FORD BREAKS SILENCE REACTION TO PARITY ROW SINCE 1971
AERO CUT COMING Supercars set to trim Mustangs
Apr 18 to May 1, 2019
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EXC LUS IVE
FORD FIGHTS BACK! BIG BOSSES DECLARE MUSTANG ROW NOT GOOD FOR THE SPORT BY BRUCE NEWTON THE BLUE oval is seeing red over the treatment of the Mustang in the Supercars Championship. In exclusive interviews, Australian and international Ford management have made it clear to Auto Action that the global automotive giant is unimpressed by the level of public politicing it has encountered since the two-door coupeâ€™s stunning racing debut in last monthâ€™s Adelaide 500. After 10 races, the Mustang has won nine and claimed eight poles. DJR Team Penskeâ€™s championship leader McLaughlin has taken seven of those wins and six poles. The Mustang has already been hit hardest by a Centre of Gravity (CoG) adjustment before Symmons Plains and now appears certain to have its aerodynamic package modified leading into the historic Perth SuperNight outing on May 2-4. â€œWhat has been a bit of a surprise to us has been how politically charged the series can get in the garage and along pitlane, even when everyone is following the same technical process and parity has been declared,â€? Ford Performance global motorsport director Mark Rushbrook told AA. Separately, Ford Australia president and CEO Kay Hart voiced similar sentiments to AA during last Sundayâ€™s Phillip Island 200 km race â€“ as Fabian Coulthard and McLaughlin raced to their second one-two of the weekend. â€œItâ€™s a surprise to us â€“ and especially me being new to the sport â€“ just the level of politics involved in it,â€? Hart said. â€œI donâ€™t think thatâ€™s in the best interests of the sport. â€œWe have been disappointed with some of the discussions that have happened, no doubt. And I think that is very public in terms of some of those discussions. â€œWe are here for the good of the series and the good of the sport, and we believe we have a good package to help with that along with everyone else. So, whatâ€™s disappointing is anything that talks to that, because we are nothing but positive about what we see out there.â€? Ford Performance is the Blue Ovalâ€™s global
Ford Motorsportâ€™s Mark Rushbrook (left) is surprised how polticially charged the Supercars championship is.
racing co-ordinator and was intrinsic to the development of the Mustang for Supercars, along with homologation team DJRTP. Rushbrook was in Adelaide to watch the debut of the Mustang. For an edited transcript of AAâ€™s exclusive interview with Rushbrook, see page 6. Hart took over at Ford Australia after the decision was made to return to Supercars racing with the Mustang. A self-admitted motor racing novice, she has obviously engaged with the decision and now declares herself a fan. The similarities in the basic tenor of Rushbrookâ€™s and Hartâ€™s messages is not a coincidence â€“ major car companies game-out and pre-plan their public utterances down to the comma â€“ but what is important is they are making them at all. Like almost every major corporation, Ford abhors controversy and hates generating it. It definitely prefers trying to resolve its issues behind closed doors. And Ford, specifically, is a family-owned company that has a famously conservative
UP COMING RACE EVENT CALENDAR
outlook. But having seen so much debate about the Mustang and its potential performance advantages enter the public arena, it has clearly decided to send a message. â€œWe are extremely proud of what we put out there on the track and we are extremely proud of the performance the teams are giving in that vehicle,â€? said Hart. â€œWe talk on the track and thatâ€™s where we continue to talk.â€? In part, Ford execs are keen to communicate with fans who have rapturously received the arrival of the Mustang on the track. But it also wants its opponents, most primarily factory Holden team boss Roland Dane, to understand it is unhappy with the way it and its car have been treated. Privately, itâ€™s understood Ford and also DJR Team Penske owner Roger Penske have been much more forthright in their language to Supercars. AA understands that displeasure has been communicated in written form as well as verbally. Penske and his racing lieutenant Tim Cindric declined to comment further for now, leaving the teamâ€™s position at the official statement issued by DJRTP boss Ryan Story following the CoG adjustment. However, Penske told AAâ€™s Detroit-based correspondent Mike Brudenell that he would likely have more to say during a scheduled visit to the Perth SuperNight event. â€œI will be in Perth and will update the media with my thoughts then,â€? Penske said via email en route by private jet to the Long Beach Grand Prix. In a text message, Team Penske president Cindric said: â€œBeyond Ryan Storyâ€™s comments, I really donâ€™t have anything to add to the parity discussion at this time.
â€œNot to say there wonâ€™t be something to add in the future. Just not now.â€? Asked if Ford has contemplated pulling out of the championship, Hart didnâ€™t at first answer the question directly, before grudgingly conceding: â€œNot specifically, no.â€? Publicly, both Rushbrook and Hart are praising the relationship with Supercars, even as the Mustang faces an aerodynamic technical parity adjustment. â€œThey (Supercars) are transparent and are sharing with us some of the things that are going on and are willing to communicate and work with us for the good of the series and we definitely respect that in going forward,â€? Rushbrook said. Added Hart: â€œWe are openly and transparently working with the whole team at Supercars. We will continue to work with them on the basis of understanding the data to get the right decisions for the vehicles. â€œWe will work through changes as and when they occur.â€? Supercars chief executive Sean Seamer maintained that Ford and Penske were co-operating with the parity review, but wouldnâ€™t comment on any direct reaction from either organisation. â€œFord and DJRTP have been extremely supportive of the processes weâ€™ve deployed to analyse technical parity,â€? Seamer told AA. â€œThe homologating team (in the technical department) and we have kept them fully informed on the process, as we have with Triple Eight and Holden, as well as Kelly Racing. â€œAll manufacturers and homologating teams have been kept abreast of the processes related to parity, and specifically CoG, to date. All parties have been understanding and accommodating of the process.â€? With Mike Brudenell in Detroit .
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FORMULA 1 AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX APRIL 28 WRC RALLY ARGENTINA APRIL 25-28 SUPERCARS PERTH SUPERNIGHT BARBAGALLO RACEWAY MAY 3-4
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NEW CAMARO HOPE There is a growing campaign to have the Mustang’s deadliest rival on the Supercars grid in 2020, as MARK FOGARTY discovers
SUPERCARS AND Walkinshaw Andretti United are lobbying behind the scenes to allow the low-line Chevrolet Camaro to race as soon as next year. In a renewed push to alter the technical rules, strong efforts are being made to convince the other teams to agree to the control chassis’s roll cage forward hoop to be slightly lowered. WAU co-owner Ryan Walkinshaw, who also heads stablemate HSV that imports and converts road-going Camaros, has insisted the two-door Chevy coupe needs the rule break to retain the integrity of its appearance in racing guise. WAU and HSV want to race the Camaro in Supercars as the Ford Mustang’s natural rival, and despite fierce resistance, has continued agitating for its acceptance. Backed by overwhelming fan support, as well as Supercars’ private enthusiasm,
Walkinshaw is understood to be campaigning to overcome opposition from Ford and Holden teams, and also from GM in Detroit and Holden. Auto Action has learned that there has been active recent discussion about relaxing the roll cage hoop height restriction as soon as next year. It is widely accepted, even by Ford teams, that it would be changed for the Next Generation evolution of the rules now due in 2021 to encourage more two-door coupes as four-door sedans are replaced in the market by SUVs. AA understands that, with the permission of HSV’s business partners GM and Holden, WAU could have Supercars Camaros on the track as early as next year – and wants to go in that direction. Lowering to forward roll hoop in 2020 was raised during a predominantly aero-focused
meeting between Supercars technical officials and the principals of the Ford, Holden and Nissan homologation teams at Phillip Island last Thursday. There are conflicting reports on who opposed or supported an early change to the control chassis dimensions to facilitate more two-door models – and specifically, the Camaro. In a wide-ranging pre-Phillip Island SuperSprint interview with AA, Walkinshaw made it clear his ambition to race the Camaro as soon as next year was gathering support. “I don’t think I’m talking out of school – at least I hope I’m not – in saying that there’s definitely a big shift in [thinking among] a lot of the teams and a lot of people in Supercars,” he said. “Going forward, we need to change – in my opinion and now a lot of other opinions – the roll cage height so that we don’t end up having to spend fortunes
creating cars that don’t look anything like the road cars. “We’ve seen it with the Mustang. I mean, it’s bloody quick, but it’s oh-so-bloodyugly – strategically so, I’m sure, but it’s a big disappointment, I think, for a lot of Ford Mustang fans because they wanted it to look like the road car. I wanted it to look like the road car. “If you’re going to be going down that route, convincing other manufacturers is going to be very difficult, if not impossible. There’s a simple thing that we can change which at least opens the door to the conversation. At the moment, the conversation is pretty much closed. “I want to race the Camaro because I bring the Camaro into Australia, and we convert it at HSV and we sell it through the Holden dealer network. It makes sense for us to do it.” Cont. page 6
Images: LAT & Ross Gibb
MUSTANG TO BE TRIMMED BRUCE NEWTON reveals that aero changes loom for all-conquering coupe
Ryan Walkinshaw is for a rule break to retain the integrity of the Camaro’s shape. Computer generated image by Tim Pattinson/timpattinsondesign.com.au
THE FORD Mustang is expected to be racing in revised aerodynamic form as soon as the next Supercars championship outing in Perth from May 2-4. Even while the DJR Team Penske Mustangs raced to consecutive 1-2 finishes last weekend at Phillip Island, Auto Action understands moves to cut the downforce of the new two-door racer in the name of technical parity were being finalised. Key players in the search for a solution included Supercars head of motorsport Adrian Burgess and Ford homologation team DJRTP chief Ryan Story, while Supercars Commission chairman Steve Horne was on-hand at Phillip Island, as was Supercars chief executive Sean Seamer, who made a late dash to the event. After 10 races, the Mustang has won nine and claimed eight poles. DJRTP’s championship leader Scott McLaughlin has taken seven of those wins and six poles. The Mustang has already been the primary target of a Centre of Gravity (CoG) adjustment made before Symmons Plains. But, as detailed exclusively in the previous issue of AA (#1758), rival teams have been adamant the Mustang has an aerodynamic downforce advantage over the Holden Commodore ZB and Nissan Altima that translates to a cornering grip gain. The first two-door to race in Supercars, the Mustang was designed by the racing division of Ford Performance in the USA and DJRTP. It is the first Supercar to share no body panels with the donor road car. There are three key aerodynamic attachments that Supercars is understood to looking at – the front splitter, the rear deck kick-up and the rear wing endplates. Most likely only one area will be modified. “If something like that (an aerodynamic modification) were to happen through the right process and it was a scientific process, then that is something we would accept, as would anyone else in the same situation,” Story told AA. “We are a technical parity sport and that’s the basis for our sport’s success, and it has been for many seasons. “We are just focussed on going racing at the moment. What will happen, will happen. We will wait to see how all that plays out.” Burgess, meanwhile, refused to confirm there was an issue, let alone that a change was coming soon.
“We are still in the investigation process,” he said. “Once we have identified categorically there is an issue and where the issue is, then we will look how we can fix it and look to introduce a solution as quickly as we can.” There was certainly no shortage of aero experts at Phillip Island at the weekend to consult on the issue. Ford Performance aerodynamicist Sri Pakkam, who led the Mustang aero program, had made the trip from the States along with engineer Han Kim, while Holden homologation team Triple Eight had its aerodynamics senior engineer Florian Höfflin on-site. Both attended a meeting between Supercars and its homologations teams, which also includes Kelly Racing, to discuss a proposed expansion of VCAT aerodynamic testing for the 2020 season. Currently VCAT only tests straightline performance, but the push is on to expand to the measurement of cornering grip as well. This may require wind tunnel testing. But that is complicated by the lack of a suitable wind tunnel in Australia, which would mean shipping an example of the Mustang, Commodore ZB and Nissan Altima to the USA or potentially China at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars. Supercars had proposed to put the three cars in the Monash University wind tunnel in Melbourne between Symmons Plains and Phillip Island, but that was knocked back by at least one homologation team as being unsuitable for the purpose. “Monash wind tunnel would have given us the answer to some things,” said Burgess. “Everything? No.” Added Supercars CEO Sean Seamer: “There have been no decisions made on the Mustang as it relates to aerodynamics. We are gathering data, we will assess what we have gathered over this weekend and discuss next steps with the technical department next week.” Seamer has left the door open to overseas wind tunnel testing in the future. “We are not ruling it out, but must consider both cost and time, which is why it hasn’t happened in the past,” he said. “There are no facilities in Australia which would provide what we would need for a thorough test. “VCAT has and continues to be a strong homologation tool, but we will continue to look to improve that process, too.”
NEW CAMARO HOPE From page 4 Walkinshaw continued: “We’ve done the business case and the CFD work and everything else around that and the CAD work around what a Camaro Supercar would look like, and currently that simply does not make sense under the current regulations. “If those are opened up, it’s a relatively easy discussion for us to look at doing the Camaro. We can do it in a cost-effective manner.” He confirmed that with American partner Andretti Autosport, WAU has the engineering capacity to design and develop a Supercars Camaro without manufacturer involvement. Walkinshaw’s bullishness is countered by Triple Eight supremo Roland Dane, who is in the last year of his factory Holden team deal. Dame is adamant that GM and Holden won’t sanction the Camaro racing against the ZB Commodore. Asked about his stance on the possibility of the Chev coupe being on the grid in 2020, Dane told AA: “Well, unfortunately the Camaro won’t be. If the Camaro was a fully official GM product here, then maybe it could be. But it isn’t. “If it were a full GM model here, sure, it’s a nice idea, why not? But at the end of the day, it’s not their (HSV’s) car. Nothing can be done without the permission of the manufacturer because it’s their IP (intellectual property) in the body.” He added: “At the moment there is no appetite for allowing the Camaro to run here, which I think (Holden marketing boss) Kristian Aquilina has made clear before.” Ironically, Dane revealed that he had ordered a Camaro SS from HSV as his new personal road car. “I am a big fan of the car and I am about to buy one,” he said. Supercars’ official position is that Next Gen technical changes and timings remained in the discussion stage. “Work is still on-going,” Supercars chief executive Sean Seamer said. “Next Gen is currently a work-in-progress with the technical department and the (rule-recommending) Commission.”
FORD RACE BOSS: ‘POLITICALLY CHARGED’ SUPERCARS Detroit-based Australian writer MIKE BRUDENELL talks exclusively to Ford Performance global motor sport boss Mark Rushbrook about the Supercars Mustang parity row How important is it for Ford Performance and the Ford Mustang to be competing in the Supercars Championship?
to communicate and work with us for the good of the series, and we definitely respect that in going forward.
The opportunity we had this year to bring Mustang to that series was a very important part of our global strategy. To bring Mustang in there and showcase it in the Supercars series is a fantastic opportunity.
Do you expect any aero modifications to the Ford Mustangs?
Was the Ford Mustang build entirely within the rules of the series? We were very collaborative with Supercars. They are great people and we worked with them from the inception – or before we ever had internal approval to do the car – to make sure as a manufacturer we understood what the rules were, what the process was and what we were signing up for. All parties signed off that we had a legal car that met the technical parity requirements. We were excited at that point that we had a great looking car that was undeniably a Mustang that met the technical requirements and was ready to race. So the success we’ve had so far with the Mustang teams has been an incredible success beyond our expectations. What is your reaction to the CoG rule change and possible aero modifications to the Ford Mustang? What has been a bit of a surprise to us has been how politically charged the series can get along pit lane, even when everyone is following the same technical process and parity has been declared. The good thing, however, is that Supercars, well, they are transparent and are sharing with us some of the things that are going on, and are willing
of what we are seeing happen out there in Supercars. Have you been speaking with Roger Penske, Tim Cindric and Tim Edwards regarding the parity row?
There are certainly discussions [going on] around that. I think there needs to be a lot of discussion and awareness about aero across the series. There needs to be technical parity as a starting point, but also sporting, or competition, freedoms for the teams to go out and execute -and I think that is critical in all global series that we (Ford Performance) participate in where that is clearly defined. Teams need the ability to optimisse their performance.
One of the ways Ford Performance approaches racing is to have great partners, to have great communications. I talk regularly to Roger, Ryan (Story) and both Tims to understand better what is working and what is not, and certainly about the parity of the CoG. I’ll be coming to probably one or two more Supercars races this season.
How would you compare the Supercars technical parity process to NASCAR?
We always try and look far into the future in all the series we are in. We look for stability. That’s important to us.
There are some similarities and differences between the two series. What we appreciate about NASCAR is that there is a clear definition of technical parity as the manufacturer submits the body. It is very equal across the cars in parity as the manufacturer signs off in technical parity in the wind tunnel. But then there is significant freedom for the teams and manufacturers as to how they present it on the race track, and that gives the teams and manufacturers the opportunities to demonstrate their technical skills and abilities. While the downforce in the wind tunnel is very, very close, you can see hundreds of pounds of difference as the cars actually are raced on the track. That’s clear separation between technical parity and sporting competition. And I think that is part
Is Ford Performance committed to the Supercars series?
There may be more sanctions on the Ford Mustangs from Supercars to come. So, what’s the mood at Ford Performance and the teams? The great thing about the Ford motor sports teams and the partners we race with like Dick (Johnson), Roger and Tickford is that we are all racers, and whatever the rules are, the decisions are, we are going to band together and push as hard as we can to go out and win races. I think that played out at Symmons Plains with the CoG adjustments. I think Ryan Story was even quoted as saying that it helped the team to rally. Whatever the rules are, we put our heads down and go win .
FLEXY WING CRACKDOWN Supercars acts to limit ‘soft’ endplates BY BRUCE NEWTON
DRAG-REDUCING flexible or ‘soft’ endplates have become the target of a crackdown by new Supercars head of motorsport Adrian Burgess and his technical team. Wing deflection, as it is known, existed in something of a legislative grey area previously and was understood to be a common practice. Essentially, flexible endplates allow the rear wing to flatten at high speed, reducing drag and increasing top speed on straights. The ‘soft’ supports then spring back into their original position as the car slows, exerting more downforce and therefore providing more grip for cornering. “In the VSD (Vehicle Specification Document) there is a number given for wing deflection,” Burgess told <i>Auto Action<i>. “Wing deflection is something in the past the teams would exploit if you don’t control it. “Formula 1 is the classic one. They have had front wings deflecting and
rear wings deflecting all their life and it got to a point where it’s out of control, and the FIA took measures to control what they do. “We’ve taken those measures in the last VCAT (aerodynamic testing) process and this year to introduce a rule to govern the amount of deflection they build into their aerodynamic devices.” According to Burgess, the move was one of a myriad checks and tests conducted by Supercars to ensure technical parity across the three cars contesting the championship. “It also saves the teams from themselves in some areas,” he said. “They can go and spend a lot of money disappearing down a rabbit hole. “Then the next team has to spend the same money disappearing down the same rabbit hole. Our job is to keep technical parity in check, make sure we have equitable racing and make sure the teams can stay in business.”
AUSSIE WTCR INVITE DRIVERS AND TEAMS from TCR’s fledgling Australian series have been offered the chance to contest the final round of the World Touring Car Cup at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia in December. There are two wildcard entries available for the event at the former F1 circuit, one of which is being reserved for a Malaysia driver, with the other invitation yet to be allocated. The WTCR is promoted by Eurosport Events and the wildcard allocation is its responsibility. But during a visit to Melbourne last week to promote the finale, Sepang circuit CEO Razlan Razali made it known that he would welcome a wildcard Australian TCR representative on the grid and would back it with
Eurosport. “If there are any Aussies out there who want to participate in a world championship event as a one-off in Malaysia, I think it’s just a matter of asking them (Eurosport) and I am very confident it would happen,” Razali said. “If anyone is interested we can definitely look into it. It’s not a problem.” The Sepang outing will wrap up the second season of WTCR, which replaced the World Touring Car Championship in 2018. It will form a unique double-header alongside a round of the endurance world championship for motorcycles. Australia’s TCR series kicks off at Sydney Motorsport Park on May 1719. BN
TEKNO TRAUMA Webb and Le Brocq head to mediation
By BRUCE NEWTON THE RELATIONSHIP between Tekno Autosport owner Jonathon Webb and his driver Jack Le Brocq has broken down with the pair headed for mediation in an attempt to resolve their differences. But by the time the two of them face each other across the table Le Brocq may no longer be driving for the team, which has been anchored to the back of the grid in 2019. Webb is offering only limited public comments on the issue and Le Brocq and his management have repeatedly refused to make any comments at all. “In an ideal world he (Le Brocq) will stay and we will keep doing what we are doing, but at this point it is out of mine and Tekno’s hands,” Webb told Auto Action. Money, as is often the case in Supercars, seems to be a central cause of the ruction. Le Brocq - who is in the second year of a two-year Tekno deal - and his management are understood to have brought the two primary sponsors, Truck Assist and Isuzu Trucks, to the team Another central bone of contention is the
competitiveness of the Triple Eight-built Holden Commodore ZB Le Brocq raced to 19th and top rookie in the championship in 2018. The car does not run a current-spec front upright, as Le Brocq pointed out during the Symmons Plains telecast, in what has been just about his only public utterance throughout the conflict. But Webb insists he will not invest in an equipment upgrade for the car until Le Brocq shows better pace. “That’s not the difference that’s making us 1.5 to two seconds off the pace in qualifying,” he told AA at Phillip Island. “If we get to within two tenths off the lead I might look at it.
“There’s a huge (driving) gap to be filled before the upright is even worth considering. “As far as the team and the car is concerned we are comfortable we have got what we need to do the job,” he added. “But obviously there is bit more work to do between the driver and the car to get the ultimate out of it and that’s something we continue to work on.” Whatever transpires in the forthcoming mediation, Webb made it clear he is already looking for the 2016 Bathurst-winning team to rebuild beyond 2019. This year, Webb has had to step into team management and hire a new engineer Tim Newton, following the departure of Adrian
Burges and Campbell Little to Supercars. There have been other personnel changes as well. “This (team) is … something I want to continue for the foreseeable future,” Webb said. “We have put a lot of time, money and effort into getting it to where it is, so it would be stupid to walk away now. “I don’t want to give away this year, but I am already thinking about what the next two, three, four years bring for us and what we need to do to get back to the pointy end. “I don’t expect to be beating Red Bull and Penske next year but we need to be back in that top 10 and giving them a run for their money. That’s what I am starting to work on.”
Gisbergen is in fourth place in the title chase a sizable 256 points off the pace having broken through for the team’s first – and so far only non-Ford Mustang – win of 2019 in Tasmania and then backed that up with sixth and seventh places at Phillip Island. Dane refused to write the driver’s championship off for RBHRT, but acknowledged there was a mountain to climb to get his drivers back in the running. “We are less than a third of the season in so it’s early days, but it will be a big call,” he said. “Certainly, I think we can do a lot better than what we have.”
Intrinsic to RBHRT’s issues are its much-chronicled struggles to tune the Commodore ZB to the linear spring as well as the team’s belief it is not fighting the new Mustang on a level aerodynamic playing field. The Ford was the primary target of a Supercars Centre of Gravity adjustment before Symmons Plains and it is expected to have an aerodynamic retune before the Perth Supernight event on May 2-4. “We will absolutely do the best that we feel we can, but there are some things that are beyond our control,” he said. “We will wait and see where that lands.”
