Brendon Pingel wins the final race of the weekend, and a podium 2nd at the ARC Round 3 at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway. Brendon extended his series lead with a commanding performance over four gruelling action packed races. Brendon increases his lead to 10 points over fellow Queenslander Adam Uebergang who now sits in 2nd place. While Queensland lost out in game 2 to New South Wales in the state of origin football, our local lads Brendon and Adam showed Queensland has what it takes in one of Australia’s most competitive racing series.
“With only one practice session of 20 minutes to familiarise myself with this fast and technical circuit, I knew it was going to be a tough ask to outrun Macrow, Morris and Uebergang, all of whom have vast experience at Hidden Valley”. Practice showed they would be a force to be reckoned with as they topped the charts. Brendon placed 6th in free practice. “It’s good to know the benchmark I’m aiming for” said Brendon, “I know there’s lots of improvement yet to come as that was my 1st ever run around Hidden Valley.”
Early Saturday morning and only 20 minutes qualifying to sort the field. The Pingel team made set up changes that proved to be beneficial. Brendon’s time improved significantly as he qualified in sixth spot, one second off the pole sitter’s time.
In the 1st of 4 races, Brendon managed to work his way up the field and finished in a very solid 4th position behind seasoned Hidden Valley racers, Uebergang, Morris and Macrow.
Race 2 gave the fans one of the best Aussie Car races ever seen. Brendon starting from grid 4 immediately latched onto the lead cars and what a battle followed for the next 12 laps. Commentators and fans were treated to a nail-biting display of close, clean racing. Five laps to go, it was down to Morris, Uebergang and Pingel. Rounding the final corner on the last lap into the long 1 km finish straight, Morris and Uebergang side-by-side had Pingel all over them. Uebergang ran slightly wide and Pingel slipped through in pursuit of Morris to the chequered flag finishing 2nd by the narrowest margin of just 9 hundredths of a second!! Brendon set faster lap times than both Uebergang and Morris and only 1 tenth of a second off the then lap record.
“I was so focused on maintaining race momentum knowing I had good car speed and great handling in my Spirit of Lockyer car, now I know I can compete for outright speed and race pace” Brendon commented.
Sundays race 3; a full reverse grid put Pingel and Morris at the back of the field. The lead pack handicapped with a 20 second delayed staggered start. Twelve laps was never going to be enough time to catch and pass the entire field, however by the chequered flag Brendon had worked his way through 22 cars to finish 10th.
On accumulated points the final race grid position for the top 4 put Morris on pole from Uebergang, Abella then Pingel. Lights out and Brendon made a copybook start leading into the 1st corner however in a tight battle exited turn one in 3rd spot. By the end of lap one Brendon took the lead and set a blistering pace to break away from the pack. He continued to increase his margin and by lap 5 was around 200 metres clear when an on track incident bought out the safety car. As the track cleared, Brendon led the field around for a rolling restart, Morris jumped too early and Uebergang followed relegating Brendon to 3rd by turn one. Unperturbed by this infringement Brendon pursued and within 2 laps had passed both drivers and regained the lead and he continued to build a healthy gap. At the end of the race, despite best efforts by Uebergang and Morris, Brendon crossed the finish line in 1st position with the biggest winning margin between 1st and 2nd for the whole weekend. This was a titanic battle in which all 3 drivers were on a level playing field, each now running the standard fitment engine restrictors.
“I was absolutely ecstatic to win this double point’s race and take out a podium 2nd place here in Darwin. I owe everything to my team and supporters for their belief in me. To my Dad and Darryl, these guys gave me the best car package ever!! I’m super keen and looking forward to round 4 at Sydney Motorsport Park”