruze) 5 laps
DNF Robert Motbey (Nissan Altima) 5 laps
DNF Pawel Faber (Ford Falcon) 3 laps
DNF Michael Rinkin (Nissan Altima) 3 laps
Fastest lap: Craig Woods 1:44.9025