Whincup’s wheel departure at Phillip Island was the latest in a series of very public pit stop dramas for RBHRT that stretch back to the 2018 season and are still happening despite an off-season review and adjustments. While a since upgraded wheel clip retaining pin was blamed for previous errant wheels including van Gisbergen’s at the AGP, the problem at Phillip Island was sheeted home to the spike-man dropping the car too soon. “I am not saying we won’t react to it (Phillip Island pit stop) but it’s not the same as finding you’ve got a faulty bit of equipment,” said Dane. BN
WHINCUP “BURNING UP”
Jamie apologises to team for disastrous two-week swing
JAMIE WHINCUP’S hopes of claiming an eighth Supercars driver’s championship in 2019 have been battered by a disastrous two-week swing through Symmons Plains and Phillip Island, that have left him “burning up”. Whincup’s litany of woe, which included finishing last after a Saturday qualifying spin in Tasmania and not finishing on Saturday at the Island after losing a wheel, have left him 379 points behind championship leader Scott Mclaughlin in ninth place. “He’s burning up about it, he apologised to us on his slow-down lap about the weekend,” team boss Roland Dane told Auto Action last Sunday at the island. “After Tasmania he sent me several emails because I was away apologising for that as well. He knows full well that he needs to do a better job, as well as the people around him. “This doubleheader has been bad for Jamie and I am sure he wants to put it behind him as much as I do.” In a team statement Whincup described Phillip Island as “one of the toughest weekends that we’ve done”. “We need to have an honest debrief when we get back to the workshop on Tuesday afternoon and nut out exactly why we are in this position.” Whincup’s team-mate Shane van
SPARE SUPERCARS LICENCES IN PLAY By MARK FOGARTY
POTENTIAL NEW entries for 2020 are being brokered by Supercars, which has suspended the tender process for the pair of licences handed back at the end of last year. Auto Action has learned that Supercars is in negotiations with interested parties to buy the Racing Entitlement Contracts (RECs) given up by Triple Eight and Tickford Racing. It is understood that wealthy racing patrons Scott Taylor and Peter Adderton are in talks to buy the spare RECs, which Supercars is keen to reactivate to restore the field to 26 cars next year. After a long-running saga, instead of putting the returned RECs out to tender, Supercars is negotiating with potential buyers directly. It has declared that the interested parties have until entries for 2020 close at 5 pm on October 18. According to Supercars supremo Sean Seamer, the current talks on the purchase of the outstanding RECs will play out anonymously “There are interested parties that we are engaged in talking to under NDAs (NonDisclosure Agreements) and we can’t disclose who they are, obviously,” Seamer told AA. “So we’re in an NDA process and we’re working through those interested parties and, obviously, they know that the deadline is if they wanted to enter next year.” If the sales aren’t agreed by the 2020 entry
deadline, they could go to the market via tender. “That is to be determined,” a Supercars spokesman told AA. Along with GT team owner Taylor – who first expressed his interest in a Supercars entry to AA at the end of last year – and Boost Mobile boss Adderton, there are others looking to buy RECs. There is plenty of interest because the value of RECs is at an all-time low of around $500,000. At their peak several years ago, they were worth $1 million or more. Jason Bright’s entry is in the final year of its lease to Matt Stone Racing, which means Bright has to sell it or field an entry in 2020. Supercars RECs can only be leased for two years every five years. AA understands that Bright is looking at selling his REC if the price is right or using it to run his own team funded by a Super2 aspirant. MSR needs an entry to continue, and wealthy team investor and TCM racer Jason Gomersall is known to be keen to buy a REC to secure the outfit’s future.
Alternatively, Bright is open to teaming up with a one-car squad to field a second entry underpinned by his REC if a young driver brings the backing to fund it. BJR will also be looking for a REC if the Blanchard family, which underpins Macauley Jones’ Team CoolDrive entry, decides to go it alone – or, more likely, elsewhere. AA is hearing that the Blanchards are keen to switch to a Mustang because the sporty two-door Ford is a better fit with the CoolDrive group’s brand image. Supercars is the major marketing platform of CoolDrive, which has expanded into a wide
range of automotive product distributorships. The group’s marketing is overseen by former fulltime V8 racer and now enduro co-driver Tim Blanchard, the third-generation senior executive in the family owned business. Boost Mobile’s Peter Adderton was interested in buying one or both of the handedback RECs late last year to set up his own team. However, Adderton never made a formal bid and Boost subsequently switched from Walkinshaw Andretti United to Garry Rogers Motorsport as title sponsor in a multi-year deal.
PARC FERME RATED A SUCCESS SUPERCARS WILL this week review its Symmons Plains parc ferme experiment and then make recommendations on whether it will be modified when it next rolls out at the Ipswich SuperSprint in late July. It will also be reviewing the pitlane closure during safety car periods at Phillip Island ahead of its potential use at other circuits with cramped pitlanes. The parc ferme rules stopped teams from adjusting the suspension settings of their cars between the end of qualifying and the races on both Saturday and Sunday in Tassie. The move was designed to both ease the workload of mechanics and inject some potential unpredictability into the racing. Teams were allowed to change tyres and refuel the cars but either or both could be prohibited next time out.
“I was very happy with it (parc ferme) and I thought it was a great initiative,” Supercars head of motorsport Adrian Burgess told Auto Action. “The Supercars Commission discussed this initiative at length last year and there were two events identified where it could be done. “The idea of the first one was to ease everyone into it slowly … and I think when you test the water in the paddock everyone thought it was a good thing. “We will debrief … and look at other areas we can do it and other things we can bring in to the same process to improve it. There are lots of things we are looking at.” Burgess said other pitlanes where the closure rule could be rolled out again included the Newcastle street circuit. The idea was to prevent the double-stacking, potential collisions and safety issues that happen when the field rushes pitlane
during a safety car. The downside of the closure was it reduced the strategy options for teams, with most cars cycling through their stops early to avoid being caught out by a safety car. “We’ll get feedback from the teams,” confirmed Burgess. “There are other ways of stopping the double stacking risk in the pitlane, but this is the
first step in trying to improve what we do.” Asked his view on the Phillip Island pitlane closure DJR Team Penske’s Fabian Coulthard made it clear he was not a fan. “This is the biggest pitlane we have in length with the most garages. It mightn’t be the widest but I’m sure we could space the teams out, utilise those garages, and go racing as normal.” BN .
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AUSTRALIAN GT driver Peter Major will make his debut in the SuperUte series at his home track in Perth, in Charlie Schwerkolt’s Team 18 Holden Colorado. The now repaired ute was badly damaged in Adelaide when Dean Canto was involved in two major incidents during the weekend. The SuperUte series will bring its first of two performance upgrades to Western Australia as well as reverting to the 2018 race weekend format.
MORE TYRE FREEDOMS FOR SUPERCARS BY MARK FOGARTY
SUPERCARS CO-DRIVER and International GT driver David Russell will race alongside his father Geoff Russell at this year’s Bathurst 6 Hour. The Russells’ have raced at The Mountain together before, competing in the 2003 Bathurst Two Hour Production Car Showdown. Geoff Russell himself has had 10 Bathurst 1000 starts, including a top six finish co-driving with Rusty French in 1984. This year the pair will drive a BMW 135i, prepared by Sherrin Racing. TOYOTA 86 Racing Series driver Luke King competed at Philip Island last weekend. The 2018 series runner up announced that Jason Bright will be joining his team as a mentor as well as bringing in a new sponsor, Pertamina Lubricants. “To date he has built himself an impressive career with the resources he has had available and is really putting in the hard yards to become a professional in the sport,” Bright said. TRUCK ASSIST has expanded its Supercars sponsorship further becoming the naming rights sponsor for the Winton SuperSprint. Truck assist is the leading sponsor of Jack Le Brocq’s Tekno Autosports Holden Commodore as well as the sponsor of the starting grid on the Supercars telecast..
TEAMS ARE set to be allowed an extra set of tyres at each sprint and non-enduro street race event from next year as Supercars calls for expressions of interest in a new supply deal. There’s talk that the allocation will be upped from 28 to 32 tyres per car in a move aimed at giving drivers more time on fresh rubber. Auto Action also understands that under the proposal, teams would get an all-new supply of tyres at each non-enduro event rather than ‘squirrelling’ used rubber from previous events. The idea to relax restrictions comes as Dunlop’s longrunning deal as the supplier of the Supercars control rubber is up for renewal at the end of this year, with other tyre companies making enquiries. This season is the last of a two-year extension of Dunlop’s contract from 201217 and Supercars has begun the tender process for a new multi-year arrangement.
Dunlop has been the exclusive control tyre supplier since 2002 and provides Japanese-made hard and soft compound variants (officially designated as soft and supersoft). Apart from a glitch with revised tyres in 2016, which were upgraded in 2017, the Dunlop boots have proved to be durable and safe, as well as cost-effective, across two decades. Each Dunlop Sportmaxx Supercars tyre costs under $300 in a heavily subsidised deal. Supercars confirmed that talks were under way with Dunlop and other potential suppliers. “There is a competitive tender process in place, of which Dunlop is a party, and expressions of interest have been received,” Supercars said in a statement to AA. “Dunlop is a highly valued long-term partner and an integral part of the on-going success of Supercars.”
It is understood that rival tyre makers Hankook, Kumho and Pirelli – all of which have control race rubber deals in other local or international touring car and GT series – are eying bids for the Supercars contract from 2020. Hankook and Pirelli are known to have pitched for the Supercars control tyre business in the past, along with Michelin. Dunlop remains the favourite to renew, with Supercars understood to have already spoken with senior executives of Goodyear & Dunlop Tyres Australia about continuing. According to informed sources. Dunlop would need to know by the end of June whether its deal is continuing to arrange production for the earlier start of 2020 season, which is set to begin in January. At regular Supercars events this season, teams’ allocation of tyres per car has increased from 24 to 28 because the field has been reduced from 26 to 24 cars following the withdrawal of two entries by Triple Eight and Tickford.
The only exception is the flyway round at Pukekohe in NZ, where teams are allowed 32 tyres per car. From next year, the intention is to allow teams 32 new tyres at all events that are not designated as long distance races. This year’s allocation for the Enduro Cup rounds is 36 tyres at Bathurst, and 32 each for the Gold Coast and Sandown. Giving teams all-new tyres ae every round means teams will no longer need to stockpile unused or lightly used tyres from Friday practice for use at later rounds. It means teams will have allnew tyres from Friday onwards rather than juggling their backlogs. The idea is that with an expanded stock of fresh rubber, they’ll be able to set more representative times in practice, especially at events where the three-phase qualifying system is used, and give them more strategy options for the SuperSprint- and SuperStreetdesignated races.
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MALAYSIA’S SEPANG International Circuit is hoping to attract an influx of Australian fans for a unique car and motorcycle racing world championship double-header in December. Sepang, outside the capital Kuala Lumpur, hosted the F1 Malaysian Grand Prix from 1999-2017 and remains on the MotoGP calendar. The track, which was the first of the modern Hermann Tilke-designed international circuits, is staging the final round of the FIA World Touring Car Cup and FIM Endurance World Championship on December 13-15. It’s the first time the final rounds of car and motorcycle world series have been staged on the same track, with an eight-hour EWC bike enduro on the Saturday and WTCR races on the Sunday. SIC chief executive Dato’ Razlan Razali is hoping the unique car and bike double-header will attract Australian spectators, as well as Aussie competitors. Razali, who was in Melbourne last week to compete in a triathlon, thinks the end-of-year event would have particular appeal to West Australian enthusiasts looking for a close-by international racing holiday. “Australia is a key market for us,” he said. “We’re about five hours from Perth.” According to Razali, the Malaysian MotoGP event attracts about 2000 ticket-buying Aussies, while the F1 GP used to draw around 3000. WA fans flocked to Sepang from 2013-17, when local hero Daniel Ricciardo was a front-runner with Red Bull. He won the Malaysian GP in 2016. “We look at F1 and MotoGP, for example, and we have healthy numbers come over from Australia, especially from WA,” Razali said. “And MotoGP, of course, it’s the next closest to Phillip Island.”
He added that Australians were among the top 10 foreigners at the F1 and MotoGP events. They are valuable visitors because they buy race tickets and spend money as tourists in their often-extended stay in KL and Malaysia. “For us, it’s all about ticket sales,” Razali said. “For the country, it’s the spending they do.” New international events in addition to MotoGP are important to the government-owned track since it let F1 go. Although busy with track days, corporate events and regional race meetings for most of the year, it needs an international component to justify its government funding. Razali said SIC planned to start actively promoting the end-of-year car and motorcycle world championship double-header in Australia around the middle of the year, offering attractive race and travel packages. “We are hoping that as a package – a single weekend with one ticket to the event – to have two world championships in a weekend offers a unique proposition for Aussies to come,” he said. “We hope as a weekend, it offers something different to Australians. “It’s also the last world championship race meeting of the year. It’s the finale of the world championships in Malaysia.” An added drawcard might be that several Australian motorcycle racers are expected to enter the EWC finale as it is a qualifier for next year’s Suzuka Eights Hours, one of the most prestigious bike enduros in the world. SIC CEO Razali is an Aussie V8 fan and had serious talks with previous Supercars boss James Warburton about an event at Sepang.
STRONG TCR GRID SHAPING UP RECENT ANNOUNCMENTS have further enhanced TCR Australia’s inaugural season with new manufacturers, further Supercars involvement and name drivers capping off an exciting period. A four-car commitment from Kelly Racing will complement the team’s Supercars program split between two manufacturers, Opel and Subaru. Opel’s Astra TCR is a race winner in the ADAC German TCR title with construction managed by Lubner Motorsport. The Top Run Motorsportdeveloped Subaru has experienced less success, but has not been a consistent entrant after first being conceived in 2015. Co-team owner Todd Kelly can’t wait to start Kelly Racing’s new venture in earnest. “It is very exciting to add to the TCR Series cars to our racing program for 2019 and beyond,” said Kelly. “We’ve been keeping an eye on the developments of the category, both here in Australia and around the world, and with the resources and skill-base we have at Kelly Racing, it was a logical fit for us. “Now that we have secured the cars, we will make our announcements around drivers and partners in the near future.” Former Supercars driver Jason Bright will enter his own two-car team after securing two ex-Team Engstler
Volkswagen Golf GTIs and major sponsorship from Taskforce. Bright is confident he has the right package to fight victories at the Sydney Motorsport Park’s season opener on May 17-19. “I’ve have been looking at the TCR Series for some time and it’s great to confirm that I will be driving in the series this year,” said Jason Bright. “The class is perfect for Australia. Affordable, competitive and relevant to the current motoring market. I really feel it’s going to be a great addition to the motorsport landscape. “I went to Malaysia and purchased the car that actually won. I know it’s got good form, so I can’t wait to get it to Australia, have a test and get ready for Round 1.” Joining Bright on the grid will be two previous Super2 champions in the form of reigning winner Chris Pither and the experienced Tony D’Alberto. Pither will contest the series with Garry Rogers Motorsport, being the first announced to drive one of the team’s Renault Megane TCRs. The Kiwi is excited by the opportunity is confident of continuing his Super2 results in the new class. “It’s a great feeling to continue our successful relationship since winning
the Dunlop Super2 Series together last year,” Pither said. “TCR is growing internationally so to be competing in the series from its initiation in Australia will be exciting. “TCR will be a new challenge adapting my driving style and understanding the set-up characteristics. “Now I have some positive direction, I look forward to driving the Renault Megane RS TCR and working hard towards another successful season.” A Wall Racing Honda Civic Type R is D’Alberto’s weapon of choice as he returns to the solo sprint format for the first time since his Supercars days, after competing in production cars and GTs recently. “I’ve been working hard on getting into the TCR Australia Series,” D’Alberto explained. “The category has a lot of potential in our racing market here in Australia. “Personally, I’m really excited to have my own car for the year. Over the past few years, I’ve been driving lots of different cars with other people. It will be nice not be a co-driver for a change!” As expected, Nathan Morcom has been announced as HMO Customer Racing’s first driver in one of its Hyundai i30N TCR entries.
TWO TIME Formula 1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen will make a return to racing to contest the Suzuka 10 hours, third round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The Finn will contest the race in a McLaren 720S GT3 alongside Katsuaki Kubota and Hiroaki Ishiura from August 23-25. The race will be the first that the 50-year-old has competed in since 2011, when he drove a Mercedes SLS GT3 at the Zhuhai International Circuit in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. SCUDERIA FERRARI Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc’s brother, Arthur Leclerc will follow in his brother’s footsteps as he has been signed to Sauber’s development program. The deal will see him race in the ADAC F4 Championship for US Racing-CHRS this season after the Monegasque driver finished fifth in the 2018 French F4 series, recording two race wins and eight podiums.
FERNANDO ALONSO’S McLaren IndyCar has revealed a livery that looks very similar to that of the Formula 1 car the Spaniard tested late last month. The double World Driver’s Champion will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after a year away. In 2017 Alonso impressed on debut leading, 27 laps before his engine failed in the closing stages. FERRARI ENDURANCE racing team Risi Competizione has signed an experienced driver line-up for the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours. The first to be confirmed was to be former Le Mans GTE class runner Pipo Derani, now to be partnered by Le Mans rookie Jules Gounon who has previously won the 24 Hours of Spa and former Le Mans class winner and runner up Oliver Jarvis.
S5000 MOVES START DATE THE HIGHLY anticipated S5000 Championship will not start at next month’s opening round of the Shannon’s Nationals after all, as organisers have announced it will be pushed back. It was previously announced to start at the same time as TCR Australia on May 17-19 at Sydney Motorsport Park, but with only four of the chassis just starting construction and another nine arriving soon, the Australian Racing Group has decided to push the debut to September 2022 at Sandown. The delay on crucial materials to chassis suppliers Onroak-Ligier has been blamed for the push back. The test chassis will complete demonstration runs in the lead-up to the Sandown event, with category instigator Chris Lambden expecting 14cars to be on the grid at the opening race. “Launching S5000 is just that more complex than most other categories because you can’t
just go out and buy the cars. In our case, they’re being manufactured here, which comes with its own unique set of additional challenges,” said Lambden. “I agree entirely with our decision to hold back until we’re 100 percent sure we will deliver. There’s no point in going off half-cocked. With the first mini-batch of four cars undergoing assembly at GRM, there’s absolutely no doubt S5000 is under way and, having been in at GRM this week, it’s exciting to see the ‘production line’ in place and happening – they’re doing a great job. The remaining nine chassis will be on their way soon, which will complete the 14 cars for Sandown. “Sandown was the scene of some of the most exciting moments when Australia last had a seriously crowd-pleasing single-seater category, the Formula 5000s of the 1970s, and so in many ways it’s appropriate that S5000 kicks off there.”
Garry Rogers Motorsport owner Barry Rogers was optimistic the cars would be on the grid at Sydney Motorsport Park – even with the delay in parts – but decided that importance should shift towards further testing and development of the cars. “While it is disappointing that we won’t make the intended first event, we want to ensure that this class is rolled out in the most professional, most competitive manner,” said Barry Rogers. “Having picked up this project in December, we always knew it would be tight to get 14 cars race ready for May, however, we stuck to that plan and pushed towards that as long as we could. “Even when Onroak were handed the delay of materials, we were still optimistic, however, we decided that the best way forward was to hold back the first event so we can thoroughly ensure that the cars are properly tested and parts are lifed appropriately.”
PETTER SOLBERG RETIRES RALLY LEGEND Petter Solberg has announced his retirement from full time driving, after racing at the highest level internationally for over two decades. Along the way the charismatic Norwegian has claimed three FIA titles, the first being the 2003 World Rally Championship in a Subaru Impreza, finishing up with 13 wins in his WRC career. Solberg also claimed the first two World Rallycross Championships in 2014 and 2015, with 10 event victories. Forty-four year old Solberg says that he will continue to race in various motorsport events, but not compete for
a championship. “I love driving and I will always drive and always compete, but the time has come to make a decision about which way forward and the decision is to stop driving professionally and start a new chapter in my book,” Solberg said. “I want to do cool stuff, I want to do the right, high-profile events in the future. Maybe I go and do Rally Sweden, for example, or if I have an invite to go back to Rallyday, I take these kind of promotional things. My driving makes people smile, I want to carry on with that. But for the championship, I’m
finished. I won’t do another one.” Solberg has already locked in three events in 2019, the first will be the
Goodwood Festival of Speed, followed by a Norwegian hillclimb event and Gymkhana GRiD in September.
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FEENEY AMPED FOR TITLE TILT TOYOTA 86 graduate Broc Feeney is undertaking his debut season in the newly rebranded Super3 Series, driving for mentor Paul Morris, and has started the year as a frontrunner. The talented 16-year-old started from pole position in the opener and turned it into victory, but a mistake off the start damaged his clutch and hampered his second race, finishing seventh. In the final race Feeney fought for the lead, eventually finishing in second behind Hamish Ribarits, giving Feeney third for the round. Reflecting on his weekend, Feeney was pleased about how it all panned out. “I went out in qualifying and got pole, which was the best lap I’ve done,” he said. “Mixed conditions, so I had to pull one out on the last lap, I had traffic as well so it was really good to do that.
“On the last lap [of Race 1] I didn’t have time to think ‘oh if I finish this lap I’m going to win the race’, it was all about keeping Hamish behind me. It wasn’t until I crossed that line and Paul came on the radio and I saw that chequered flag, the emotions let out I was absolutely over the moon, it was just so unbelievable to get my first race win in the first race of the year.” The aforementioned mistake in Race 2 meant he came back to earth quickly, but the recovery drive is one that might come in handy towards the pointy end of the season. “I had a real bad start, I actually got off the line a bit but had some clutch issues, I think I just overheated the clutch, which was a shame,” he said. “It’s the days that aren’t the best that you’ve got to maximise.” Dan McCarthy
PIASTRI ENDURES MIXED FORTUNES VICTORIAN OSCAR Piastri had an up and down weekend at opening round of the Renault Eurocup series at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit in Italy. Piastri finished Race 1 down in 18th after an unscheduled pit stop for a front wing change, bouncing back to finish fourth in the second race. The R-ace GP driver qualified sixth for the first race. At the start Lorenzo Colombo and Kush Maini made contact when fighting for second, Colombo retired promoting Piastri to fifth. On lap 7 the 18 year old gained another position on Victor Martins, but in the battle lost his front wing and had to pit for a replacement at the end of the lap. Ugo de Wilde went on to win the race from Leonardo Lorandi, Piastri finished in 18th nearly 90 seconds off the lead.
The second race took place in wet conditions and required a start behind the Safety Car, one of three in an interrupted race. Piastri started the race in fourth when conditions were attrostious, it wasn’t long before another safety car was called for an incident involving Race 1 winner de Wilde. On the restart Piastri attacked Martins for third but to no avail, as another Safety Car was called. After the final Safety Car period Piastri stayed out of trouble, bringing home a fourth place result in the horrific conditions. Piastri sits seventh in the standings after the first round and will be 18 points off championship leader Martins as they head to Silverstone for Round 2 on May 11-12.
AUSSIES’ MIXED FORTUNES IN ASIA ROLAND DANE visited the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, where his team Triple Eight Race Engineering made a successful debut in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia, taking a class podium and fourth outright. There was also success for Supercars co-driver David Russell, who finished on the podium alongside Yuya Sakamoto driving for the recent California 8 Hour winning team, HubAuto Corsa (Ferrari 488 GT3). Mixed conditions greeted competitors for the opening hourlong event, which saw a chaotic
start as three safety cars were required within the first 25-minutes. Jeffrey Lee and Alessio Picariello stayed out of trouble to take victory in their CraftBamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 after starting the race in 12th. Triple Eight drivers Prince Abdul Rahman Ibrahim and Jazeman Jaafar drove through the field from 20th to finish fourth place overall and second in class on debut. Australian pair Ben Porter and Andrew Macpherson finished 12th overall in the IMAK Lamborghini Huracan Evo GT3, which was
enough to take the Am class victory. The King of Malaysia visited the circuit on the Sunday to watch his son compete, but Prince Ibrahim and Jaafar failed to replicate the same result as they did in Race 1. Contact with another car resulted in #888 finishing down in 30th position. Tanart Sathienthirakul and Philip Hamprecht (Absolute Racing
LMP2 co-driver Hanley, as its development driver through DragonSpeed’s inaugural season in IndyCar. The team will participate in five races this season ahead of a fulltime campaign in 2020, with Allen aiding in testing and development of the package alongside Hanley. “It’s an honour to join DragonSpeed full-time after my guest drives with the team,” Allen said. “It’s great to be part of a team that’s
going places, and I hope the IndyCar opportunity will add the extra dimension to my career I’ve been looking for.” Added to these programs, the Victorian will contest the next World Endurance Championship event in the team’s LMP1 machine at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. It will be Allen’s third start in LMP1 after deputising for Renger van der Zande at both Fuji and Shanghai late-last year.
AUSTRALIAN JACK Doohan has had a opening round of the Asian F3 Championship at Sepang. Doohan finished the weekend with a race win and two seconds, after qualifying third behind polesitter Daniel Cao and Ukyo Sasahara. Teammates Sasahara and Doohan made perfect starts to sweep passed Cao into Turn 1, the Queenslander remained close behind Sasahara for the entirety of the race, but was unable to get close enough to make a pass. In the end, Sasahara pulled out a 2.5s gap on the Australian, while polesitter Cao finished third. From pole position, Sasahara made another good start and led Doohan once again into Turn 1, while Cao made a poor start and dropped to seventh on the opening lap. This time, Doohan could not keep up with the Japanese driver and had to focus on keeping pursuing duo Eshan Pieris and Brendon Leitch at bay. After attacking the back of Doohan, Pieris made a mistake and dropped back to fifth and this was the way it stayed, with Sasahara taking the win from
Doohan and Leitch. Doohan started the final race from pole position and was quick to create a 2s gap back to Sasahara as both drivers tried to retain life in their tyres. Sasahara closed the gap in the final minutes but it wasn’t enough to catch Doohan, who claimed his maiden F3 victory. “I saw Ukyo was coming at the end, his pace was really good. But I just needed to stay cool and not lock up, and I held on,” Doohan explained. The next round of the Asian F3 Championship will be at Buriram in Thailand on May 11-12.
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Sathienthirakul and Hamprecht head to Round 2 at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand with a one-point lead over Solite Indigo Racing’s Gabriele Piana and Roelof Bruins (Mercedes-AMG GT3), who finished in second and fifth over the course of the weekend. The highest placed Australian is Russell, who sits in fourth just six points behind the championship leaders.
DOOHAN IMPRESSES IN MALAYSIA
ALLEN GOING PLACES AUSTRALIAN JAMES Allen has signed for DragonSpeed to contest this year’s European Le Mans Series, alongside a development driver role with its IndyCar program. Allen will team up with team veterans Ben Hanley and Henrik Hedman in a LMP2 Oreca 07-Gibson. ELMS is a series the 22-year-old has had success in previously, finishing third in the standings for Graff Racing in 2017, winning two races during that season. “James has consistently shown himself to be a genuine talent,” said DragonSpeed team Principal Elton Julian. “He has the essential combination of pace and maturity to deliver for us in sportscars this season and progress further up the racing ladder in years to come.” Allen will back up the team’s IndyCar driver, his
Porsche 991 GT3 R) won the race after a late pass on Pro-AM class winners Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak and Alex Imperatori (AAS Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R), to take a 0.8s victory. Russell and Sakamoto finished in sixth position despite being given a pit stop handicap, while Race 1 winners Lee and Picariello missed out on a points finish in 20th.
AA’s imperious pundit admits that he got it wrong when it came to how fan favourite Craig Lowndes would transition from race ace to TV star JUST LIKE Betty Klimenko, it’s time for me to eat my words. Betty admitted after Anton de Pasquale’s heady third place at Phillip Island on Sunday that she originally didn’t think he was up to the job. Had to be convinced by others in her team that he was worth the punt. She confessed her doubts and publicly swallowed them. I know how she feels. Before the start of the Supercars season, I questioned Craig Lowndes’s ability to be an effective pundit on Fox Sports’ telecasts. It was in the midst of the social media controversy over Russell Ingall’s axing in favour of Lowndes. While I acknowledged that Craig would be popular and his opinions somewhat insightful, I expressed doubt that he would be a comfortable presenter, much less outspoken. I was right on the latter, but very wrong on the former assumption. Across the first four rounds, Lowndes has been a revelation as an analyst. I’ve gone out of my way to watch a lot of the Fox Sports coverage since the Adelaide 500 and I am impressive. Very impressed. So much so that I want to know who kidnapped Craig Lowndes and substituted a body/voice double. Kidding. But the CL on the desk with Jessica Yates and Mark Skaife is not the man I’ve
known and interviewed for more than 20 years. Hell, I even wrote a book with him in 2010 and I don’t remember getting so much in-depth analysis as he’s delivered on the broadcasts. Either he’s had some serious presentation training or it was in there all the time. I suspect the latter, especially in the past decade. I’m coming around to the idea that Craig’s happy-happy, nonconfrontational comments were a product of his many commercial obligations as a fulltime driver. Now, it appears, he’s more relaxed and less restrained. I’m especially surprised in a good way by how forthcoming he’s been about Triple Eight’s travails. He’s still a T8 co-driver, yet he has been forthcoming and informative about their issues. It’s also, to be fair, a tribute to Triple Eight that they’re allowing him to air some of their dirty laundry. But it’s much more than that. Lowndes has been explaining what drivers are doing and feeling, and team tactics, in more depth and, certainly, more eloquently than ever before. What he isn’t is controversial – and that’s no shock. It’s just not in his nature. But he is giving his considered opinions on contentious issues. That’s very new. I originally agreed that
Ingall’s tell-it-like-it-is approach would be missed. Some fans still do. But I’d now assert that, robust comments aside, Lowndes’ appraisals are more measured and informative overall. No disrespect to ‘The Enforcer’. He’s entertaining and fearless. But, with the best will in the world, he just can’t match CL’s newfound polish. Lowndes is a good foil for Skaife and compliments Yates’ informed, professional anchoring. Enjoyable as he was, Ingall was a blunt instrument who grated with Skaife, despite their feigned post-racing rivalry. It’s a shame there wasn’t room for him to stay on pre- and post-racing panel, but Craig’s national sporting superstar status
meant it was no contest. I made a lot of notes about Lowndes’s TV performances – including excellent interviews – and the summary is this: I was wrong to doubt his ability to communicate the nuances of the sport effectively and fluently. And you know what? I’m glad I was wrong. Craig Lowndes partnering Mark Skaife as the preeminent pundits is a great combination, and the fact that the pairing is working as well off the track as it did when they co-drove at T8, can only be good for viewers. CL should have a place on the commentary team for many years to come, after he gives up co-driving in the enduros. And the next cab off the retirement rank? Scott
McLaughlin. That’s way, way in the future, but his performance as a guest reporter in co-driver practice at the hairpin at Symmons Plains was entertaining and insightful. Scotty is a TV natural. Hopefully, we’ll see more of his impromptu commentaries. Despite being a rookie reporter, he took to the role with impressive ease and polish, while still displaying his boyish enthusiasm and likeable personality. He obviously enjoyed it and got a taste for TV. He was obviously focused on the task, too, as he was more succinct and analytical than he is in on-camera interviews or media conferences. Looked to me like a Supercars media star in the making.
s w e n e n O Formula
OPTIMISTIC RICCIARDO UPBEAT “IT SUCKS!” That’s what Australian ace Daniel Ricciardo, speaking exclusively to Auto Action, said after he and Renault teammate Nico Hülkenberg retired from the Bahrain Grand Prix. Both were running in the points when their engines expired at the same time, with four laps to go. “I am going to test here on Tuesday,” Ricciardo said. “That will help quite a lot just to keep learning about the car. I am still struggling a bit but also our one pit stop strategy made life difficult for me in the race when all the other drivers pitted twice. We committed to that strategy but for sure it was not great. We will keep learning. Keep moving on.” He and the Renault team have work to do before he can tame the beast. Ricciardo was, Hülkenberg says, “spoiled at Red Bull” because that team created superb cars under the design team led by aerodynamic guru Adrian Newey. That’s now in the past. In Bahrain Ricciardo searched for answers about his Renault. “I was just a bit confused why I was so far off the pace all weekend up until qually,” he said in a press briefing after qualifying on Saturday. “I just need to figure out what I need in the car as far as the set-up goes. It is not just like it has oversteer or understeer, it is the way the car rides and absorbs kerbs and bumps, and all these kinds of things and compromises. “I would love and expect from myself that I
can just be on it, and it is all easy and wicked. But to really maximise it, it is a different beast to tame so it is just taking me a bit of time.” Ricciardo is used to carrying speed into the corner but now finds that with the Renault it all goes wrong at the exit of the bend. “In a way part of it could be overdriving with the current grip I’ve got,” he said. “So I just need to bring that back and understand the best way to execute a fast lap with this car. In debriefs I hear the way Nico describes the car. I am starting to get that this is a different beast, and he is obviously very comfortable. I made some comments about the way the car responded, and I was a bit surprised as he said that is just normal and how this car is.” Ricciardo sent his new team a long email after the race in Australia listing the changes it needs to make to become more competitive. Some upgrades are already in the pipeline and will be fitted to the car at the next race in China. Overall, the Aussie is optimistic about the future. “I feel even with the current car we have, even before we start putting big updates on it, there is still more to extract from this car,” he said. “I can still get more out of it, just getting more comfortable driving it and also a few things with set-up. Some things that I had last year can be implemented in a few areas. We are looking alright.”
SECOND RACE FOR CHINA? WHILE NOT exactly new – it dates back to 2004 – the Chinese Grand Prix is one of the modern Formula 1 races in a championship with its history deeply planted in Europe. And now Liberty Media/Formula One CEO and chairman Chase Carey is on the record saying that a second race in China is under consideration. Meanwhile, many of the traditional tracks are struggling to stay on the F1 schedule. Currently, Spain, Britain, Germany, Italy and Mexico still need to agree with Liberty on contracts from 2020 onwards. The root cause is money. Carey has stated that Liberty wants to maintain the “historic core of F1” races, but the question remains how much income is Liberty willing to lose to keep those events. The Automobile Club d’Italia president says Monza cannot continue to hold the Italian Grand Prix unless it gets 10 million euros a year from the Italian government. Furthermore, the club says it urgently needs 60 million euros for a major renovation of the circuit prior to celebrating its centenary year in 2022. The British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), which owns the Silverstone track, used a clause to get out of its contract to host the grand prix after
the race in July. The BRDC hopes to negotiate a cheaper price with Liberty to continue to host the race from 2020 onwards. Now The Financial Times says that the sides are very close to agreeing on a new deal. It reported that Liberty is demanding to be paid 18 million pounds a year while the BRDC has offered 15 million pounds a year for the rights to host the race at Silverstone. Formula One’s managing director Ross Brawn has said again that the British Grand Prix could be held in central London if a deal with Silverstone is not reached. There are problems in Spain as well, where the government is withdrawing funding for the Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya. Meanwhile, opposition from various local groups in Miami is keeping the F1 race on the city streets in limbo. That U.S. race has already been
postponed from 2019 to 2020 and it may not happen then either. Delegations from Vietnam have attended the first three F1 races of this year, as that country prepares to host its first F1 race in 2020. As per the Formula One Group’s policy which requires hosting fees for new races to be paid one year in advance, the Vietnam organisers were due to pay the remaining balance of 24 million euros this week. The plan is to hold the Vietnamese Grand Prix in conjunction with the Chinese race in April. Work has begun on the facility that will host the street race in Hanoi, and it now needs to be completed within 12 months. All in all, there are a number of events in limbo for 2020 and beyond, and most of them need money to survive. It remains to be seen if there will be 21 races on next year’s F1 calendar.
IT’S A CAN OF WORMS CHARLES LECLERC has opened a can of worms for Ferrari by not being consistently behind his vastly experienced teammate Sebastian Vettel. It was all supposed to be so simple. Leclerc, with one year of F1 experience at Sauber, would come to Ferrari and learn from four-time world champion Vettel, while dutifully following him around the track. “As a team we need to give the priority to the team and try to maximize the team’s points at the end of the race,” noted Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto. “As I said at the start of the season, if there is any 50-50 situation where we need to take a decision, the advantage would have been given to Sebastian simply because Sebastian has got most of the experience with the team in F1. He won four championships and certainly for us he’s the driver who has most probability to challenge for the title.” The trouble is, Leclerc doesn’t want to hang around. He did follow team orders in Australia and followed Vettel over the finish line. In Bahrain, however, when Leclerc was told to hold station behind Vettel for two laps, he ignored that and promptly passed Vettel. Asked later why he did so, Leclerc shrugged and said simply: “I was faster than him.” Both Ferrari drivers griped that they were quicker than the other in China. The team instructed Leclerc to allow Vettel to go ahead, but the latter was still unable to close in on the leading Mercedes cars.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff summed up Ferrari’s dilemma. “That’s a tricky situation because you would like to have the quicker car hunting down your opponents,” he said. “Sebastian said that he had the quicker car at that stage, so they reverted the order. I can understand that somehow. Nevertheless, once you start doing these things, it becomes very complicated, because you start to set a precedent and you’re opening up a can of worms. “Then you might have to call every single race that the driver behind would say ‘I can go quicker.’ So it’s not an easy situation. We have been there. We have been there with Nico (Rosberg) and Lewis (Hamilton), and we have been there with Valtteri (Bottas) and Lewis as well. We had a situation (in China) where they were pushing each other very hard, taking a risk of potentially not finishing the race. So it’s not a Ferrari problem alone. Every team has that issue if you have two alpha drivers.” During a debrief after the race in China, attended by Auto Action, Binotto stated that Ferrari will not hesitate to use team orders again. One consolation for Ferrari is the Mercedes policy of letting its drivers race each other until one of them is out of the championship hunt. But, still, this just compounds Ferrari’s dilemma as its own drivers will be taking points from each other. What if one of them loses the championship – which Ferrari last won in 2008 – by just a couple of points?
MB OVER DELIVERING MERCEDES HAS started off the 2019 Formula 1 season with three consecutive one-two finishes. The last time a team did that was in 1992, a season dominated by Williams and Nigel Mansell. Ferrari had the upper hand in testing prior to this season, and it was also quick in Bahrain, only to lose the race to Mercedes thanks to driver error and mechanical failure. In the races on either side of Bahrain – Australia and China – Mercedes had more speed than Ferrari. “Melbourne came as a great surprise, when everybody let their pants down, that our performance was good enough,” Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said. “We have scored three one-twos, but I think this is not what we’re seeing in the picture. The Ferrari is very strong, and we expect this fight for pole position and as a consequence race wins, to continue.” Sebastian Vettel was not happy to finish third in China
behind the two Mercedes cars. “We have a very strong car,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with it, but we’re not able to yet put it in the window. Especially for myself, here and there, I’m not entirely happy yet compared to where we started off. Obviously the three tracks we’ve been to now are quite different. The conditions we had are different – but I think we start to see a sort of pattern and understand what – especially throughout a grand prix distance. Understand what we need, what I need, to really unlock this car. The next weeks will be very important for us to understand where we need to go in the next months.” Lewis Hamilton pointed out that Ferrari gains about 0.4s on the straights but loses out to Mercedes in corners. “It will be interesting to see how long they (Ferrari) adopt that strategy in the coming races,” Hamilton
said, “but there are still so many races where their car will perhaps outshine ours. They’ve still got the shorter (wheelbase) car than ours so it might work better in some other places. It’s a little bit early to say, but definitely with three one-twos I think we’re overdelivering a little bit at the moment to our true potential. But there’s still more to come.” The next race is the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with the
super long straight on the Baku street track. Given Ferrari’s superiority in the straightline speed department, Auto Action asked team chief Mattia Binotto if he is optimistic about the Scuderia’s chances. “I don’t think there is much on the straights between us and the others,” he replied. “Baku is a circuit where you have got a different aero configuration. It’s not only power units, it will be aero configuration we may choose for there. It’s not only the straight in Baku, it has a lot of corners. So let’s see.” Ferrari really does need to find the window soon or it will have a tough time catching up to the over delivering Mercedes as the season goes on.
with Dan Knutson
THE GOOD OLD DAYS MOVING THE British Grand Prix from its traditional midJuly date to April was given consideration when the 2019 Formula 1 calendar was being put together. Making the race the third round of this season would also make it the 1000th race to count towards the F1 world championship. It would have been nice symmetry because the very first-ever race in that championship was the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on 13 May, 1950. The problem is that the weather at Silverstone can be atrocious in April with plenty of rain, cold and mud. But then given that Silverstone seems to have its own weather pattern, it can be like that in July as well. Ironically, the weather forecast for Silverstone this past weekend predicted no rain at all but with temperatures dipping below freezing point. The diehard Brit fans would have shown up in April just as they do in July, but the thousands of campers would have had cold nights. In many ways, however, having China host the 1000th race is appropriate because it shows how F1 has expanded into new markets over the years.
One person in the paddock in China has been to more championship F1 races than anybody else: technical journalist and illustrator Giorgio Piola attended his 811st event! He started at the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix as a journalist and has basically been to every race since. As I said in my column in AA1757, the first championship F1 race I ever went to was the 1969 South African Grand Prix. It was the 174th F1 race. I saw a handful of F1 races in the following years before becoming a fulltime F1 journalist in 1984. For many, many years I was at every single race. The only one I missed was the 2001 Italian Grand Prix. I was supposed to fly to Italy on September 11, but then I turned on the TV and saw
the terrorist attacks. All flights in the U.S. were being grounded. It put matters in a harsh perspective – there are a lot of things far more important in this world than F1. Since then I’ve missed a race or two here and there, and China was my 593rd grand prix. I’ve only kept casual count of how many kilometres I’ve flown over the past 35 years – and some of the airlines also have kept partial track – but I guesstimate it is now over six million. And that has been, with a few exceptions, always in the back of the bus. A number of those races have blended together, but others are still sharp in my memory. Perhaps the most dramatic of those were the 1989 and 1990 Japanese Grands Prix, where the Ayrton Senna/Alain Prost
feud boiled over in collisions and acrimony. People ask me what my favorite stops are on the tour, and my answer is that every venue has something special to offer. I also say the “M” races are among the best: Melbourne, Monaco, Montreal, Monza and Mexico City. The years that the Australian Grand Prix was held in Adelaide were fabulous. As it was the last race of the season, there was this ‘end of term’ feeling in the paddock. And after it was all over I would go for a scuba diving holiday on the Great Barrier Reef. Like the venues, the various eras of cars are also special in their own ways. I would have liked to have seen the frontengine monsters of the 1950s being raced by the heroes of those days like Fangio, Ascari
and Moss. I have a real soft spot for the F1 cars of the 1970s with their finely-crafted aluminum monocoques, crisp-sounding Ford V8s, huge rear tyres and the wide variety of body styles – everything from the six-wheel Tyrrell to the wedge-nose Lotus to the elegant Ferrari 312. But the subsequent decades also produced all sorts of marvelous leading-edge technology that kept F1 fascinating and exciting through 1000 races. As I wandered around the paddock and pits at the Shanghai International Circuit this year, went on the grid before the start, and then watched the 1000th race from the pressroom nine stories above the track, I had this thought: These are the good old days.
ROUND 2 - PHILLIP ISLAND, MAY 4/5 PRESENTED BY PIARC
OPINION THOUGHT BUBBLES FROM PHILLIP ISLAND ... BY BRUCE NEWTON Special Contributor I BELIEVE most opinion pieces aren’t worth the cyber-space they’re typed into. That’s especially true when you’re a journalist writing about motor sport. So much of what is critical is hidden from view inside the car and out of it. This is old-school print, so maybe it’s different. But probably not… In any case, don’t expect any great declarations from on-high. Instead, I’m going to pluck out some thought bubbles that occurred to me over the Phillip Island Supercars weekend and present them here. They arrive in random order, which is pretty normal for me. Here we go… Don’t underestimate Ford speaking out: As noted in our page 3 story, Ford is a conservative company. It actively shuns the spotlight when it comes to controversy. Remember, it wasn’t long ago Ford went through the horrible process of shutting its Australian plant and has since been trying to rebuild its local image. The presence of the Mustang in Supercars is part of that rebuild. So, Kay Hart and Mark Rushbrook saying as much as they have – even if it is rehearsed – is an important and even brave step for the Blue Oval. I reckon Ford here and in Detroit – and Roger Penske and his people, for that matter – are genuinely pissed off about what’s gone on in response to the Mustang’s design and pace. It’s fair to say they don’t feel appreciated. I get it, but a bit of due diligence and historical study might have
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forewarned them this was all coming. Maybe they were warned and didn’t believe it. I’ll bet they do now. ‘Burgo’ is doing a good job: Is that controversial? Support or oppose the way the new Supercars technical regime led by Adrian Burgess has responded to the Mustang, but you can’t argue they are not moving quickly and decisively. I wonder how much fun Burgess and his technical manager Campbell Little are having as game-keepers rather than poachers? Many technical checks are being ramped up by the new crew, a few of which we’ve exposed in AA, including the flexible – or ‘soft’ – endplates reported this issue. There are also the constant moves to spice up the racing – postqualifying parc ferme being the latest example. That’s a good idea, which I am led to believe can originally be traced back to Tickford boss and Supercars Commission member Tim
Edwards. Nice one. The next step is to freeze fuel and/or tyres at Ipswich and see if that has an impact on the racing. We miss GT, CL and ‘Robbo’: I’m sure someone will tell me forcefully that the racing’s never been better, but I’m not convinced. Okay, the DJRTP Mustangs’ dominance at the front of the field has played a role in that, but I think we’re also missing a few old hard-heads who made a habit of going forward in races. I’m talking about Craig Lowndes, Garth Tander and even Michael Caruso. They’ve effectively been squeezed out of a smaller grid where cash counts and that’s to the detriment of the racing. All three were renowned major gainers from outside the top 10 starters. PS: I can’t take credit for this thought bubble. Credit to fellow journo Adrian Musolino for first airing this. Sheep shearing: It was great to see Andre
Heimgartner and Anton De Pasquale crack it for Supercars podiums at Phillip Island. It was the first time for Anton and the first time as a standalone for Andre. They’re both nice lads with loads of talent and they will hopefully be around for years to come. Just wish Andre wasn’t a Kiwi… Five out of six podiums were claimed by New Zealanders at PI. Fellow Kiwi Mitch Evans also won the Formula E race in Rome last weekend and Scott Dixon qualified second and finished third in the Long Beach IndyCar outing. Sheesh. Perth could be good: If the Nissans continue their progression, the RBHRT Commodores rediscover their mojo and the Mustangs do, indeed, get an aero package trim, what might resurfaced Barbagallo Raceway produce next week? Hopefully, fireworks… and not just before the race! I’ll leave you with those thoughts.
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We take a look back at what was making news 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago 1979: 1979 19 79:: AALLAN 79 LLAN LL AN MOFFAT MOF OFFA FAT T proved p ov pr oved ed the the star sta tarr of the the da dayy at A Amaroo maro ma roo o Pa Park Park’s, rk’ss, bu butt no nott in a F Ford. ord or d. Guest G td driving i i in i a Ron R Hodgson H d Holden H ld A9X Torana, he took a first up win, third and a DNF, with the Race 1 victory being his first in nearly a year. One for the oddity report, just as Peter Brock was preparing to head to Lakes Entrance for Easter, his boat was stolen. A boat was loaned with AA hoping the champion caught some big fish.
1999: 1999 119 99:: CR 99 CRAIG CRAI AIG G LOWNDES LOWN LO WNDE DES S declared decl de clar ared ed his his win win at tthe w he ffirst irirst st A Adelaide dela de laid idee 50 5000 as h his is ““hardest hard ha rdes estt race.”” Still racing i for f the th mighty i ht H Holden ld Racing Team, Lowndes was excluded the t previous day after hitting lapped car Danny Osborne. The growth of V8 Supercars was just starting to begin with Tony T Cochrane eyeing further major events in Fremantle and Townsville due to the t success of Adelaide.
1989: AFTER BEING delayed a week due to flooding, Lakeside’s Australian Touring Car Championship round provided fireworks a plenty. Andrew Miedecke was the biggest victim with his car burnt beyond repair, while Terry Finnigan was another to have fiery accident in Friday Practice. Dick Johnson took another popular home victory.
2009: TEAM KIWI Racing’s future was nearing its conclusion after V8 Supercars exercised its right to take control of the team’s Racing Entitlement Contract. Amid the personal bankruptcy of the team’s owner David John, driver Dean Fiore was one of the interested parties to purchase the REC. In other news, Eastern Creek was in play to host a round of the new GT1 World Championship.
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Cover image: Tim Pattinson, Ross Gibb, LAT
I N TERNATIONA
RESCUE In the first instalment of a blockbuster two-part interview, Supercars scion Ryan Walkinsaw opens up like never before about restoring his fallen Holden team’s fortunes and the mistakes that cost him the long-running HRT deal
OMPARED WITH the Walkinshaw Automotive Group’s former facilities, its new base is modern, airy, expansive and much more centralised. Walkinshaw Park is a large office and factory complex in a heavily industrial area of Clayton South in Melbourne’s southeast. It has brought together HSV, ASV, Walkinshaw Performance and other divisions at one site. Behind and around the impressive-looking new administration building are the repurposed factories where Chevy Camaros and Silverados and RAM pick-ups are painstakingly converted to right-hand drive, and Holden Colorados are upgraded to HSV SportsCats, plus design and engineering facilities. But WAG has expanded so rapidly since moving from the other side of Clayton last year that the new corporate headquarters hasn’t been able to accommodate the group’s racing stablemate, Walkinshaw Andretti United, which remains at the
old site as the Anglo-American owned Supercars team searches for a bigger new standalone home. Racing, though, is in WAG’s DNA and around the sprawling open-plan main office are meeting rooms named after famous circuits. The boardroom is, of course, called Bathurst, while Nurburgring, Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza are among the other tracks celebrated by the glassfronted conference suites. WAG big boss and WAU co-owner Ryan Walkinshaw has a modest corner office to use on his increasingly frequent and long visits from his home base in glamourous Monaco. Walkinshaw took over the running of HSV and what was then Holden Racing Team following the death of his famous father Tom. He was a youngster thrown into the job unexpectedly and unprepared. While HSV and other Walkinshaw family enterprises have prospered since
taking over in mid-2011, Ryan’s greatest challenge has been trying to restore the Holden race team to its former glory. A big step forward was attracting international partners Michael Andretti, former Indycar star turned successful team owner, and Zak Brown, co-owner of a successful sports car team and chief of McLaren F1, which is also clawing its way back. As Walkinshaw Andretti United, the Clayton squad is steadily rising from the depths of losing its longtime factory Holden backing and the HRT imprimatur at the end of 2016. Recovering from an annus horribilis in 2017, the new-look WAU re-established credibility – if not consistent front-running – last year. As a slow start to this season attests, there is still much work to be done, but 31-year-old Walkinshaw is confident the team is on target to become a force once more.
How is the WAU partnership working? The analogy I use is that you never really know what your girlfriend’s like until you live with her for a bit of time and that’s kind of what we’ve been going through over the past year with the partnership with Andretti Autosport and United Autosports. I think I can speak for Michael and Zak when I say the partnership’s actually going really, really well. There were plenty of people of who were cynical, thinking three guys with different egos, different objectives and so on all trying to work together might create some conflict or cause some problems, but it’s actually been very, very smooth. A lot of synergies have already been found between the three organisations. Zak and Michael have been really, really engaged, as have their teams, which is really constructive. Again, you never really know if it’s just going to be some sort of branding thing and when it actually comes to getting them to apply resource to projects, whether they’re going to fulfil that, but so far, so good, which I’ve been very encouraged by and very thankful for. So on the relationship side, it’s been fantastic, really. So how actively involved are Michael and Zak? The three of us speak pretty much every other day. We have management meetings every month between the shareholders and the management from the three organisations where we go through, essentially, agenda items for what’s been going on, looking at our short-term, medium-term and long-term strategies, and discussing things that range from engineering updates to
Walkinshaw with team partners Michael Andretti and Zac Brown at the Australian Grand Prix last month. All are actively involved in the major decisions of their three-continent WAU partnership. Image: Walkinshaw Andretti United commercial updates to even things like are we going to move facility with the race team, where’s it going to be, what’s it look like, and the contract negotiations around things like that. So it’s very, very board and we work closely with them to go through all of those main points. The day-to-day operations, as they were under Adrian (Burgess, now Supercars head of motorsport), are run by our co-principals Mathew Nilsson and Bruce Stewart, who’ve so far been doing a good job working together. At the end of the day, most of what happens is we’ll internally decide over here what we think we need and then we’ll go and request support and resource where
necessary from the Andretti and United organisations. They’re engaged, then, not just pumping some money in and sitting back? No, no, not at all. They’re on every single management call, every technical call, and as I say, Michael, Zak and I chat almost daily. Most the chat is just giving each other shit, but it’s been pretty good. It’s been great working with both of them. And I guess they’re coming to understand Supercars racing a lot better as well, aren’t they? Absolutely. We’ve seen with other organisations that have come into Australia before, they think they know everything. We saw that with Penske, to be honest, when they first turned up. Coming here with the attitude that they know better is something that we did warn Michael and Zak about, that it’s a very specialised series here with a lot of local talent that really understands how it works in a high amount of detail. So we explained that coming in here thinking that “Oh, we’re going to change everything and do it like we do everywhere else” wasn’t the right strategy and they agreed, which was good and that set us off on the right path. They spent a lot of last year learning and now we’re trying to implement a few little bits of changes, but on the whole, it’s more about them supporting what we need and adding resource to us. It’s now well into the eighth
year that you’ve been running the team and you’ve learned a helluva lot, haven’t you? Yes, you certainly learn a lot when you get chucked in the deep end and it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, not going to lie. But you’re still here… I’m either mad or passionate. Probably both! How long do you think it actually took you to get on top of it? I don’t think you ever really get on top of it. I think you’re always learning and you have to be always open to learning. The idea that you end up getting to a point where you think you understand everything is when you become complacent and start going backwards. You know me well enough now, Mark, that I’m pretty passionate about learning and bettering myself and always open to new ideas. I’d say you never really stop that process. But, certainly, I’ve been getting a lot more involved with the team in the last two years – at least since Adrian moved on (in mid-2017) – partly because there was no one else to run it apart from me and Mat when we made the change, which has been really, really good. Previously, I hadn’t done a lot of the operational side of things; it was broader. My more hands-on involvement is still continuing and it’s working well. When you took over in 2011, the
Glory days in full Holden Racing Team colours, while our Foges grills Walkinshaw. Image: LAT
rot had already set into the team, hadn’t it? Well, it hadn’t won a championship since 2002, so yeah. Your mission is to get this team back to where it was. And we’ve had a few false starts as well. We made the initial changes when I first started… You know, hindsight’s a wonderful thing that’s always 20/20, but if I have one regret, it’s that I probably should’ve waited a little bit longer when I first started before making changes. I probably jumped the gun a little bit too early rather than learning a lot of the details, which didn’t help the process. Nothing against Steve Hallam (team boss from 2012-13) – Steve was a great guy – but coming from another international series (NASCAR Cup) and then having myself there as well, with two people running the team, probably wasn’t the ideal scenario, which is obviously disappointing. So that’s probably one of my regrets from when I started, for sure, but I believe we have the right people in place now. We have a fantastic partnership and a lot more resource than we could ever have had if we’d just continued as a standalone Australian Supercars team. We have some really strong people in our technical department now, led by Carl Faux (ex-BTCC design guru), who I appointed in 2017 as well. Mat and Bruce are still relatively new to running the show, but unlike when we had Steve Hallam running the show, he didn’t have the support network above him to be able to get the best out of him [Hallam was replaced in 2014 by Burgess, who
was poached from Triple Eight. Burgess left Clayton in mid-2017 after HRT factory team status was withdrawn on his watch]. I feel we have that now. Bruce and Mat have myself, who’s obviously a lot more experienced than I was in year one of this, and also with Michael and Zak and their broader teams. It’s not just Michael and Zak that are engaged in the day-to-day side; it’s their teams as well. People like Richard Dean, who’s running United, and J-F Thormann (president), Rob Edwards (COO) and Eric Bretzman (technical director) from Andretti, who make sure that everything gets followed through. So are things going according to the three-year plan you established for WAU to become a championship contender? Well, we’re only one year in, but so far, so good. This year the target is to be on the podium more and winning more races, then start contending more regularly next year, right? Yes, that’s the aim. We had a muchimproved season last year. The stats don’t lie, in the same way we had a poor season in 2017. We had two podiums and eight top 10s in 2017, which is a pretty abysmal performance and certainly not good enough for what we want to be. Then last year, we had 33 top 10s and eight podiums and a race win, which is still nowhere near where we want to be and there’s a lot of work we need to do, but it’s an improvement and it’s a first step going forward. Now, the hard bit is then getting these final
five, three, two, one per cents that will then change the team from one that’s competitive to one that’s really competitive and can challenge the top teams like Penske and Triple Eight. We’re already seeing nterest in a lot of difference in the interest the team. Previously, it wasn’t’t easy tto get good talent or get driver interest. It wasn’t as easy as it would have been for some of the other teams. That’s very much changed. There’s a lot of interest from other people in the sport to come on board with us and be part of our journey going forward. People are seeing the connections between what we’re doing and what Penske did, and seeing that there’s a lot of potential opportunity with us and a lot of people want to be part of that story. I’m under no illusions that there’s not a lot of work to do. There are a lot of variables out of our control – and I’m not going to get into a discussion about Mustang and things like that – but we have to make sure that first and foremost, we’re making progress compared with the leading Commodores and once that is done, then we can look at everyone else in the field as well. Do you miss being the Holden Racing Team? There were advantages and disadvantages of being the Holden racing Team. I’m not going to go into the details of it, but to give you an idea, the commercial liberties that we have now and what we’re able to go and sell to
sponsors is i far f broader b d than th ever it could ld ever have been if we’d continued being the Holden Racing Team. And in a market where sponsorship is harder and harder to get, particularly for sporting assets, having a very tight bandwidth of what you could play with and what you were able to deliver to other partners when you’re a factory team is not necessarily always conducive to the current environment that sponsors expect. So having that change has been a benefit for us. Commercially, I’m more than happy to say that we’re probably one of only two teams in the category that’s breaking even or making money, which I’m pretty proud of. It’s been a helluva lot of work, but we’ve got there and that’s what we need to be going forward because we need to have financial stability in order to attract personnel and support the progress that we desire. But then again, there are a lot of benefits of being a factory team. You obviously get the financial benefit, but being part of a large organisation, in that case Holden, was attractive as well. So there are things we miss, but at the end of the day, no one can take away our history and our legacy – that’s always going to be ours. But you don’t want to dwell on that because then you’re just constantly looking at the past and puff up your chest on things you achieved back in the day
as opposed to focusing your eyes forward on what you can achieve tomorrow. We’re still going to be proud of our history and our legacy, and what we did with Holden as HRT. And you never know what’s going to happen in the future, either, do you?
year could be very interesting.
It’s been a tough start to this season. Concerned?
Going back to your link with Andretti Autosport, they’ve been doing some engineering work for you. In what sense? Have they been actually making things for your cars or doing design work on components?
Melbourne was significantly better than Adelaide, but still not good enough. Now, you and I both know there are variables in this equation which I’m not going to go into detail about, but even in the Supercars Pro-Am category [big laugh, jokingly referring to what has also been dubbed Class B], we’re not where we should be. What surprised us was Adelaide, for sure. That was disappointing. We spent a lot of last year working on twin springs and we saw big improvements from the work that went into that, so having that taken away was disappointing. A lot of people thought that because we’d worked with linear springs for a lot longer than some of the other teams down pit lane that we would just jump back into old habits and be quick. But the way that the ZB works and the way that we’ve been working with it previously isn’t necessarily what we want with linear springs, so I think we’re feeling some of the same issues that Triple Eight are feeling, particularly with one of their cars [a veiled reference to Jamie Whincup, who has struggled more with
I’m sure that the silly season this year is going to be pretty interesting. That’s something I’d be willing to take a pretty big bet on.
Co-principal Mathew Nilsson works very closely day-to-day with Ryan Walkinshaw. the change]. We just have to work around that. Melbourne was better; we just had some poor qualifying from car #2 (Scott Pye). Car #22 (James Courtney) was up there with the Holdens, and up until the last race when JC got contact, we came second, fourth and third of the Commodores in the first three races at Albert Park. All things considered, while it’s not where we want to be, it wasn’t a disaster. But we need to be doing better than that.
when we have something to announce there, we will do, but I’m not going to go into details on that. It wouldn’t be fair on us or the drivers or anyone else we might possibly be talking to if I were to go into any details there. And currently, as it stands, they both have the opportunity to stay with us and we’ll be working with them for the rest of this season to go and win as many races as possible, and we have full confidence that they have the ability to go and do that.
Are James and Scott driving for their jobs?
So they’re current deals end this year?
I’d say every driver is driving for their job every year, Mark. We have contract negotiations that will be on-going and
I’m not going to go into details about it. People can speculate about when their contracts come to an end. The drivers’ market at the end of the
You know full well I can’t go into details on that, but it’s all of the above. We work very closely with them, but they don’t dictate what we should do. Our team works out what we feel we need alongside them. We go through a process and then it depends on resource. Is it better or cheaper for us – and do we have the experience – to build something new here or is it better to do it over there at Andretti Autosport (in Indianapolis)? We have those discussions and they’re done on a case-by-case basis, just like allocating engineering resources here is done on a case-by-case basis based on which program we’re working on at whatever time. Next issue: Walkinshaw on Alonso at Bathurst, the Mustang uproar and the case for the Camaro
“I’m sure the silly season this year is going to be pretty interesting. That’s something I’d be willing to take a pretty big bet on.”
Both Courtney and Pye are in the final seasons of their current contracts – and could be major players in the driver market for 2020. Images: LAT
With China hosting the 1000th world championship Grand Prix, DAN KNUTSON looks back through history at the Formula 1 races at each landmark
1S UCELNTA OUGRHM FRO URIE THE TH I N THE beginning b i i came the th 1906 French Grand Prix. Motor racing dates back to the first properly organized competition which was the Paris to Bordeaux to Paris race – a distance of 1,178km – in 1895. But those open road races were extremely dangerous to both the competitors and spectators. So closed circuit racing was gradually introduced, with the 1906 event being recognised as the first official Grand Prix. The 1906 race, which lasted d over 12 hours across two days, was won by Ferenc Szisz driving a Renault. The lengths of Grands Prix were reduced to about three and a half hours prior to World War II. There was a European Championship in the 1920s and 1930s but no world championship. In 1946, the Commission Sportive Internationale (CSI), which was the Stirling Moss took race number 100, but couldn’t win the title.
sporting Federation ti arm off the th F d ti Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), created a standard set of rules for a premier single-seater category which was called Formula A or Formula 1. The official FIA F1 World Championship began in 1950 and it comprised seven races including the Indianapolis 500. Giuseppe Farina won the first ever race in the new series – the British Grand Prix staged at Silverstone on May 13, 1950 – driving an Alfa Romeo.
Who was to know that the 1950 British Grand Prix was to start a revolution of motorsport (top) W tthat continues to this day. Giuseppe Farina (above) was the first official winner.
And now 69 years later, China hosted the 1000th world C championship race on April 14, 2019. c There were non-points F1 races T over the year as well, but this story o only refers to F1 races that counted o ttowards the championship.
RACE 100 R
1961 German Grand Prix Pole winner: P Phil Hill – Ferrari 156 Race winner: Stirling Moss – Lotus-Climax 18/21 1961 World Champion: Phil Hill – Ferrari
THE 1961 season consisted of eight races, all of them in Europe except for the United States Grand Prix. The latter was held on the Watkins Glen road circuit. From 1950 through 1960 the Indianapolis 500 was also part of the championship, which resulted in historians having to put asterisks on F1 statistics saying
whether or not the Indy 500 results are included. The 1960s saw a new era in F1. Cars with engines in the rear had replaced the front-engine machines that were the norm, until Australia’s Jack Brabham won the 1959 and 1960 world championships driving a rear-enigned Cooper. Gone, too, were many of the 1950s giants like Juan Manuel Fangio, Alberto Ascari, Farina, Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn. New rules for 1961 limited non-supercharged engines to 1500cc. And in 1958 races were shortened from around 480km to about 300km. Stirling Moss, along with Brabham and Phil Hill, was among the drivers to make the transition. Moss won the 100th race, the 1961 German Grand Prix driving a Lotus entered by privateer Rob Walker. While he qualified on the second row of the grid, Moss led all 15 laps around the daunting 22km Nürburgring. It would be his 16th and final F1 victory, as an accident in April 1962 effectively ended his racing career.
1971 Monaco Grand Prix
Pole winner: Jackie Stewart – Tyrrell-Ford 003 Race winner: Jackie Stewart – Tyrrell-Ford 003 1971 World Champion: Jackie Stewart – Tyrrell THERE WERE 11 races in 1971, with South Africa and Canada joining the U.S. round to make it a bit more of a world rather than a European-based championship. The 1960s saw the rise of the private teams based in Great Britain, and by 1971 outfits like Tyrrell, Lotus, McLaren, Surtees, March and Brabham – all powered by the 3-litre Ford Cosworth – made up most of the grid. BRM and Matra were fading, leaving only the Ferrari V12 to challenge the British teams. Engine capacity for non-turbos had been raised to 3 litres in 1966, and the Ford V8 arrived in 1968. Teams could buy the Ford V8 and Hewland gearbox, build their own chassis or buy one from an established team, and go F1 racing. New, too, were wings and sponsors including tobacco companies. Enzo Ferrari disdainfully referred to them as the “garagistas,” but those teams changed the face of F1 and the way it operates to this day. And Tyrrell with Jackie Stewart was a force to be reckoned with. Unhappy with the customer March chassis it used in 1970, Ken Tyrrell’s outfit decided to build its own car for 1971. Stewart starting on pole in Monaco 1971 – 1.2 seconds faster than Jacky Ickx who qualified second in his Ferrari – and led all 80 laps.
Jackie Stewart slid his way to victory on the streets of Monaco in race 200 (top), while seven years later Ronnie Peterson took the checkered flag in South Africa for the 300th race (above and right).
1978 South African Grand Prix
Pole winner: Niki Lauda – BrabhamAlfa Romeo BT46 Race winner: Ronnie Peterson – Lotus-Ford 78 1978 World Champion: Mario Andretti – Lotus RACES IN Brazil and Argentina helped stretch the 1978 season to 16 events. Wings had been around since 1968, but 10 years later Colin Chapman and the Lotus engineers figured out a ground effects system that made the Lotus 78 and its successor the 79 corner, Mario Andretti said, like “it was painted to the road.” Andretti won six races in 1978, often with teammate Ronnie Peterson dutifully playing the wingman role, on his way to winning the championship. An upstart young driver called Riccardo Patrese led some of the laps in the 1978 South African Grand Prix in his Arrows-Ford. But he and pole starter Niki Lauda both retired with engine failures. Patrick Depailler
led laps 64 to 77 in a Tyrrell-Ford, but Peterson fought his way into the lead on the 78th and final lap. Jean-Pierre Jabouille’s Renault also had an engine failure. Since 1966 the rules had permitted 1.5-litre turbo engines, but nobody really considered that option until Renault in 1977. The Renault turbo blew up so regularly that it earned the nickname The Yellow Teapot, and the other teams resolutely stuck with the tried and true 3-litre normally aspirated engines. It would take a few more years, but eventually the turbos would be the engine to have if a team wanted to win races.
1984 Austrian Grand Prix
Pole winner: Nelson Piquet – Brabham-BMW BT53 Race winner: Niki Lauda – McLaren-TAG MP4-2 1984 World Champion: Niki Lauda – McLaren NORMALLY ASPIRATED engines were virtually extinct by the time the 16-race 1984
season rolled around. Ferrari, BMW, Renault, Hart, Alfa Romeo, TAG-Porsche and Honda all had turbos. Also fast disappearing were monocoques and other chassis parts made of aluminum and other metals. Since 1981 McLaren had been using a monocoque chassis wholly manufactured from carbon fibre composite, and other teams would do the same. Ground effects chassis were banned starting in 1983 as cornering speeds were getting out of control. By now Bernie Ecclestone ruled F1. He had started in the 1970s taking control of the business aspects of F1 (especially the TV rights) and he made the teams’ union – the Formula One Constructors Association – a formidable force. This led to the FISA-FOCA war that began in the late 1970s with FOCA taking on FISA president Jean Marie Balestre and the manufacturer teams like Ferrari and Renault. Peace was finally achieved with the signing of the Concorde Agreement in
McLaren were one of the power teams of the 1980s, Niki Lauda winning the 1984 title by half a point from his teammate Alain Prost.
1981. It remains in place to this day and stipulates how the sport and business should be run, including the distribution of prize money. On the racing front, the 1984 McLaren with its Porsche-built TAG-funded V6 was almost unbeatable. Niki Lauda and Alain Prost won 12 races that year, and Lauda beat Prost by just half a point to the championship. A driver named Ayrton Senna made his F1 debut in 1984, as did another talented newcomer named Stefan Bellof.
One of Jacques Villeneuve’s victories during his title-winning season was GP number 600.
team in 1996 and won four races. In 1997 he won seven of the 17 races, including the 600th F1 race in Argentina where he led all but six laps, and he won the world championship. Ironically, Villeneuve would never win another F1 race. On the driver front, Michael Schumacher had left Benetton at the end of 1995 after winning two championships and joined Ferrari. But it would take a lot of time and work to turn the famous Scuderia back into a winner. The fastest combo as the 1990s came to an end was Mika Hakkinen and McLaren-Mercedes. He was world champion in 1998 and 1999.
1990 Australian Grand Prix
Pole winner: Ayrton Senna – McLaren-Honda MP4/5 Race winner: Nelson Piquet – BenettonFord B190 1990 World Champion: Ayrton Senna – McLaren BERNIE ECCLESTONE maintained that Europe would become a third world economy and the future of F1 was elsewhere in the world. By 1990, Australia, Japan and Mexico were part of the 16-race schedule. In 1986, Ecclestone had also sorted out Hungary, the first F1 race behind the Iron Curtain. The 1990 season finale was in Adelaide where F1 celebrated its 500th race. Ayrton Senna won the pole and set a blistering pace, breaking the lap record, but crashed out handing Nelson Piquet victory over Nigel Mansell. Senna’s misfortune mis handed the Benetton driver back-to-back ba victories. vic A major story of th the late 1980s and
2003 Brazilian Grand Prix
Pole winner: Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari F2002 Race winner: Giancarlo Fisichella – Jordan-Ford E13 20 2003 World Champion: Michael Sc Schumacher – Ferrari
Giancarlo Fisichella got a nice surprise after he took victory in the 700th Grand Prix (above), but the champagne still tasted sweet (right).
early 1990s was the feud between Senna and Alain Prost. They had collided during the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix and Prost secured the championship. A year later in Japan Senna took Prost off the track and clinched the title. There had also been a huge shift in the rules in 1989 when turbos were banned and the engines were now 3.5-litres and normally aspirated.
Australia A u hosted race number 5500 0 and a Nelson Piquet win on tthe h streets of Adelaide.
RACE 600 1997 Argentine Grand Prix
Pole winner: Jacques Villeneuve – Williams-Renault FW19 Race winner: Jacques Villeneuve – Williams-Renault FW19 1997 World Champion: Jacques Villeneuve – Williams THE WORLD of F1 had changed forever during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Roland Ratzenberger died in an accident during qualifying, and the next day Ayrton Senna was killed in the race. FIA president Max Mosely immediately instituted plans for sweeping changes to improve safety across the board from circuits to cars. Engine capacity was reduced to 3-litres in 1995. To reduce cornering speeds, the ugly grooved dry weather tyres were introduced for 1998. Bernie Ecclestone, meanwhile, had engineered getting Williams to sign IndyCar champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve. He joined the
RA NUMBER three of the 2003 RACE 16 16-race season had a bizarre finish. Ra Rain, spins and crashes, including o one for Aussie Mark Webber, caused th the Brazilian Grand Prix to be red flflagged. By that time pole winner R Rubens Barrichello, who had led his h home Grand Prix, had retired with a ffuel system fault in the Ferrari. There w was confusion about the finishing order at the red flag, and originally the victory was awarded to McLarenMercedes driver Kimi Räikkönen. It was several days later that the FIA ruled that the actual winner was Giancarlo Fisichella in his Jordan-Ford. The early 2000s was the era of the Michael Schumacher and Ferrari super team. Schumacher won five consecutive drivers’ world championships between 2000 and 2004. Ferrari earned the constructors’ crown six times between 1999 and 2004. Schumacher set records that many believed would never be broken. But now Lewis Hamilton is on his own record-setting spree. No driver and team can keep winning forever, and the Schumacher/Ferrari combo lost its edge in 2005 and 2006. The new kid on the block was Fernando Alonso, who won the championship both years with Renault. Schumacher made his first retirement from F1 at the end of 2006.
and eventually finished second to a Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. They were well clear of the field. T
2008 Singapore Grand Prix
Pole winner: Felipe Massa – Ferrari F2008 Race winner: Fernando Alonso – Renault R28 2008 World Champion: Lewis Hamilton – McLaren THE 2008 Singapore Grand Prix will always be remembered for the racefixing scandal that allowed Fernando Alonso to win from 15th place on the grid. Unbeknownst to Alonso, Renault team principal Flavio Briatore and executive director of engineering Pat Symonds ordered his teammate Nelson Piquet to crash. That brought out the safety car and Alonso, who had already pitted, took the lead and went on to win. A year later Piquet revealed the plot, and after investigating, the FIA banned Symonds and Briatore from motor sport for a number of years. There were 18 races in 2008 including the inaugural night race on the streets of Singapore, plus Malaysia, Bahrain, Turkey and China. Abu Dhabi would join the championship in 2009. All were thanks to Bernie Ecclestone. On the driver front, Sebastian Vettel had won his first Grand Prix in Italy two weeks before Singapore. Team infighting at McLaren caused Lewis Hamilton and Alonso to finish a mere point behind championship winner Kimi Räikkönen in 2007, but Hamilton blazed back with five wins to take the title in 2008. In a further attempt to stem the speeds of the cars, the FIA reduced engine capacity to 2.4-litres in 2006. Proper slick tyres made their return in 2009. The world recession late in the decade caused BMW, Toyota, Honda and Renault all to withdraw from F1, but the latter two subsequently returned.
2014 Bahrain Grand Prix Pole winner: Nico Rosberg – Mercedes W05 Race winner: Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes W05 2014 World Champion: Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
FORMULA 1 underwent another major change in 2014. The FIA wanted F1 to become greener and more
RACE 1000 R
2019 Chinese Grand Prix 2 Pole winner: Valtteri Bottas Race winner: Lewis Hamilton
It was a controversial race but Fernando Alonso won the inaugural night race in Singapore from 15th on the grid in F1’s 800th Grand Prix.
relevant to modern automotive technology. It introduced the modern era of hybrid V6 2.4-litre power units which incorporated energy recovery from both kinetic and thermal sources. It cost the teams a lot of money. Furthermore, the shriek of the highrevving normally aspirated engines was replaced by a much quieter flat bark of a turbo. Many fans complained about the lack of noise, but many also enjoyed being able to go to the race track and not have to endure the earpiercing screaming engines. Bernie Ecclestone campaigned against the new engine rules, but FIA president Jean Todt continues to insist that F1 has to change with the times. Unfortunately for the fans who want to see different winners and close competition, Mercedes has dominated the hybrid era and won five consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championships. The 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix reflected this domination as Nico Rosberg started from the pole It’s five years since Lewis Hamilton greeted the checkered flag in Bahrain in the 900th Grand Prix.
A FULL report of what happened during the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix d cn be found starting on page 32 of this c issue of Auto Action. A huge change between races 900 and 1000 was the end of Bernie Ecclestone’s rule of F1 after more than 30 years, when Liberty Media took control of the commercial aspects of F1 in 2017. With the additions of races in Russia and Azerbaijan, F1 is even more of a world championship. But F1 cannot forget its roots in Europe. Many of Ecclestone’s expansion races remain on the calendar to this day. Others have failed, such as Korea, India and Turkey, proving that you can’t just ram F1 down the throats of people who don’t know much about the sport. Australia, meanwhile, hass now hosted 35 F1 races going back to the inaugural al event in Adelaide in 1985. F1 has changed tremendously though the centuries of races, and the 1000th F1 race was far different from the 100th. But one aspect has remained the same: elite drivers in high-tech cars racing each ach other to determine who is the best in the world.
THE AUSSIES AUSTRALIA HAS produced four Formula 1 race winners and two world champions. Three-time world champion Jack Brabham, who passed away just over a month after the 900th race, made his F1 debut in race 47. He won 14 times in 126 starts. Alan Jones was in 116 F1 races between 1975 and 1986, winning 12 of them along with the 1980 world championship. Mark Webber started in 215 F1 races between 2002 and 2013. He won nine times and was in contention for the world championship right up to the final event of 2010. Tim Schenken competed in 33 F1 races and finished third in the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix. Aussie Daniel Ricciardo, a seventime winner, started in 2011 and competed in the 1000th F1 race. The other Aussies who competed in at least one F1 race were: Tony Gaze,, Paul England, g , Frank Gardner, Paul Hawkins, Dave Walker, Vern Schuppan, Larry Perkins, Warwick Brown and David Brabham. DK
K FOGARTY pays Long-time colleague MAR n motor sport lia ra st Au t en in em epr to tribute eham, who has on St e’ ni to ‘S hn Jo st ni oo cart ter more than four af n tio Ac to Au om fr ed tir re h decades of making us laug
OR MORE than 40 years, wherever I’ve lived in Australia, the UK or the USA, one thing has been constant. In the WCs of my many abodes has hung a copy of a Stonie cartoon. It’s the famed Niki Lauda joke, which we reproduce here for the first time in its unedited glory. The background. In 1977, then budding eminence grise F1 journo Alan Henry met John Stoneham in London. Stonie was on the then obligatory Aussie pilgrimage to the UK and showed Henry his work. In the course of their conversation, Stonie came up with the Lauda gag. Henry commissioned a mildlanguage version for Britain’s Motoring News -- and it was an instant hit. Stonie returned to Australia and ended up working with me on another motor sport fortnightly. He was funny, creative and irreverent. That long-defunct publication also ran the Nika Lauda cartoon in its acceptable form. In the late 1970s, the F and C words weren’t publishable. But I had a copy of Stonie’s ribald original made and mounted. Back in the day, it was called a bromide. Now, it’s a yellowed copy hanging in the guest WC of my apartment. It’s what you see here. That faded
facsimile has followed me around the world for n four decades, always living in ut a toilet room. Sorry, mate, but ged that’s where it always belonged. I suspect Stonie would actually appreciate the humour of the placement. So here it is, photographed in my guest WC, aged and nicotine tarnished. But still as funny as. Your best ever, Stonie, but just a highlight of your tremendous portfolio of visual gags. His inimitable sidekicks, Wood Duck and Seagull, feature prominently in this classic cartoon, but their side comments over the years have very often been the ‘zingers’ that have been the sting in the tail. We met when I was a young and callous teenager, and Stonie was an early life mentor. Thank you for your witty wisdoms, which continue to influence me today. Stonie – or Stoneballs, as he also self-deprecatingly calls himself – has often generously credited me with introducing him to Auto Action back in 1976 and thereby kicking off his distinguished professional career as an illustrator, which
Above, this is where it all started, the very first Stone cartoon in Auto Action. It was issue 132, dated 18 March 1979.
included a stint as political cartoonist at Adelaide’s long-gone evening newspaper, The News. He is too kind. His talent was obvious and I’d commissioned him to do a cartoon for my weekly motor sport column in the southern editions of The Australian. That was the result of getting to know him in ’75 when he moved from Adelaide to Melbourne, establishing a T-shirt
28 AAutoAction A i
printing business with his good mate Adrian McClelland. His caricatures were already popular and in demand, and he was encouraged to branch out by the sponsorship manager of Phillip Morris cigarette brand Marlboro, which back then was the big sponsor of the Holden Dealer Team. We had so many funny – or for a naive young bloke, eye-opening –
nights in Stonie’s and Adrian’s flat above their shop in Melbourne’s city edge northern suburb of Carlton, years before it became trendy. It was, I tell you, an education for a sheltered outer-suburban boy… We have kept crossing paths over the many years since, mostly
through Auto Action, where we’ve been fixtures for much of the past four decades. I introduced Stonie to then AA editor Paul Harrington when I moved to the magazine department of The Age newspaper in 1976, working on stablemate Motor Manual magazine (which was eventually
absorbed into what’s now Motor). The rest, as they say, is history. Born and bred in Adelaide, Stonie is an institution in South Australian motor sport, as he has been in AA. He has been enduringly popular with not only our readers, but the Australian motor sport industry generally. Many top teams and drivers – including the late Peter Brock, who was a big Stonie fan – have commissioned him over the years for everything from posters to Christmas cards. Even those who felt the prick of his good-natured visual barbs – which is just about every major figure you can think of since the 1970s – rejoiced in his satirical sense of humour. Stonie could always made you laugh about the most serious and controversial subjects, distilling them to their essence in a very funny way. He is also an extraordinarily decent bloke whose fun-loving attitude is
only exceeded by his compassion. Unfortunately, as far as AA is concerned, Stonie has decided that it’s time to put away his pen – actually, stylus, as he updated to drawing on touch screens more than a decade ago. Having to come up with something new and funny every two weeks has finally taken its toll. He wants to stop and smell the roses, and who can blame him after such a long and distinguished motor sport career? I understand he will continue to contribute to less time-sensitive publications and be available for other less pressing projects. But, sadly, his era with Auto Action has ended. So we say farewell to John ‘Stonie’ Stoneham, appreciating his wit and sardonic humour, not to mention the hilarious caricatures and satirical observations. Thank you, John, it’s been a privilege and an adventure to work with you. .
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Round 3 China
Lewis Hamilton wins the 1000th race and leaves the Ferrari drivers behind reports DAN KNUTSON
THE MILLENNIUM WIN MERCEDES THRASHED Ferrari in the Chinese Grand Prix. That fact that he won in China was important to Lewis Hamilton, but not the fact that it was an historic race. “For me it’s not really much of a moment,” Hamilton said, when asked before the start what it meant to him that this was the 1000th race in the world championship. “It’s just another race. We’re here to win. It’s great for the sport.” Number 1000 was indeed historic for the sport and the fans. The 1000 races since 1950 that have paid points towards the official Formula 1 World Championship Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen had a great battle after pitstops on cold tyres, but after that the Ferrari edged away.
include 11 editions of the Indianapolis 500 from 1950 to 1960. Also included are the total of 15 races of the 1952 and 1953 seasons that were run under Formula 2 rules, and therefore the F2 cars were the de facto F1 machines. Hamilton also won the 900th race in the championship – the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix. His win in number 1000 was the 75th of his F1 career. Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo won the 2018 edition of the Chinese Grand Prix driving for Red Bull. He started and finished seventh in this year’s race, and that was a win of sorts.
His Renault was the first car not from the top three teams – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – to cross the finish line. It was also his first finish for Renault after retirements in Australia and Bahrain. “It’s good to get on the board,” he said. “We’ll take the positives from that. It might have looked a simple seventh, but it wasn’t easy. It was a bit of a lonely race. I
didn’t have so many battles but I was being pushed hard from the cars behind all the way to the end. It’s a strong result and the best we can ask for; at least for today. We want to push on from this over the next couple of races and keep working from here.” Pole sitter Valtteri Bottas could have won race number 1000 but for the thick white start/finish line. “There was a thick white line just in front of my grid box,” the Mercedes driver said. “I hit the white line, got the wheelspin, took too long to recover it, lost a few metres of distance, so Lewis got me. The race start was the key – but Lewis did a good job on that.” Once in the dirty air behind the leader Hamilton, Bottas was fated to finish second. Although Ferrari had been fast in Bahrain, the team could not challenge Mercedes in China. Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc were destined to fight each other, until team orders put Vettel ahead and on course to finish third and on the podium for the first
The Chinese Grand Prix began with a spectacular opening lap crash between the two McLarens of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris, and Danil Kvyat’s Red Bull.
RESULTS ROUND 3: CHINESE GRAND PRIX Valtteri Bottas and Charles Leclerc had to play second fiddle to their teammates (above) while Daniel Ricciardo finally made it to the end for Renault (above right). Kimi Raikkonen was solid for Alfa Romeo in ninth (right). time this season. “I felt I could go faster (than Leclerc),” Vettel said. “Then it was a bit difficult for me to find the rhythm, so I had a couple of wobbles where I locked up and lost the advantage I gained. But the whole race we were just not able to stick with Mercedes.” Ferrari believed that Vettel had a better shot at Mercedes than Leclerc, hence the team orders. “We tried everything we could not to lose time on the Mercedes ahead,” Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said. “That was the only chance that we got at the time. We tried, it didn’t work, but it seemed it was right to give that chance to Seb. As a team we did whatever we could.” While he was peeved at the time, Leclerc said he understood the situation following a postrace debrief. Still, Ferrari’s strategy backfired so that Leclerc dropped back to fifth “Both Seb and myself were struggling with the tyres,” Leclerc said. “We swapped positions and I thought he would have pulled away. But he didn’t and this didn’t help my tyres because I had a bit of overheating and I lost some time. On my second set of tyres I hoped I’d be able to go all the way to the end, but I had to stop again and lost a place.” Max Verstappen took that spot in his Red Bull. “We planned a good strategy to undercut a Ferrari and stay ahead,” Verstappen said, “so
we definitely maximised the result to finish fourth ahead of Charles. I had a good battle with Seb when he came out of the pits on colder tyres, which was good fun. That was my one shot and I tried but after that, you could see that we didn’t quite have the pace to fight him to the end.” Pierre Gasly finished sixth in the other Red Bull, thus ensuring that the big three teams swept the top six places. He donned a fresh set of tyres late in the race, which enabled him to get the extra point for setting the fastest race lap time. “We saw that we had quite a big margin behind us in the last few laps,” Gasly said, “so we decided to go for it and have an extra pit stop, which worked. During the race I tried to keep the rhythm, take care of my tyres and improve my feeling with the car. I’m slowly getting more confident; I think we take one step every weekend but of course I would like to take three every time.” Meanwhile, if Hamilton continues racing for another five years, he will have a shot at winning the 1100 F1 World Championship race.
Pos 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 -
Driver Lewis Hamilton Valtteri Bottas Sebastian Vettel Max Verstappen Charles Leclerc Pierre Gasly Daniel Ricciardo Sergio Perez Kimi Raikkonen Alexander Albon Romain Grosjean Lance Stroll Kevin Magnussen Carlos Sainz Jr. Antonio Giovinazzi George Russell Robert Kubica Lando Norris Daniil Kvyat Nico Hulkenberg
Car Mercedes Mercedes Ferrari Red Bull/Honda Ferrari Red Bull/Honda Renault Racing Point/Mercedes Alfa Romeo/Ferrari Toro Rosso/Honda Haas/Ferrari Racing Point/Mercedes Haas/Ferrari McLaren/Renault Alfa Romeo/Ferrari Williams/Mercedes Williams/Mercedes McLaren/Renault Toro Rosso/Honda Renault
Laps 56 56 56 56 56 56 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 55 54 54 50 41 16
Gap 1h32m06.350s 6.552s 13.744s 27.627s 31.276s 1m29.307s 1 Lap 1 Lap 1 Lap 1 Lap 1 Lap 1 Lap 1 Lap 1 Lap 1 Lap 2 Laps 2 Laps Not running Retirement Retirement
Points: Hamilton 68, Bottas 62, Verstappen 39, Vettel 37, Leclerc 36, Gasly 13, Raikkonen 12, Norris 8, Magnussen 8, Hulkenberg 6, Ricciardo 6, Perez 5, Albon 5, Stroll 2, Kvyat 1. Constructors’: Mercedes 130, Ferrari 73, Red Bull-Honda 52, Renault 12, Alfa RomeoFerrari 12, Haas-Ferrari 8, McLaren-Renault 8, Racing Point-Mercedes 7, Toro-RossoHonda 4. Pierre Gasly set fastest lap for Red Bull, finishing sixth.
Symmons Plains, Races 7 & 8
LEVEL PEGGING Report: Heath McAlpine Photos: LAT/Insyde Media/Ross Gibb
ALL THE talk coming into Symmons Plains was parity and the adjustments that had been made to both the dominant Mustang and opposition Commodore. A lot of questions remained unanswered about the effects these changes were to have on the racing. Throw into that the introduction of new Parc Ferme rules for the first time and Supercars’ annual trip to Tassie promised to mix up the grid substantially compared to the opening two rounds of the championship. The changes were demonstrated almost immediately when Mark Winterbottom took his maiden pole position for Holden and his first in three years, edging out championship leader Scott McLaughlin in a Mustang that had an extra 30kg over his head. The big story was the sole red flag of the session, not because of what happened, but who it happened to. Jamie Whincup had so far this season enjoyed a better run than teammate Shane van Gisbergen, especially at the Australian Grand Prix when engine failure and a wheel parting company added to the Kiwi’s woes. But in Tassie, the luck had switched to the other side of the garage with the seven-time champion spinning at the hairpin during the second stage of qualifying, bunkering his Commodore and leaving Whincup to start 15th. Another to struggle was Chaz Mostert. The Tickford driver was the only other driver to win a race this season, but 11th was the best he could muster as he tried
Nothing could stop Scott McLaughlin in Race 7, heading home teammate Fabian Coulthard (above). Mark Winterbottom had sat on Pole position for the first time since 2016 (right). to close McLaughlin’s 31-point lead in the championship. A tough start to the season for Erebus appeared to be over as both David Reynolds and Anton De Pasquale started in the top 10, as did Lee Holdsworth who was leading the Tickford charge, and Tim Slade after winning at Laguna Seca the week before. With Parc Ferme coming into effect, the question now was how did the teams set-up the cars? Did they compromise? Was a time set early, then a race set-up implemented? It appeared that’s what most teams decided to do. It was Ford’s former hero alongside
his successor on the front-row, but the DJR Team Penske Mustang made a rocket start to lead the field through the opening sequence of corners. Winterbottom held a strong second ahead of Fabian Coulthard, who was being pressured by a fast-starting Reynolds. In stark contrast to the Erebus man’s start, van Gisbergen struggled and dropped to fifth, struggling to hold back the advances of James Courtney. After a disastrous qualifying session, things went from bad to worse for Whincup. Trying to claw back lost ground, he attempted to pass Holdsworth heading into Turn 6, but made contact with the rear of the Mustang, which in turn popped the tyre off the rim and lost him two laps while The Kiwis were all smiles after another podium lock out, just like Winton last year.
Whincup’s hopes of a race win ended early after hitting the rear of Lee Holdsworth.
Fresh from winning in the US, Tim Slade carried that good form to Symmons Plains, placing in the top 10.
repairs were affected. If the 30kg ballast re-distribution had made a change, it was minimal to the two DJR Team Penske Mustangs. Although he had lost third to Reynolds, Coulthard was quick to respond and executed a pass around the outside at the sweeper on lap 5, with his focus now on Winterbottom. Reynolds was the first of the leaders to pit and was the first to encounter issues. Delaying him was an issue with the right rear wheel, which meant a 12s pit stop that dropped him into a feisty group of Commodores led by Courtney and Nick Percat. There were no such issues for Coulthard as he successfully applied the undercut and leapfrogged Winterbottom, the Team18 driver also suffered a slow pit stop after overshooting his marks. McLaughlin also had a slightly Pitting later, Shane van Gisbergen came back to third by the end of Race 7.
McLaughlin led away at the start, but Winterbottom shadowed the reigning champion during the early stages.
slower pit stop, but this was down to the inexperienced crew member participating in his first stop. It didn’t hold him up significantly and he emerged still clear in the effective lead. The overcut was being implemented for van Gisbergen, who was the last of the leaders to pit on lap 30. He then had younger tyres on his side despite losing position to Reynolds and Courtney. Reynolds was first to be passed on lap 34 in a standard move down the inside at Turn 6, then Courtney five laps later, due to van Gisbergen’s superior grip out of the hairpin and a much better run along the sweeper. His next target, Winterbottom, was reachable and he set about the pursuit. Out front, it was all red, yellow and white as McLaughlin comfortably led teammate Coulthard to take victory number six for the year, continuing an unbeaten streak of races. The battle for third was heating up and decided in the final stages. Wildcard Jack Smith had slightly hampered the progress of the leaders, Scott McLaughlin was particularly vocal about it over the radio, but when the battling Winterbottom and van Gisbergen came up to lap the Super2 driver, it was more
detrimental to the former. With two laps to go and Team18’s first podium on the line, Winterbottom was slightly delayed (post-race he claimed it was a second) allowing the Kiwi to close up and complete a pass at the sweeper, denying Charlie Schwerkolt’s team a long-awaited breakthrough. Behind, Courtney, Reynolds, Slade, Percat and De Pasquale made it seven Holdens in the top 10, while Mostert failed to progress further than 10th. This was critical as a 31-point championship margin was extended to 135. If Saturday had been Penske’s day, then Sunday was van Gisbergen’s. It was a day that vaulted him back up the standings and put the team’s miserable Australian Grand Prix performance well into the past. The pace shown by van Gisbergen to grab pole failed to be replicated on the other side of the garage, Whincup starting back in 13th. Macauley Jones continued his tough start to the season, spinning during the first knockout phase of qualifying and subsequently being hit by Andre Heimgartner and Garry Jacobson, ending the session for the rookie and laying down oil on the circuit. Richie Stanaway had his best qualifying of the year, but a slow pit stop meant he failed to convert.
Lee Holdsworth and Andre Heimgartner made a less than ideal start to Race 8 (above left), while Shane van Gisbergen took a comfortable victory in the end (above).
Despite a great run, luck eluded Anton De Pasquale (above). De Pasquale continued his impressive qualifying form to place sixth ahead of an equally strong result for Richie Stanaway, making his first appearance in the top 10 for the year. The race began under threatening skies, a worry for teams with dry set-ups and slicks being implemented from qualifying thanks to the Parc Ferme regulations. Although there were sprinkles here and there, the weather never played a part throughout the 84lap event. In what was the opposite to that which occurred the previous day, van Gisbergen made a sharp start and led to the Turn 4 hairpin, Reynolds bogging it due to the slight dampness and dropped two positions, crucially as it turned out, one to Coulthard. Fabian Coulthard was unable to hold off Shane van Gisbergen, which was crucial to how the race played out.
As always, Symmons Plains’ opening sequence provided action and this race was no exception as Holdsworth tangled with Heimgartner, which provided the basis for a storming drive by Tickford’s new recruit. Despite opening a 0.4s gap early, Coulthard hunted down van Gisbergen to make the margin almost nothing approaching the first round of pit stops. These were led by McLaughlin on lap 15, putting 53L on board and emerging in clear space, which played into his hands when the lead duo pitted 10 laps later. Coulthard was next, his teammate working the undercut perfectly to take the position, however the reigning champion was struggling. Grant McPherson called van Gisbergen in on lap 30 just as Coulthard passed his teammate, who was in damage limitation mode with tyre issues. It was tight exit for van Gisbergen as he re-joined the circuit alongside Coulthard and was then also passed by McLaughlin, who fought hard to keep his fellow Kiwi behind him. It was van Holdsworth charged from the back of the field to finish as Tickford’s top runner in ninth.
Symmons Plains, Races 7 & 8
David Reynolds capped off a return to form for Erebus with a Race 8 podium. Gisbergen that held the upper hand with fresher tyres and quickly demoted the reigning champion. Winterbottom had again qualified strongly in fourth, but strategy had dropped him into a fierce battle for sixth between De Pasquale, Cam Waters, Percat, Courtney and Whincup. Although he had the least fuel to drop in, Winterbottom’s race was hampered by the growing battle, which continued to delay his progression. Reynolds was next to take advantage of McLaughlin’s dire tyre situation; interestingly the Kiwi did not give the Erebus driver as much grief for the position as he had done van Gisbergen. Soon, it was apparent who had the fastest car on track as van Gisbergen quickly caught and passed Coulthard to re-take the lead. McLaughlin finally pitted on lap 47, but he had lost too much time during that second stint
and remained fourth for the rest of the event. To compound this, he missed the marks in the pits, which also delayed him slightly. Stanaway’s strong qualifying form came to nil after a wheel nut cross threaded and dropped him to the back, so too did De Pasquale’s when a gearshift pivot bolt fell out, while in an equal-best seventh. In a moment of hast, De Pasquale entered pit lane only to be waved through by the team to continue, which he did to an eventual 23rd. The final pit stops took place on lap 54 for Coulthard and Reynolds, whilst a lap later van Gisbergen came in to cover the undercut, which he did successfully. He emerged well
clear of Coulthard and proceeded to extend the margin back to the DJR Team Penske driver. During the closing stages, all eyes were focused on the battle for second between Coulthard and Reynolds as the latter pushed to overhaul the Mustang, just failing to complete a move on the final lap. McLaughlin in fourth was followed by a recovering Whincup, Winterbottom, Percat, Pye and an impressive Holdsworth, who led the Tickford charge narrowly over Mostert. Mostert’s less than ideal weekend dropped him to sixth in the title race, as Coulthard made it a one-two at the top of the point standings.
It was a crucial victory for van Gisbergen.
RACE RESULTS RACE 7 50 LAPS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Scott McLaughlin Fabian Coulthard Shane van Gisbergen Mark Winterbottom James Courtney David Reynolds Tim Slade Nick Percat Anton De Pasquale Chaz Mostert Cameron Waters Scott Pye Lee Holdsworth Todd Hazelwood James Golding Richie Stanaway Rick Kelly Andre Heimgartner Will Davison Macauley Jones Simona De Silvestro Jack Le Brocq Jack Smith Garry Jacobson Jamie Whincup
Ford Ford Holden Holden Holden Holden Holden Holden Holden Ford Ford Holden Ford Holden Holden Holden Nissan Nissan Ford Holden Nissan Holden Holden Nissan Holden
50 laps +1.764s +4.819s +5.597s +11.023s +13.616s +14.262s +18.508s +19.620s +20.007s +20.453s +20.955s +21.225s +29.148s +29.680s +30.248s +30.772s +33.129s +34.509s +40.635s +44.883s 49 laps 49 laps 49 laps 48 laps
▲1 ▲2 0 ▼3 ▲1 ▼1 0 ▲4 ▼1 ▲1 ▼1 ▲4 ▼4 0 ▲4 ▲1 ▲1 ▲7 ▼6 ▲1 ▲2 ▼2 ▼1 0 ▼ 10
84 laps +5.188s +6.878s +13.849s +16.639s +18.143s +31.506s +34.967s +36.134s +41.887s +44.332s +44.624s +48.633s +51.529s 83 laps 83 laps 83 laps 83 laps 83 laps 83 laps 83 laps 83 laps 82 laps 81 laps 49 laps
0 0 0 ▲1 ▲8 ▼2 ▲9 ▲7 ▲5 0 ▼3 0 ▼4 ▲ 10 ▼4 ▲3 ▲1 ▼1 ▼ 12 ▲5 ▲2 ▼2 ▼ 17 ▼3 ▼3
FASTEST LAP James Courtney 51.3996s RACE RESULTS RACE 8 84 LAPS 1 Shane van Gisbergen Holden 2 Fabian Coulthard Ford 3 David Reynolds Holden 4 Scott McLaughlin Ford 5 Jamie Whincup Holden 6 Mark Winterbottom Holden 7 Nick Percat Holden 8 Scott Pye Holden 9 Lee Holdsworth Ford 10 Chaz Mostert Ford 11 Cameron Waters Ford 12 Tim Slade Holden 13 James Courtney Holden 14 Will Davison Ford 15 Rick Kelly Nissan 16 James Golding Holden 17 Andre Heimgartner Nissan 18 Todd Hazelwood Holden 19 Richie Stanaway Holden 20 Macauley Jones Holden 21 Simona De Silvestro Nissan 22 Jack Le Brocq Holden 23 Anton De Pasquale Holden 24 Jack Smith Holden NC Garry Jacobson Nissan
FASTEST LAP Mark Winterbottom 51.2276s Points: McLaughlin 770, Coulthard 646, Whincup, 610, van Gisbergen 604, Reynolds 599, Mostert 593, Winterbottom 556, Slade 555, Percat 541, Davison 524, Courtney 499, Waters 490, Holdsworth 417, De Pasquale 381, Heimgartner 371, Pye 370, Hazelwood 367, Golding 329, Kelly 318, De Silvestro 301, Stanaway 272, Le Brocq 262, Jacobson 209, Jones 201, Smith 69
Supports Symmons Plains
VIDAU VICTORIOUS IN GT3 CUP OPENER MAX VIDAU dominated the opening round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, winning all three races at Symmons Plains including the first installment of the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy. Series debutant Harri Jones qualified on pole position for Race 1, but the experience of Vidau enabled him to get the better start to lead. It was shortlived, though, as Cameron Crick stalled on the fourth row, the stationary car hit by Brett Boulton. A red flag was required to clean up the incident but the race was eventually restarted with Vidau again getting the jump on Jones, while new Pro Class driver Christian Pancione didn’t enjoy the same fortune as Vidau and dropped from third to sixth. Despite clipping the wall on the exit of Turn 4, Vidau headed home Jones by 3s, with Ryan Suhle trailing the pair home. Vidau replicated his form from Race 1 by jumping Jones again and leading at the start of the second race, Suhle on the other hand dropped position to Aaron Love, leading to the former Formula 4 rivals dicing for the duration.
Unlike the first race, Jones kept Vidau company for most of the race before the former was delayed by backmarkers. Pancione sat fifth but made a crucial mistake on the exit of Turn
7, spinning out of contention and finishing an eventual 14th. In the end, it was another comfortable victory for Vidau, 5.2s clear of Jones with Suhle continuing his strong debut run
It was chaos at the start of Race 1, when series debutant Cameron Crick stalled and was hit from behind (above). Front runner from last year Max Vidau cleanswept the round. Images: Ross Gibb, Insyde Media to round out the placegetters. the inside wall, then onto the It was another perfect start for grass banking to become stuck Vidau in the third and final race on the inside of the circuit. of the weekend, heading Jones The race ended behind the and a fast-starting Love. Suhle, Safety Car with officials deciding however retook third with a move not to restart it as rain had begun around the outside of Love at to fall, giving Vidau a cleanTurn 6, prior to the safety car sweep to start his season. being called for an incident at The South Australian heads Turn 4. to the next round of the series A locked brake from AM at Sydney Motorsport Park in Class runner Shane Barwood May with an 18-point margin instigated a collision with to Jones, with Suhle a further Graham Williams, which then 18-points behind. sent the Porsche nose-first into Dan McCarthy
RUGGIER GOES BACK TO BACK IN AUSSIES THE SECOND round of the Aussie Racing Cars was won by Justin Ruggier as he extended his series lead, winning three out of the four races at Symmons Plains. In one of his guest appearances, Adam Uebergang finished the round runner up ahead of another driver making a cameo appearance, Super2 racer Bryce Fullwood. The opening race of the weekend was a tight tussle with the usual suspects duking it out at the front led by Ruggier, Uebergang, Blake Scibberas, Kel Tresider, Daniel
Price, Joel Heinrich and Fullwood. The scrap ended in disaster on lap 7 with contact between Treseder and Scibberas which put the latter into the pit lane wall, resulting in a safety car. A penultimate lap scrap for second between returning defending champion Heinrich and Price allowed Ruggier to pull away and take the victory ahead of Heinrich, with Uebergang taking third off Price on the final lap. Race 2 lasted only a lap before the safety car was required after Joshua Anderson failed to move off
Despite strong competition, Justin Ruggier has extended his title lead after taking his second round victory in a row. Images: Insyde Media the line. The restart provided much action as eight cars fought for the lead with Ruggier emerging 0.5s clear of Uebergang and Scibberas. The top 10 was reversed for Race 3, putting Kody Garland on pole alongside Leigh Bowler, but a 5s penalty was handed to Bowler for a start procedure breach. It wasn’t long before the safety car was needed again after Troy Jones toured the grass at Turn 2 and promptly spun, getting stuck on the inside of Turn 3. After the restart, Treseder and Uebergang fought hard for the
lead, but the two made contact with Treseder taking to the gravel and losing places, while Uebergang continued to cross the line ahead of Ruggier and Treseder. However, penalties were handed out to Uebergang and Treseder, demoting the pair to fourth and eighth respectively, while elevating Ruggier to victory. Scibberas’s Race 4 lasted four corners before suffering a mechanical issue, but up front Ruggier, Uebergang, Fullwood and Price were involved in a four-car scrap for the lead throughout the
race. Further back Adam Clark and Jeff Watters touched at Turn 6, Watters lost the rear of the car on the grass and was hit heavily by Brad Woods as he rejoined the circuit sideways. The safety car was called but the race was declared before it could get back underway, giving Uebergang the final victory ahead of Fullwood and Ruggier. Ruggier takes a comfortable series lead to Hidden Valley after using his ‘joker’ round in Tasmania, scoring double points. Dan McCarthy
Races 9 & 10
PENSKE PRECISION Report: Heath McAlpine Photos: LAT/Insyde Media/Ross Gibb
LAST YEAR David Reynolds questioned whether Scott McLaughlin’s middle name was Phillip, after another dominant performance at the scenic island circuit. This year, not much had changed. DJR Team Penske’s man led from start-to-finish for much of the weekend, though a new challenge also emerged. His biggest challenge came from within the same garage, as Fabian Coulthard’s upturn of form has come as he has felt the most pressure. With his position within the DJR Team Penske squad being severely threatened by free agent Chaz Mostert at the end of the year, Coulthard produced his best results since challenging for the title in 2017. An uncertain future greeted Andre Heimgartner at the end of last season, as three drivers were gunning for two seats at Nissan. But the Kiwi held his spot thanks to impressive performances at the final two rounds. The Nissans have suffered this year, but Heimgartner has impressed particularly in qualifying, which was demonstrated at Phillip Island where he delivered on that promise. The turnaround by Kelly Racing in a week was rapid and surprising, considering the Altima’s apparent lack of development compared to the ZB, let alone the Mustang. Before Phillip Island, Kelly Racing had only a sole top 10 finish to its name and appeared to be a distant third in the pecking order, but another impressive qualifying performance from Heimgartner and from teammate Kelly promised a better result. Fourth on the grid for Heimgartner led the non-Mustang class, team boss Kelly was sixth, with the fill ins being Mustangs. Where were the Commodores? Particularly the Red Bull Holden Racing Team duo? The opinion at Tasmania was that Phillip Island would be the barometer to determine whether the Centre of Gravity changes had had
DJRTP duo McLaughlin and Coulthard dominated on Saturday.
the desired effect. The leading Holden, recently turned 200 race veteran Scott Pye, was 1.2s off the pace of the front-row sitting DJR Team Penske Mustangs. Jamie Whincup was a surprise victim of Q1 and Shane van Gisbergen just managed to scrape into the final stage. It was a sign of things to come. It was an intense start to the race, the two DJR Team Penske Mustangs duked it out for the lead through Turn 1 and Southern Loop, quickly bridging a gap over the pursuing Nissans of Kelly and Heimgartner. The team boss had climbed from fifth to lead the pursuit, but the red, white and yellow machines were James Courtney was in the wars, finishing at the back both days.
already 2s up the road. The new pit lane rules that stipulated no stops during Safety Car interventions forced teams to choose whether to bring drivers in early or leave them out on the notoriously high degradation surface in the hope of a Safety Car. Most chose the former in the opening 27-lap opener led by championship leader McLaughlin, but it appeared the overcut was well in play as demonstrated by Heimgartner’s leapfrog of Kelly into the final podium place after pitting a lap later. Todd Kelly was having kittens in the Kelly Racing bunker watching his younger brother turn the blowtorch on his Kiwi teammate. Kelly nudged 2019 is not being kind to Jamie Whincup, his best a 12th.
Heimgartner on a number of occasions through Honda, Siberia, Hayshed and Lukey Heights, before the tyres warmed up on the Kiwi’s Altima and he broke away. Two drivers to take advantage of the overcut were Shane van Gisbergen and David Reynolds. The RBHRT team leader skipped further into the top 10 after a disappointing qualifying session, but Reynolds gained the most after starting 12th, he split the two Nissans in fourth and remained there until the conclusion. If the RBHRT’s weekend could go further wrong it did. A botched front right tyre change for Whincup meant the wheel wasn’t fitted properly as the seven-time champion continued around the track gingerly hoping to Cam Waters got the rough house treatment from Shane van Gisbergen.
The pace of the Altimas after Symmons Plains surprised even the Nissan team at Phillip Island.
Andre Heimgartner scored his first solo podium on Saturday. get the issue rectified. At Siberia, it all ended, the tyre parted company and Whincup caught a lift with the local tow truck driver. This brought out the only Safety Car for the event, a test of the new rule or maybe not, as everyone had already pitted. The race restarted with not much change at the front, but another wheel did depart company, this time Mark Winterbottom’s Team18 Commodore. No Safety Car was required this time, but Cameron Waters may have wished for one after becoming the latest victim of van Gisbergen’s rough tactics. Exiting Siberia, the Kiwi tried to muscle his way on the inside of the Tickford rising star, but all this did was damage the watts
Mark Winterbottom lost a wheel after his pitstop.
linkage on the Mustang. It was steady as it goes up front, McLaughlin headed home a DJR Team Penske 1-2, while Heimgartner completed a Kiwi trifecta. Heading into Race 10, the question was, who was going to challenge the DJR Team Penske duo? Following on from the previous day’s competition, it was another surprise. Whilst his teammate David Reynolds had been scoring race wins and podiums, Anton De Pasquale was accumulating experience and strong qualifying pace, but no rewards in terms of high race placings. This all changed in Race 10, when he converted a strong fourth place into an equally Erebus was strong all weekend with both cars.
confidence boosting third, even challenging McLaughlin for second. It should have been another win for McLaughlin – his eighth – if not for an electrical fault that meant his pit lane speed limiter ran below the 40km/h limit, losing him 2s and dropping him behind Coulthard and De Pasquale, who short-filled to gain some clean air running. De Pasquale had gained third thanks to a poor start from Chaz Mostert. The Tickford driver had finished off another Mustang 1-2-3 in qualifying, though he was 0.7350s off McLaughlin’s pace. Todd Hazelwood was again among the top 10, but that changed when he was tapped into a spin by James Courtney at Siberia, earning the Will Davison was fourth on Sunday, best Tickford home.
veteran a 15s penalty. Worse was to come for Walkinshaw Andretti United’s lead contender. McLaughlin was first to pit, but lost the most ground as Cam Waters short-filled. This led to an intriguing battle between two of Supercars leading young talents; Waters and De Pasquale. Erebus Motorsport’s Commodore had pace to burn, as even with a heavier fuel load, he was all over Waters until the Tickford driver pitted on lap 16. A lap later De Pasquale pitted and was the meat in a DJR Team Penske sandwich, though not for long. In a replay from last year, McLaughlin completed a very similar move on De Pasquale to one he performed on Tim Slade came storming home on Sunday, ninth in race 10.
Races 9 & 10
Anton De Pasquale had a career best third and first podium in Sunday’s race 10, holding off Will Davison (above).
Reynolds in 2018 at Southern Loop. After sliding down the inside at the exit, McLaughlin was gone. More pressing issues were of concern to De Pasquale, a sensor failure meant the car was using more fuel and he was in conservation mode. Lap 35, Courtney suffered yet another blow out, while his opening lap sparing partner was climbing up the field, Hazelwood now 16th. There was disaster for Garry Rogers Motorsport when James Golding – the leading Holden in that morning’s practice session – was offered to pit, but declined. The team instead brought Stanaway in but, in the space of time that the first decision was made, Golding had changed his mind and came in, forcing the team to double-stack, hurting Stanaway’s race. The conclusion of the race was all about Tim Slade. Although on the outer-reaches of the top 10, he was making a spirited charge on newer tyres, first disposing of Whincup, then Reynolds and finally Nick Percat. Rick Kelly proved to be the only stumbling block, but it was still another double top 10 result for Brad Jones Racing. With engineer Mirko De Rosa telling him to keep pushing, De Pasquale did so to just edge Will Davison for third. But it was Coulthard’s day, finishing 0.6793s ahead of McLaughlin, further enhancing his credentials and amplifying how good DJR Team Penske are at the moment. The question remains, can it be beaten?
RACE RESULTS RACE 9 27 LAPS
Fabian Coulthard felt the Game of Thrones power in race 10.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 NC NC
Scott McLaughlin Fabian Coulthard Andre Heimgartner David Reynolds Chaz Mostert Shane van Gisbergen Rick Kelly Scott Pye Nick Percat Will Davison Todd Hazelwood Anton De Pasquale James Golding Richie Stanaway Lee Holdsworth Simona De Silvestro Tim Slade Macauley Jones Garry Jacobson Jack Le Brocq Mark Winterbottom James Courtney Cameron Waters Jamie Whincup
Ford Ford Nissan Holden Ford Holden Nissan Holden Holden Ford Holden Holden Holden Holden Ford Nissan Holden Holden Nissan Holden Holden Holden Ford Holden
50 laps +1.240s +2.846s +4.237s +6.594s +10.108s +13.516s +14.155s +14.408s +16.068s +15.356s +16.435s +17.253s +18.305s +18.718s +19.027s +19.595s +20.083s +21.628s +35.987s 1m 33.067s 26 laps 21 laps 11 laps
0 0 ▲1 ▲8 ▼2 ▲3 ▼1 0 ▲5 ▼5 ▼1 ▲1 ▲ 11 ▲5 ▼4 ▲5 ▼2 ▲5 ▲1 ▲2 ▼5 ▼4 ▼ 16 ▼7
FASTEST LAP Scott McLaughlin 1m 30.9508s
RACE RESULTS RACE 10 47 LAPS
Chaz Mostert was consistent across the Phillip Island weekend, fifth both days. Todd Hazelwood qualified within the 10 but was spun on the opening lap (below).
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Fabian Coulthard Scott McLaughlin Anton De Pasquale Will Davison Chaz Mostert Cameron Waters Shane van Gisbergen Rick Kelly Tim Slade Nick Percat David Reynolds Jamie Whincup Andre Heimgartner Lee Holdsworth Scott Pye Todd Hazelwood Mark Winterbottom Simona De Silvestro Garry Jacobson Jack Le Brocq Macauley Jones James Golding Richie Stanaway James Courtney
Ford Ford Holden Ford Ford Ford Holden Nissan Holden Holden Holden Holden Nissan Ford Holden Holden Holden Nissan Nissan Holden Holden Holden Holden Holden
+1.764s 50 laps +19.620s +34.509s +20.007s +20.453s +4.819s +30.772s +14.262s +18.508s +13.616s 48 laps +33.129s +21.225s +20.955s +29.148s +5.597s +44.883s 49 laps 49 laps +40.635s +29.680s +30.248s +11.023s
▲1 ▼1 ▲1 ▲2 ▼2 ▼1 0 ▲3 ▲ 11 ▲2 ▲5 ▼2 0 ▲4 0 ▼8 ▲2 ▲5 ▲2 ▲4 ▲1 ▲4 ▼6 ▼ 15
FASTEST LAP Scott McLaughlin 1m 30.9920s Points: McLaughlin 1058, Coulthard 934, Mostert 815, van Gisbergen 802, Reynolds 791, Davison 722, Percat 703, Slade 693, Whincup 679, Winterbottom 652, Waters 592, De Pasquale 579, Courtney 571, Heimgartner 566, Holdsworth 540, Pye 520, Kelly 504, Hazelwood 496, Golding 434, De Silvestro 409, Stanaway 371, Le Brocq 352, Jacobson 305, Jones 294, Smith 69.
Carrera Cup Phillip Island Round 3
SUPER SONIC PORSCHES
ROUND THREE of Porsche PAYCE Carrera Cup Australia at Phillip Island was a Sonic Motor Racing weekend to remember. Not only did Jordan Love scoop the pool with three race wins but the team scored a onetwo-three overall result. “It doesn’t get much Chaos at turn 4 as Sam Shahin spins across the front of Warren Luff (above), better than that, pole and while Stephen Grove slips by to win the Am class. three race wins. As soon as we rolled the car out of the truck on the Friday it was in one of these cars,” Talbot said. absolutely mega,” Love said. Love continued his winning way in the shorter race His team mates Dale Wood and Michael Almond two, leading from lights to flag as Wood chased completed the podium, while TAG Heuer Pro-Am him to the line in second place. Almond completed honours went to Stephen Grove ahead of Liam Talbot a trifecta for the Sonic team, having slipped by and Anthony Gilbertson. McBride. “It was tough, and we had to fight all weekend,” “They were there the whole time but the one, two, Grove said. three for the team, it’s huge credit to them” Love said. “I don’t think I’ve done that much passing for many Luff and Cameron Hill were next ahead of Murray, years. Everybody was on their game.” Wall, Maxwell and Steve Richards filled the 10. Starting from pole position, Love made a perfect Hunt was next, rebounding from an early clash with start to the 22-lap Endurance Cup, the series within Maxwell that rotated him at turn 4. a series’ first round and opening race of round Gilbertson’s hopes of a second class win unraveled three, and gradually pulled away to win by over five early when he was slow away. While working his way seconds from Wood while Nick McBride finished back up the order, he had contact with team mate third. Miles, both spearing off at turn one. “It was good, I knew we had to get a pretty good Grove grabbed the win while Talbot, on the start, Dale is really hard to race against, so the comeback, passed Shahin late in the race to grab plan was to try and get him off the start which we second. Gilbertson recovered to eighth in class. managed to do,” said Love. Race three produced another trifecta for the Sonic “After that it was a focus on trying not to make a operation. Love again won ahead of Woods and mistake and to stay smooth and consistent to keep Almond. Love survived a race restart and pressure the tyre under us which we managed to do.” from Wood to take his fifth straight race win. The latter weathered a late onslaught from Almond Behind the dominant trio, McBride headed Wall and Warren Luff to secure the spot, while Cameron narrowly as Maxwell showed the way to Hunt, Hill was next after passing Thomas Maxwell on lap Richards, and a tight pack of Murray, Duvashen 19. Behind them came David Wall, Cooper Murray, Padayachee and Talbot. Hill was a top five prospect Josh Hunt and Steven Richards. after at the start but came off the track at turn 12, Pro Am series leader Gilbertson headed Pro Am falling down the order for an eventual 15th place throughout, scoring a comprehensive win over Sam finish. Shahin with Grove filling third spot. Almost nothing Sam Shahin and Warren Luff were non-finishers, separated the next three where Tim Miles just held off out on the first lap when Shahin was clipped by Adrian Flack and Roger Lago. Grove after turn 3. Luff was in the way as the out-of“The car was really good, a little light in the rear control Shahin contacted the Pro class contender at around Honda in the first sort of five laps or so, but I turn 4. was able to deal with it well,” Gilbertson said. In taking Pro-Am, Talbot took his fourth class win of “It came on really well in the second half of the race, the season. He quickly worked his way to the front the times were pretty consistent.” and chased several Pro contenders in the run to Fastest qualifier Liam Talbot failed to make the start the flag. Grove was second across the line in class due to a broken CV joint. ahead of Gilbertson, Flack, Lago and Miles. “It was strange, something no-one had seen before Garry O’Brien .
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TCM Phillip Island Round 2 THIS YEAR’S Paynter Dixon Touring Car Masters has produced the perfect start for Steven Johnson. The Ford Mustang driver is undefeated in his bid for a third straight title. “I know we have won before but never like this. We have always had a steady start to the year,” Johnson said, despite his Ford Mustang suffering front end stability “Because the cars are basically still standard in the front end, they do get wobble and it gets worse. There was so much shake, I literally couldn’t see the start lights.” Johnson took the overall points – and Pro Masters – ahead of Chev Camaro drivers Adam Bressington and Ryal Harris, with John Bowe fourth in his Holden Torana A9X. Next and first in Pro Am was Bruce Williams (Torana SL/R 5000) ahead of class rival Jim Pollicina (A9X) and Pro Sports winner Jeremy Gray, debuting his Ford Capri Perana. In his first race in TCM, Thomas Randle (Mustang) put in a stunning drive from 21st to win the Dometic Trophy race. Second went to Bressington who had to battle hard to get past initial race leader Tony Karanfilovski (Mustang), before having a great stoush with Gray. Karanfilovski finished the race fourth behind Gray, and ahead of Williams, Pollicina, Rob Hackwood (Pontiac Trans Am) and Cameron Mason (Mustang). Harris was at the pointy end early on, but dramatic steering issues caused a ball joint failure and one destroyed tyre. He failed to finish as did Marcus Zukanovic, whose XD Ford Falcon lost its coolant. Also out was Al Boughen in the popular Mercury Comet after it fried its front tyres and Ryan Hansford (A9X) called it quits late in the race. Not starting were Andrew Fisher (Falcon XY) with engine issues all weekend, and Gary O’Brien whose HQ Holden was undergoing a gearbox rebuild. Race four in the series went safety car on the opening lap when Rob Hackwood crashed his Pontiac Trans Am between turns two and three. The damage to the tyre barrier meant that the race was red flagged and declared a non-event. In race five Johnson initially battled with Randle. They ran side-by-side to turn 1 where the latter grabbed the lead. At the beginning of lap two Johnson took the front running, and a lap later it was back to Randle. Then Randle had a right front tyre let go and he was out. Third placed Hansford ran off at turn 1 with a fuel regulator failure, just before Geoff Emery (A9X) came unglued at turn eight, tagged Karanfilovski, and left Williams nowhere to go. The Mustang had no drive and briefly the Torana sat on its mudguard. Bressington was second by this stage and when the race resumed, bolted away leaving a stunned Johnson to chase him down. Two laps from the end Johnson pulled off a thrilling around-the-outside move at turn eight to take the lead into turn nine for the win. “I thought the rule was that the race leader controlled the restart and thought he would be penalised,” said Johnson. Bressington believed the rule with double file restarts was that once the green flag was shown, racing resumed, and there was noone in front of him. Third went to Harris ahead of Bowe.
JOHNSON CONTINUES PERFECT RUN
Steve Johnson made the perfect start to TCM 2019 (above) while Bruce Williams (left) won Pro AM, after a count back from Cam Mason. drivers Williams, Hansford and Pollicina clashed at turn 9. Hansford was loose and while Williams avoided contact, Pollicina saw an oppurtunity but instead made heavy contact with Williams and then Hansford with Williams coming off worse. Over the concluding laps, Pollicina was further embroiled in a dogged fight with Gray and they crossed the line fifth and sixth, line astern and ahead of Harris, Hansford, Williams and Mason. Afterwards Bressington and Pollicina were penalised and repositioned to fifth and 11th. Garry O’Brien Pollicina was third for a period until he spun off on oil left at the Hayshed. His team mate Emery crossed the line fifth but was penalised 10s post-race for a starting infringement. That moved Mason to fifth ahead of Williams, Cameron Tilley (Valiant Pacer), Boughen in his best result, Paul Freestone (Camaro) and Gray who lost a bonnet pin and several places. Johnson led from lights to flag to take race six. Initially Harris held second before Bressington slipped past. Bowe also relegated Harris as Williams picked up two spots to head Tilley and Mason. Randle was on a big charge, moving ahead of Mason on the second lap and picking off another spot when Tilley retired with a badly flat-spotted front tyre. Then O’Brien speared off backwards at turn 2 which required a safety car period. Johnson consolidated in front as Bressington came under fire from Randle, who moved to third when Bowe had a wheel lock-up at turn nine. Randle applied the pressure to the Camaro driver but ran wide at the Hayshed when the two touched. Randle resumed behind Bressington and ahead of Bowe. Meanwhile the Torana
Rob Hackwood brought out the safety car with this crash. Images: Insyde Media, Ross Gibb & Rebecca Hind.
Super 3/Toyota 86 Phillip Island Round 1
BEST BESTS SUPER 3 ROOKIES
MWM teammates Zak Best and Hamish Ribarits went 1-2 for the round.
A NEW era for third tier 16-year-old Broc Supercars racing began Feeney won the first at Philip Island, with Zak Super3 race of the season on debut. Best claiming the opening round honours in the newly renamed Super 3 series, with a victory and two third places. There were three race winners in the opening round, Hamish Ribarits claimed the final victory and second for the round. the second youngest winner in the Kumho Broc Feeney rounded out the podium, Series after Alex Rullo. The Formula Ford having claimed the first win of the season. graduate was close at the line just 0.25s At the race start Feeney bogged down initially, but a good second phase of the start behind, while Best finished third. On the line for Race 2 Feeney burned the meant that he was able to take the lead out clutch and hardly moved away as the light of Turn 1. went out, the field scattering around the The front trio of Feeney, Ribarits and Best gapped the rest of the pack early in the race Toyota 86 graduate. Mark Tracey clipped running nose to tail. Feeney, firing Tracey into the side of Race 1 Kumho class winner Garry Hills, who then Ribarits was staying right behind the 16year old as they left 2018 series runner up sustained damage after hitting the wall. The Safety Car was called, Feeney Best behind with a handful of laps to go. returned to the lane with a flat tyre, but was Feeney didn’t flinch, despite maximum able to rejoin the back of the train for the pressure from Ribarits behind, to become
restart. Best made initial start to take the lead and on the restart Ribarits, trying to keep up with Best, locked up and lost second position. The young Victorian would drop further back as the race progressed, finishing sixth ahead of Feeney, who recovered to a finish seventh. In the end Best took the win from teammate Nic Carroll, while Matt Powers beat Ojeda to third after a race long battle and Chris Smerdon took the Kumho class honours. In Race 3 both Feeney and Ribarits made great starts and were right on the gearbox of Best by Turn 1.
On lap 2 Feeney tried a move at MG with the rears locked, and just pulled it up as the pair ran side by side. In jostling for position Ribarits was able to take second off Feeney into the final turn. Ribarits tried Feeney’s move at MG and make it stick, on lap 4 Feeney also took Best and this was the way it stayed. Ribarits crused to a 4.2s lead from Feeney and Best, while it was Jim Pollicina who took the final race and round honours in the Kumho class, having stayed out of trouble all weekend and collecting solid points in each race. Dan McCarthy
BROOK’S STRONG START TO TITLE DEFENCE TIM BROOK has started the defense of his Toyota 86 title strongly, claiming a race victory and two second places to win the opening round of the season at Philip Island. Guest driver Garth Tander finished the round in second accumulating three top three finishes, while rounding out the podium was Declan Fraser who claimed the final race win of the weekend. Brook started alongside the three time Bathurst 1000 champion, making an even start. Behind, Jake Burton made a great start from fourth to take second at Turn 1, with Tander fighting back on lap 2 to reclaim second. Jake Klein flew off the circuit backwards at Turn 1 after contact with the car of Lachlan Gibbons, who quickly made his way through the field easing past everyone including the 2007 Supercars Champion. This set up an exciting last lap battle for the lead, but Brook was able to hold on by 0.2s. After the race however, Gibbons received a 30 second penalty for the incident with Klein and as a result finished 29th. On Sunday conditions had changed, with a big head wind into Turn 1, which
Tim Brook continued where he left off from last season, winning the opening round of the Toyota 86 series. Guest driver Garth Tander was a contender throughout (below).
created lots of slipstreaming overtakes. In Race 2 Tander took the lead around the outside at Turn 1, his lead lasting for a single lap before both Brook and Jaden Ransley breezed past down the pit straight. On the following lap New Zealander Ransley slipstreamed by Brook like he was standing still. Despite the
constant overtakes the trio gapped the rest of the field by 2.2 seconds. In the dying laps the intensity rose and Tander got in the mix, at one stage the leaders ran three wide out of Honda. On the penultimate lap Brook had to hold off GT which allowed Ransley to edge away, the Kiwi holding on to win by 0.5s from
Brook and Tander. It was another even start on the front row in Race 3, however Ransley was shuffled back through the pack and by the end of lap 1 sat fourth behind Brook, Fraser and Tander. On the second lap Fraser took the lead off Brook, the top three taking off into the distance, while the battle for fourth turned ugly. On the penultimate lap Liam McAdam touched Jarrod Whitty, which spun him into the side of Ransley. Whitty continued through the gravel and finished 23rd, while Ransley’s race finished ended there. Although McAdam finished sixth he was given a 30 second penalty, demoting him to 29th. Further ahead things were more peaceful with Fraser holding on to win the race from Brook and Tander. DMcC
ROSSI DOMINATES LONG BEACH
ALEXANDER ROSSI has taken a lights-to-flag victory on the streets of Long Beach, comfortably winning his second consecutive victory on the historic course. Rossi defeated Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden by 20s after leading 80 of the 85 laps, while reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon rounded out the podium; a mistake from Will Power meant he finished seventh. Dixon pressurised Rossi off the start but before the race had even completed a lap a caution was called, due to a collision between Spencer Pigot, Marcus Ericsson and Jack Harvey, while Matheus Leist was forced to pit to replace the front wing after getting involved in the melee. Ericsson was handed a drive through penalty for the incident. The restart occurred on lap 4 with Dixon again pressing Rossi for the lead, but much like at the
start of the race, the door was comprehensively slammed. The gap at the front grew to 1.5s, but Rossi and Dixon were still matching each other’s lap times, setting fastest laps consistently, which left Power 3s behind in third. In turn, Power held a 2s margin over his teammate Newgarden, who led the chasing pack. As the first pit stops approached Rossi made a late burst on his red tyres to extend his lead to 4s, while Power was now becoming an increasing threat to Dixon’s second place as he kept pace with the Kiwi, within 3s. On new red tyres, Rossi grew his margin to 7s, while to add further pain for Dixon, Power was now closing in until the pit stops were taken by the leaders on lap 26. Rossi and Dixon changed to the primary tyres, leaving Power briefly in the lead until he stopped next time around.
INDYCAR Newgarden made the biggest gain during the pit stops, jumping both Power and Dixon, with the Kiwi losing ground to both Team Penske drivers. Dixon disposed of Power when he was held up by Jack Harvey, his engine lagged from overboost, giving Dixon enough invitation to slide down the inside at Turn 1. But an error from Power meant he missed his braking mark and went down the escape road, re-joining in seventh. Rossi was now 10s in front as the battle for second heated up between Newgarden and Dixon as the final pit stops took place. Rossi had been
TRUEX TRIUMPHANT IN RICHMOND MARTIN TRUEX Jr. claimed his first race victory of the season at Richmond Raceway, holding off Joey Logano in the closing laps. Stage 1 was dominated by Kyle Busch who, after starting fourth, took the lead off Kevin Harvick on lap 32. A competition caution was thrown on lap 41, so that teams could check tyre degradation after overnight rain. Every car on the lead lap elected to pit, with Busch leaving the pits first ahead of Harvick and Joey Logano. In the final laps of Stage 1 Busch maintained a 1.5 second gap to the cars behind, taking the first stage from Logano, Truex and Harvick, remaining in that order after the end of stage stops. On lap 127 Kyle Larson had delaminating tyre, which spun him into the Turn 1 wall, resulting in a Safety Car. All the leaders elected to pit, Busch was caught speeding in the lane and had to restart from the rear of the grid. This left Truex leading Logano and Harvick on the restart, which was the way it stayed until the final five laps of the stage, when Logano caught and passed Truex for the
lead. Harvick again finishing third, and this is the way they stayed as they left the pits between the stages. On lap 243 Michael McDowell had a tyre go down throwing him into the wall and bringing out a caution. After the restart Keselowski made his way from third into the lead. With 120 laps to go Kyle Busch had recovered from the penalty to sit fifth. Just before the green flag pit stops took place, Keselowski’s pace fell away and as a result he lost the lead to Truex and second to Clint Bowyer.
The final stops began on lap 315 and over the next eight laps all cars pitted, at the conclusion of which Truex led Bowyer, Logano and Harvick. With 20 laps to go Bowyer and Logano closed on Truex, but he made a mistake hitting the wall with 13 laps to go. With four laps to go Logano overtook the now struggling Bowyer for second, but despite his best efforts Logano could not take the win off Truex. Bowyer finished third, ahead of Harvick and Denny Hamlin. Keselowski finished seventh with Kyle Busch eighth.
burnt by a late-race Safety Car two weeks ago at CoTA and wasn’t going to let that happen this time, as he pitted on lap 56, as did Dixon. It was a disaster for Dixon, though, his fuel coupling failing to connect properly handing second to Newgarden. First and second had a drama-free run to the finish, but Dixon had to charge. It was made easier when Ryan Hunter-Reay went into ‘full emergency fuel-save mode’, but Graham Rahal was determined, maybe too determined, as he blocked Dixon and was deemed to have done so
Martin Truex celebrates his win at Richmond, where he was chased home by Joey Lagano.
IMSA THE CADILlAC pairing of Filipe Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa took victory in the 100 minute race IMSA series race at Long Beach. Alburquerque and Barbosa held off both Penske Acuras, all three cars separated by 1.8s at the finishing line. The #7 Acura driven by Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor finished just 0.7s seconds off the win, with the #6 Acura driven by Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron a further 1.1s behind. The Mazda driven by Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez finished fourth, but the sister
car wasn’t so lucky, finishing two laps down thanks to a front wing change and a brief mechanical issue. The Nissan failed to complete a lap after contact with the wall. In the GTLM class, it was Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor who took the win in their Porsche 911 RSR ahead of both the Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs, Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia beating Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner. Sebastien Bourdais and Dirk Muller finished fourth in their Ford GT.
too severely elevating the Chip Ganassi driver to third. The win bought up an amazing milestone for the Andretti Autosport team, as an elated Rossi reflected on a dominating display. “You never think (you’ll dominate the race),” said Rossi post-race. “We knew it was going to be a really hardfought battle. “This is the 200th win for Andretti Autosport, so what better way to do it than in that type of fashion here at Long Beach (and) here in California. I have a great car and a great crew behind me. I couldn’t do it without them,
so hats off to them. I just found out my grandfather died yesterday, so I wanted to dedicate this (win) to him and obviously Michael (Andretti) for 200th win.” The previous weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, Takuma Sato took a comfortable victory ahead of Newgarden and Dixon. IndyCar now heads to the Indianapolis Road Course on May 11 for the fifth round. Points: Newgarden 166, Rossi 138, Dixon 133, Sato 116, Hunter-Reay 96, Power 93, Hinchcliffe 93, Bourdais 91, Rahal 90, Herta 88.
JOSH COOK leads Tom Chilton in the British Touring Car Championship by four points after the first race weekend at the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit. Cook excelled in Round 1, choosing slicks in mixed conditions, which caused him to drop position early in the race but then he charged through the field to win the first race ahead of Jake Hill and Tom Chilton. Round 2 was won by Andrew Jordan in the new BMW 330i, the 2013 Champion cruising through the pack from 15th on the grid to eventually win by 9.7s from Ash Sutton and Adam Morgan.
Rory Butcher inherited his first BTCC victory in the final race of the weekend, after Chilton received a five second post-race penalty. Chilton had been seen to have gained an advantage after contact with Matt Neal, but despite the penalty he still finished the race in second position. “We need to qualify a bit higher because when you’re at the front it’s most definitely easier. We’ve got the speed and the race-craft. We can do it,” Butcher said, reflecting on the weekend. Stephen Jelley finished third and stood on his first BTCC podium since 2009.
WTCR THE 2019 World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) got underway in Morocco, with Thed Bjork claiming two podiums and a 6th place finish to lead the series. The first race of the weekend was won by Esteban Guerrieri in a Honda Civic Type R. Bjork sat behind the Argentinean for the duration of the race but could not get passed. Guerrieri holding on by 0.6s at the line from Bjork, and Guerrieri’s teammate Nestor Girolami. Defending champion Gabrielle Tarquini claimed the reverse grid race after Nicky Catsburg crashed out of the lead. After the Hyundai i30 N was
removed from the barriers, Tarquini made a break on the restart and further extended that lead to take the win ahead of Jean-Karl Vernay and Yann Ehrlacher. Bjork won a chaotic final race after teammate and team boss Yvan Muller dropped out of the lead with a mechanical failure. Late in the race Vernay appeared to suffer brake failure, running down the run off area, resulting in the race finishing under Safety Car. Bjork cruised across the line ahead of Frederic Vervisch and WTCR rookie Mikel Azcona in a Cupra.
Mitch Evans scored his first-ever Formula E victory in convincing style.
EVANS TAKES MAIDEN EPRIX VICTORY NEW ZEALANDER Mitch Evans has claimed his maiden Formula E victory at the Rome ePrix in Italy, in doing so the Jaguar driver becomes the seventh winner in seven races. Evans beating Andre Lotterer to the line by 0.9s in a closely fought battle for the win, the Kiwi’s victory giving Jaguar its first in the series and making it the seventh team to win this season as well. Former McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne claimed his first podium in the series. The race began in damp but drying conditions. Lotterer, who took pole position from Evans, led into the first turn that was the way it stayed. In the opening laps Jose Maria Lopez was involved in several incidents. Starting from third he made a poor start and immediately dropped behind Vandoorne and Sebastien Jean-Eric Vergne crashed out on the streets of Rome in an incident that red flagged the race.
Buemi, then trying to regain positions the Argentine out braked himself into turn 1 and plummeted down the order to 11th. Moments later Lopez made a move on championship contender Sam Bird, rotating the Brit into the wall, forcing Bird to limp back to the pits, before recovering to finish 11th. With 42 minutes to go Lopez lost the rear, hit the wall at 18 and with the rear across the track got hit by Gary Paffett and JeanEric Vergne. The incident blocked the track and caused a red flag. Before the green flag restarted the race, half of the field chose to use Attack Mode the highest place car was Robin Frijns in fifth. Nineteen minutes remained in the race when Evans took his first use of Attack
Mode, and then with one minute remaining he caught the back of Lotterer, looking on the outside at Turn 9 and again at Turn 10. Evans got a great exit and was able to cut back up the inside, taking the lead with a robust move into Turn 11. The overtake allowed Vandoorne to close in and have a look at the vulnerable German but it was to no avail. With eight minutes of the race remaining, Lotterer took his final use of Attack Mode, Lotterer now right back on the tail of Evans,
but the Kiwi stayed ahead despite Lotterer having the power boost. Once the German’s Attack Mode ran out, Evans was able to cruise to the line to win his first Formula E race and his first race win since GP2 in 2016. The Championship fight remains close as most of the leading contenders failed to score solid points in Italy. The top four in the standings are separated by as many points, with Belgian Jerome d’Ambrosio who finished eighth reclaiming the championship lead by a solitary point over Antonio Felix da Costa, while Lotterer jumps into third. POINTS: d’Ambrosio 65, da Costa 64, Lotterer 62, Evans 61, di Grassi 58, Frijns 55, Vergne 54, Bird 54, Mortara 52, Abt 44
The debut for the Toyota Gazoo Racing team couldn’t have gone much better, with Harry Bates taking a resounding victory in WA.
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HARRY BATES GAZOOS THE OPPOSITION HARRY BATES and John McCarthy dominated the opening round of the Australian Rally Championship, the Forest Rally in Busselton, Western Australia. The pair won both heats, plus the bonus point for winning the most stages during the rally, taking 13 of a possible 18 stage victories. Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia in fact recorded a one-two on debut, as Bates’ younger brother Lewis and co-driver Lewis Bates backed up his older brother to take second Anthony McLoughlin finished second in in both heats. both heats. The elder Bates was in a class of his own over six minutes off the pace. all weekend, claiming eight of the 10 stage Ford Fiesta competitors Richie Dalton and victories that made up the first heat ahead of Dale Moscatt were running well in the first Lewis, who was making his debut in the AP4 heat, before suffering a battery failure. But Yaris, by 29.9s. thanks to the demise of Taylor and Read, Tom Wilde and Madelin Kirkhouse rounded they recovered to be running third before out the top three for the opening heat in a Dalton rolled on Stage 16. Both escaped Subaru Impreza WRX STI, winning the ninth unhurt but the accident was enough to end stage of the day. Just behind Wilde and the rally for the pair. Kirkhouse were Molly Taylor and Malcolm As a result, Windus and Brick inherited Read in the factory Subaru Impreza WRX third, finishing the final couple of stages STI, finishing the day 58.4s off the leaders. trouble free, only 34.9s behind the heat Former ARC title winning team Activ Rally winners. Sport fielded four cars in the opening rally. Bates and McCarthy leave Western Two suffered mechanical failures in the first Australia with the maximum 81-points, heat but Darren Windus and Daniel Brick leading teammates Bates and McLoughlin finished an impressive fifth in another Subaru by 13-points. Windus and Brick sit level third WRX STI. with Wilde and Kirkhouse on 52-points, while The Bates brothers once again dominated Taylor and Read are a further six-points back the second heat, with Bates and McCarthy level with John O’Dowd and Toni Feaver in edging out Bates and McLoughlin by 12.9s. the 2018 championship winning Skoda Fabia Taylor and Read showed signs of good R5. speed and ran as high as second before The next round is the first of the one day mechanical issues dropped them from third sprint events, the National Capital Rally in to sixth by the day’s end, eventually finishing Canberra, on May 11. .
Former ARC frontrunner Tom Wilde proved to be the leading Subaru contender in his home rally.
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s w e n Y A SPEEDW Image: Geoff Rounds
AMERICA AWAITS Darren Mollenoyux after a victory in the final SRA round at Warrnambool was a real confidence-booster for his first US trip in four years. “We’ve been pretty quick here all year but to get one in the books (is good). We’re going to pack our equipment up and head to America to do Ohio and PA Speedweek, so we might assess it and if we have enough bits still lying around, we might run back here on Easter Sunday but we’ll have to have a look at that.” IT WAS an emotional win for Ricky Mills who finally captured his first Victorian Division 2 Hot Rod Championship held at Bairnsdale Speedway. Mills, who started the title race from third position, took the lead on lap 19 of the 25-lap race to defeat Leigh Burkett, with defending champion Scott Laidlaw in third. “Thanks Bob Callanan for the opportunity to race his car and all the others drivers for welcoming me back in the class to have one last run for dad,” Mills said.
Image: Ray Ritter
CARUSO THE ALL STAR CHAMP Image: Nelson Photography
SOME RARE history was made in the 2019 Grand Prix Midget Australian Championship when Rod Saville became just the third driver to have the honour of winning three titles in the same season. Saville from Goulburn completed the triple crown of winning the NSW, Victorian and national titles in the same season, joining Lester Appleton (1997) and Ashley Booker (2012 & 2014) as the only drivers to accomplish the feat. Until his recent 2019 win in the 42nd running of the prestigious race, it had been 24 years since Saville’s last national title victory. He grabbed the lead on lap 11 and defeated Jason Crawford, Steve Bennett, Gary Bowyer and Paul Perry during the 20-lap race at Wangaratta Speedway. LINDSAY TROTTER proved too good and won the 2019 Victorian Limited Sportsman title at Western Speedway in Hamilton. The Laang Speedway member beat home Darren Adams of Bairnsdale, Chris Ansell of Hamilton and Dillon Siely of Bairnsdale. JOSH BUCKINGHAM made the long trip to Tolmer Speedway, Bordertown and came away with the South Australian Formula 500 Championship. The Geelong racer defeated SA driver Angelo Karoussis and multiple state champion Chris Bellman, just ahead of his brother Dion and Jordan Mansell was fifth. Further north at Narrabri Speedway, Lachlan Caunt greeted the chequered flag first ahead of his father Steve and Nathan Pryor to win the NSW Formula 500 title. KLINTON HANCEY had a perfect night on his way to winning the Modlites South Australian title at Murray Bridge Speedway. The star Queensland racer set a new one lap record and was untroubled on the night, to led home fellow Queenslanders Trevor Leerventveld and Sam Gollschewsky. Hancey’s win adds to the Victorian title he won earlier in the year at Portland Speedway. Image: Ray Ritter
FOR THE second time in his career Mark Caruso has been crowned the Australian Sprintcar All Stars series champion. Caruso clinched victory in the 12 round series with a third placing in the final round behind race winner Brenten Farrer. He only had to start the A-Main to win the series and did so by 93 points after the final race was run. Brendan Guerin was second with Michael Tancredi in third, 200 points behind the winner, with veteran All Stars driver Phil Lock another 61 points back. It is Caruso’s first tournament win since 2011 and is some redemption after last year’s heartbreak when he finished second overall, losing only in a countback after tying with Paul Solomon. This season has been so very different for Caruso. He stood on the podium five times and was a one-time winner and set quicktime on five occasions.
All Stars Final Standings: Mark Caruso 5963, Brendan Guerin 5870, Michael Tancredi 5763, Phil Lock 5702, James Wren 5652, Dan Evans 5578.
CHADWICK IS CHAMPION AGAIN FORMER NATIONAL Wingless Sprints champion Joel Chadwick has returned to the winner’s circle, clinching victory in the New South Wales title. Chadwick put the pain of a disappointing Australian championship earlier in 2019 behind him and put in another patient drive to win ahead of runner-up Kyle Mock. It was a heartbreaking night for Luke Storer, who led all but two laps of the feature race after starting from pole only to have a front right radius rod let go in the closing stages, which forced him to settle for third place. A week earlier Storer travelled to the Perth Motorplex to contest the Silver Cup aboard the Travis Clark-owned car and there he reigned supreme. He went flag-to-flag and won by nearly four seconds clear from WA’s Brad Fitzgerald and Matt Iwanow, who both rounded out the podium. FURTHUR SOUTH at Simpson Speedway it was a return to the Wingless Sprint competition by Sam Wren who is a 410 Sprintcar regular. He came out on top in the annual Peter Merrett Memorial, followed by another 410 Sprintcar regular
“What a well-deserved result for Mark and his team. After last season’s heartbreak for the entire team, it was a great way to finish,” Searle said. “They have been fast and consistent all season and their hard work has finally paid off.” Series runner-up Guerin of Broken Hill only planned to do a few races but showed speed and consistency throughout the entire season, and after strong early season results decided to continue, while Tancredi’s third overall had him on the podium four times but a couple of DNFs hurt his points aggregate
Image: Gary Reid
in Tim Van Ginneken, while Clint McLaren rounded out the podium. Also at Simpson former Australian Formula 500 champion Jess Moulden got her series campaign off to the best possible start, first home in the Ladies of the Dirt Series with Carly Walsh second after her first open win a week prior, and third went to popular and busy speedway mum Renae Eastham. IN THE final round of the Tasmanian State Series at Carrick Speedway it would be current and three-time Tasmanian Champion Luke Redpath emerging victorious from Brad Whitchurch and Troy
Image: Gary Reid
RAYMONT WINS THE NATIONALS
HARPER AND PASCOE TOO GOOD
IT MIGHT have taken three days but the wait was worth it for Aidan Raymont when he was eventually crowned the winner of the T-Bar Nationals at Toowoomba Speedway. The two-night event stretched into three days when rain hit the venue, with the reigning Queensland Modified Sedan champion Raymont off the front row with the muchtravelled Victorian Kye Walters for the 35-lap decider. It was a flat-line score sheet with Raymont leading every lap while the rapid mover through the field was Ty Galley from Victoria, who started on the fourth row, but moved into second place on lap 11. In the end though Raymont had a four-car length lead over Galley and Jake Drewett, who had a great battle for the minor placings.
Raymont’s recent win is his fifth feature victory of the season that includes the rich 2019 Kings Royal. He is now focusing on adding another national championship to his impressive resume later this month at Kingaroy Speedway in Queensland. The defending Modified Sedans national champion is Tickford driver Cam Waters, who has made the decision to compete at the event and aim for consecutive titles. Waters will once again pair up with car owner Travis Shore and drive a brand new FGX Ford Falcon at the April 26 race meeting, exciting Kingaroy club officials. DANIEL SIMPSON recorded the biggest win of his career with victory in the Victorian Modified Sedan Title at Blue Ribbon Raceway, Horsham.
In a race of ever changing fortunes and of attrition, Simpson would defeat Brody Chrystie and Darren Cockerill. The 35-lap feature race was turned on its head twice in the concluding stages, with former champion Martin Hawson retiring with electrical issues with four laps remaining while leading, handing the lead to Simpson. NATHAN PENN has become the 2018/2019 Western Australia Modified Sedan Series Champion by virtue of a runner up finish in the final round held at the Moora Speedway in the Central Midlands region of Western Australia. Penn defeated race winner Matt Noakes by just two points in the series standings, with Noakes claiming the feature race win. It was the fourth feature race-win of the season for Noakes. Brendan Fraser was third.
VOSBERGEN’S EMOTIONAL VICTORY BRENT VOSBERGEN honoured his legendary late grandfather Bert in the best possible way, grabbing victory in the 2019 WA Late Model Championship. Vosbergen’s win sees him join Bert, a seventime Super Sedan State Champion who passed away in March and father Craig, who is a two-time WA Late Model Champion. Craig and Brent become the first father-son duo to win the WA Late Model Championship. At the Perth Motorplex Vosbergen was all class all night, setting the fastest time overall in qualifying, winning a heat and then coming second in the other, to set up a front row start. He then led most of the 30-lap feature to claim the win from Marc Giancola and Warren Oldfield. “Well, where do I begin. WA number one has a good ring to it. I couldn’t have made it here without my hero,
Image: Richard Hathaway
my dad,” Vosbergen said. “I seemed to have my Pop on board with me too - it was the best feeling I’ve had. The car was unreal and the track was awesome. Nothing went wrong at all. They all say when it’s your night, it’s your night and it definitely went our way. Pop would have been screaming. I think we could hear him from here. It was worth it to see my family, crew and
my father’s emotions after the race.” Vosbergen heaped praise on his father and dedicated the win to his number one supporter. “The amount this man does for me cannot be said in words and I wouldn’t be here without him. Two weeks ago we had a wrecked racecar and now we are WA1, it just shows dreams come true and what can happen with hard work.”
TASMANIAN STAR Callum Harper has added another state championship to his racing resume with a dominant win in the Victorian 2019 Super Sedan Championship. The reigning Australian Super Sedan Champion blitzed the field at Moama’s Heartland Raceway and sent an ominous warning to all those contesting the Australian Championship at the same venue this Easter. It was third time lucky to run the event after Rushworth Speedway had to cancel due to track conditions, before the event moved to Premier Speedway, where rain washed the event out. Ash Bergmeier was a solid second ahead of Ryan Alexander but the other surprise was the struggles of the pre-event fancies Mick Nicola, Dave Gartner and Peter Nicola. Mick Nicola was the last classified runner and way out of sorts while Gartner had run up front early before fading to 13th. If not for a couple of caution periods Harper would have won by well over half a lap - the lead that he had on the field at mid-race. AT LISMORE Speedway Matt Pascoe was the eventual winner of the Golden Jubilee 50 lap Super Sedan feature, after superb battle with Wayne Randall. The pair turned on a brilliant display of Speedway driving and finished ahead of third-placed Sean Black.
Image: Ray Ritter
FARR KNOWS HIS USC WITHOUT DOUBT Robbie Farr has had one of his best years in Australian Speedway and now he’s added another major win to his sensational season. Finishing six times on the podium helped him win back-to-back South Australian Ultimate Sprintcar Championships. In the seven rounds Farr grabbed six placings during the SA USC events, all held at the popular Murray Bridge Speedway. In the end Farr finished on 1184 points from final round winner Matt Egel (1142) and Luke Dillon in third overall on 1108. Farr crisscrossed from his Gold Coast base with crew chief Nick Speed and their ECP team so often they nearly became SA citizens. Along the way they also won the USA versus Australia race and on his two most recent performances in SA he netted an historic win in the inaugural “60 for 60 for 60” $15,000 to win affair last month. He then finished second in the USC Ultimate Speedway Challenge with distinction in two other classes - the Speedcars and Late Models - where he finished runner-up in the Speedcar in a bid to win an historic $100,000 bounty. Final USC SA Standings: Farr 1184, Egel 1142, Dillon 1108, Pestka 1058, Jones 1056, Caruso 1036, Walker 1008, Keller 944, Pitt 898, Sullivan 878.
p ra w S L A N NATIO
AMRS HEADS NORTH THREE OF the regular Australian Motor Racing Series categories went to Morgan Park on April 6-7 where TA2, RX8 and F3 were joined by Queensland-based Production Sports and Touring Cars.
TA2 MUSCLE CARS
FOR THE second round in a row, Aaron Seton has topped the points. In a Ford Mustang he qualified fastest and won three of the four races. In the first two, he won ahead of George Miedecke and Russell Wright, also in Mustangs, while Ashley Jarvis (Chev Camaro) and Nathan Herne (Dodge Challenger) battled for fourth and fifth. The second race was interrupted by a lengthy safety car when Tim Tritton crashed his Chev Camaro heavily out of turn 3. Drew Ridge (Mustang) stopped with an alternator failure and Anthony Tenkate (Mustang) spun at turn 6 on the final lap, due to a flat tyre. Miedecke offered a strong challenge to Seton in race three until a deflating tyre dropped him to eighth while Herne improved to second. Herne squeezed in front of the points leader into the first corner of race four, before holding off Seton for the remainder. Meanwhile Miedecke recovered to finish third. This race was marred by a red-flag stoppage on the opening lap, after a first-corner collision between Tenkate, Cameron Sendall (Camaro) and Shaun Richardson (Mustang).
FORMULA 3 RACING SERIES
JOHN MAGRO’S winning streak continued, the R-Tek Motorsport Dallara F311 driver adding another three at the second round. In race one, Richard Peasey (Gilmour Racing F307) beat Magro off the start, and held the lead for seven of the 10 laps, until a slight mistake at turn 10 enabled Magro to slip through. Peasey’s team-mate Josh Buchan was third. Magro lost out to Peasey at the start of race two
Images: Trapnell Creations
also, remaining a close second before the safety car was deployed due to Reilly Brook (Mygale M07) stopped at turn 1. At the resumption, Magro pounced on Peasey at turn 6, and pulled away to win. Magro was never headed in race three, finishing 15.5s ahead of Peasey. Buchan started slowly and while recovering, made contact (pictured above) with Shane Wilson (F311). While Wilson was out, Buchan continued on to take third. In the National Class Gerif Ruff (F304) won over Roman Krumins (307) in races one and two, before Krumins pulled off a last lap passing move on Ruff in the last.
MAZDA RX8 CUP
NEW ZEALANDER Aaron Prosser bounced back from a difficult first round by winning round two ahead of
BUTCHER CARVES UP VEES
Terry Lewis and Stephen McLaine. In Race 1, Prosser was initially challenged by Will Harris before he spun at turn 2, allowing Ben Silvestro into second place ahead of Lewis. Prosser drove to an unchallenged win from Silvestro in race two. After struggling with brake issues, points leader McLaine salvaged a third-place ahead of Lewis and Harris. Prosser sealed his first round win with victories in races three and four, holding off Lewis and Harris. Silvestro’s day ended with brake failure and wall contact at turn 4 in race three.
QLD PRODUCTION SPORTS
OVERCOMING THE challengers, Wayne Hennig (Porsche 911) recorded a clean sweep of wins. Hennig narrowly held out Jeff Hume (Ginetta) in the opening race, after polesitter John Prefontaine (Lotus) retired with a tyre issue on the warmup lap. Steve McFadden (Porsche) was also inside the top three, before a spin dropped him well down the order as Graham Lusty brought his Mosler home in third. In race two Hennig again withstood pressure from Hume in the early laps. McFadden charged through the field and was challenging Hennig until he had another spin at turn 2. Hume was eventually
QLD TOURING CARS
HOLDENS DRIVERS dominated the QTCC second round with Steve Hay (VK Commodore) scoring a pair of comprehensive race victories on Saturday. Engine problems the next day for Hay allowed Brett Kennedy (VT Commodore) to score the other two wins. Kennedy and Bailey Hall (VE Commodore) battled intently throughout the early races, with the former winning both contests. Pierz Harrex (BMW E30) was fourth in both races with Matthew Haak surviving a clutch problem to score a pair of top-five finishes in his VL Commodore. Kennedy’s two wins on Sunday came ahead of Chris Sharples (Monaro). Hall was third in race three, but retired which allowed Harrex to take third.
WARREN TURNS BACK THE CLOCK IN SPORTS GT Image: Insyde Media
NSW FORMULA Vee driver Stephen Butcher started his 2019 Australian Formula Vee Series campaign on an almost perfect note at the Supercars support race at Symmons Plains. With only three of the four races over the weekend carrying series points, Butcher (Stinger) was out to make amends for last year, scoring two wins and a second, though was made to fight hard for every podium. Butcher won the first race by 0.01s from Simon Pace (Checkmate), whose son Aaron Pace (Jacer) claimed the second race victory on the Saturday morning ahead of Butcher. The third 12-lapper on the Saturday afternoon was a tight affair, Butcher scoring the narrowest of victories, winning by 0.8s over Tasmanian driver Wade McLean (Elliott), with third giving Aaron Pace second for the round.
sidelined, allowing McFadden to finish second ahead of Prefontaine. Hennig was in a close contest with Hume, McFadden and Prefontaine in race three. Prefontaine eventually retired and McFadden spun at the last corner, while Hume chased Hennig all the way to the end. Hume did not start the last but Hennig was challenged by McFadden, before a spin at turn 2. He recovered to finish second, and Lachlan Harburg made it an all-Porsche top three.
Butcher was delighted by his victory and looking forward to a better series this year. “I had a terrible series last year with crashes and engine blow-ups, but this year’s has started brilliantly for me – even in my state series too, when I won all three races at the opening round at Wakefield Park,” he said. Butcher said he kept an eye on the points for the round, knowing he had to beat Aaron Pace in the third and final race to secure the victory. “I knew whoever finished in front in the last race would win the round, so a good start was critical and luckily mine was brilliant,” he said. Back in the pack, the racing in the 1200cc category was intense all weekend, with Richard Gray (Jabiru) leading home a local trifecta ahead of Lindsay Murfet (Bee Cee) and Stephen Cashion (Scorpion) for the round. Martin Agatyn
Image: Insyde Media
FORMER TASMANIAN Sports GT champion Terry Warren made an emphatic comeback from a short retirement on the support program for the Supercars round at Symmons Plains on April 6-7, with a blistering display throughout the weekend. Despite having not raced for 15 months, Warren dominated the weekend to win all four Sports GT events on the program in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII. Not only did Warren clean-sweep the weekend, he also lowered the Sports GT lap record to a 53.98s, the first sub-54s lap for the class. Warren opened up a huge gap in each race often in excess of 10 seconds - only to ease off towards the conclusion. His biggest win was in his record-breaking third race, in which he went harder for longer, to win by almost 16s. “I’m absolutely rapt because the car’s between on the hoist for 15 months,” Warren said.
“I really wanted to run the car again – we’ve had a new engine sitting on the bench for 12 months, so we thought we’d better put it to good use.” While Warren may have dominated the top step of the podium all weekend, the battle for the minors was entertaining, with Brodie Maher (Mazda RX-7SP), Adam Garwood (Porsche GT3) and Brett O’Shea (Holden VH Commodore) all sharing and swapping placings in most races. O’Shea’s Commodore proved somewhat of a wolf in sheep’s clothing with its NASCAR engine under the bonnet, giving him plenty of grunt on the long straights. Maher’s promising weekend came to an end in Race 3, when he his left rear tyre and rim parted company at high speed, Brodie fighting spectacularly to bring his swerving Mazda under control to avoid an expensive damage bill. Martin Agatyn
Image: Russell Windebank
RICCIARDELLO CHASES ANOTHER TITLE
STATE SUPPORT FOR NATIONAL SERIES’ TWO NATIONAL series’ enhanced the second round of the NSW State Race Championships at Sydney Motorsport Park on April 6-7. There were also seven other categories running in an impressive turnout.
IN THE first race of the first round, Michael King (Mitsubishi EVO 8) led all the way. Trevan Spiteri (EVO 8) overcame a wild first lap dropping to fifth but then came back to a close second. It was worth it, though, as King was pinged 5s and was relegated to second. Meanwhile there were a number battling for third before Graeme Watts (Nissan Silvia) came out ahead of Peter Ingram (Mazda RX7), Harrison Cooper (Honda Integra) Peter Hennessy (BMW E36-M3R) and Justin McClintock (Honda Civic). Spiteri withstood everything from King to take out race two before the latter claimed victory in the third. Ingram was third, ahead of Watts in both as Hennessy and Cooper shared fourth and fifths.
WITH TWO wins and a second, Chris Molle won the second round. He qualified fastest and stole a march as Brett Osborn had to work his way past Glenn Deering to secure second. The latter fell down fourth as Scott Walker put in a storming drive to take third. In the next outing Molle led initially until Osborn found a way past. Just behind, Duane Cambridge was next ahead of Proglio, Walker and Luke Harrison. Deering retired at turn 8 with a broken gear selector. Then a better start enabled Molle to take out the last, clear of Osborn, Proglio, Harrison and Cambridge.
PRODUCTION TOURING CARS
HITTING BACK after a shortened first round, Jimmy Vernon scored a pair of wins and a second to take the second round honours in his Mitsubishi EVO X. As expected, the fastest qualifier won the first race drag to turn 1, but Tony Virag (HSV GTS) quickly rounded him up. Virag was leading Vernon, Matt Holt (HSV Clubsport), Anthony Soole (BMW M4), Michael King (EVO X) and Daniel Oosthuizen (Clubsport) when the race was called after Jamie Hodgson’s Clubsport lunched its engine, leaving an oil slick at turn 1. Race two was also circumvented when second placed Virag pulled off at turn 2 amid a smokescreen. Vernon was leading Holt, Oosthuizen, King, Stephen Thompson (EVO X), Soole, Geoff Kite (Commodore SSV) and Chris Reeves’ new VW Scirocco at the time. EVOs filled the top two spots in the third as Vernon led home King. Holt was next in front of Thompson, Daniel Smith (SSV), Adam Gosling (BMW E46 M3) and Peter O’Donnell (BMW 335i).
THE RACING at round two between the Jacer drivers Jason Cutts, Aaron Lee and Craig Sparke continued throughout the weekend, with positional changes every lap and within those laps. They were separated by less 0.06s in all three races with each snaring victories. Meanwhile the race for fourth was also close with Leigh Porter (Jacer) edging out Luke Collett (Polar) on each occasion.
RACE WINS were shared around in the 2019 first round. David Barram (Chiron) dominated race one ahead of Neale Muston (Radical SR8) and Darren Barlow (Stohr). Fourth placed Phil Hughes was best of the SR3s while Nick Kelly (Wolf) was fifth. Muston won the second from Barlow, who turned the tables in the third. Barram retired twice with loose bodywork and rear suspension damage respectively. Mark Laucke (Wolf) finished third ahead of Hughes. Slight contact between that pair in the last saw Hughes DNF with steering damage, allowing Nick Kelly to finish fourth, having spun out of the preceding race.
FORMULA RACING CARS
GRAEME HOLMES survived all the challengers to clean sweep the opening round. In his Dallara F304 he had to fight particularly hard to hold out Aaron McClintock (F302) and Greg Muddle (F399) in race one. The latter spun at turn 5 and that allowed Phil Morrow (F304) to take third ahead of the advancing Lawrence Katsidis (F304), while Ross McAlpine (Mygale M11) battled with his car bottoming out. Holmes had a little breathing space ahead of McClintock in the second. Muddle was a distant third while Ron Coath (F307) was fourth. McAlpine retired with low fuel pressure. Muddle spun in the last, and sustained wing damage. McClintock also looped his Dallara but fought back to third behind Coath.
Images: Riccardo Benvenuti
KICKING OFF his tilt for an 11th title Tony Ricciardello was dominant in taking out round one of the DEA Performance National Sports Series at Sydney Motorsport Park on April 6-7. The Alfa-Chev driver won from reigning title holder Steve Tamasi (Calibra/Chev), while Steve Lacey (Chev Camaro) finished third and also took out the second round of the Kumho Tyre State Championship. Grant Doulman (Falcon-Chev) overtook Tamasi to finish second in race one where Birol Cetin (Chev Camaro) was fourth, having survived a three-into-one situation with Lacey and Jordan Caruso (Audi-Chev) at turn 2 on the first lap. While Caruso was out with steering damage, Lacey had exhaust damage yet fought back to have another crack at fourth later, only to spin off at turn 7. Lacey recovered again to finish a close fifth ahead of Shane Woodman (BMW-Chev), Scott Reed (Ford Mustang) and Stuart Inwood (Chev Corvette). In the second Tamasi quickly headed Doulman, who went out later at turn 2 with a puncture. Lacey finished third ahead of Caruso, storming through from the back, Cetin, Michael Robinson (Monaro-Chev) and Shane Bradford (Camaro). Tamasi briefly led the last until Ricciardello went past. Caruso was a close third until spinning out at turn 2. Lacey finished third as a result, ahead of Bradford, Woodman, Cetin and an ailing Doulman with a smoky down-on-power engine, and Reed.
THE THIRD round of the state championship saw Tony Moit score two outright victories, leading all the way. A drama with his 250cc Anderson Maverick meant no result in race two and he was a late starter to race three before finishing ninth. In the meantime, the battle in 125s – and for outright first in two races – was enormous between Aaron Cogger and Lee Vella, in their Avoig Elises. They shared the results after numerous positional swaps. John Dunn (Anderson) was fourth and third, but took no further part as Mark Robin was generally the best of the rest, although Paul Campbell did beat him in the first before a couple of DNFs.
SARGENT MARCHES TO FF ROUND WIN THE FIRST round of the National Formula Ford Series and the NSW State Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park produced different winners over the three races, with Tom Sargent’s better overall form nabbing him the round victory. Sargent miscalculated his run to the chequered when leading the first and was pipped at the post by Zac Soutar. Third went to New Zealander Callum Hedge, ahead of Cody Burcher and Courtney Prince. Lachlan Mineeff was penalised 30s for an incident involving Cody Donald, while Liam McLellan went out with an upright failure. Sargent had to pass and fend off a big challenge from Soutar to take out race two, gaining a 1s advantage in the end as the latter held off Hedge, Angelo Mouzouris and Jay Hanson. In the third Hedge toppled Sargent and Soutar, who was given a 30s apparel infringement penalty and dropped to 14th. Mouzouris was elevated to third ahead of Prince, Mineeff, Donald and Hanson. A similar post-race penalty cost Tim Hamilton overall victory in the Kent-engined class, after he led each from start to finish. Scott Tidyman qualified fastest and was second and dicing with Jarrod Costello until spinning, which elevated Shane Nichols to third. Race two went to Hamilton ahead of Costello and Tidyman. Although Hamilton won the third, the penalty gave Costello the race (and round) win ahead of Tidyman and Nichols.
NATIONALS wrap n compiled by garry o’brie
CONTRASTING CONDITIONS IN QLD WET WEATHER certainly made day one a challenge at the season opener of the Queensland State Race Championships, before Morgan Park brightened up on the weekend of March 30-31.
PRODUCTION TOURING CARS
AFTER WADING his way to top in qualifying ahead of Wade Scott (Mitsubishi EVO 8), Andrew Mill (EVO 7) took Race 1, passing Rob Gooley (EVO X) on the final lap. Third went to Justin Anthony (Mercedes-Benz C63), who passed Scott Dean (Mercedes-Benz A45). Gooley led Race 2 until passed by Anthony and John Carter (Holden Commodore SSV), who picked up the win when the former was relegated to ninth. Mill finished third ahead of Daniel Clift (Commodore), Dean and the close pursuing Brad Carr (BMW M3). The 50km third race was also taken out by Carter, passing Gooley early as Clift filled third ahead of Dean, Gerard Murphy (SSV) and Nathan Townsend (Ford Falcon). Mill was third early but ultimately failed to finish, and Anthony made up several places before dropping out of contention.
Seiton Connor-Young throughout Race 1 as Darren Whittington progressed to third ahead of Brock Giblin, Matt Wells and Cam Wilson. Connor-Young had the jump in Race 2, but Bartholomew soon went ahead. The previous race leader ultimately fell to sixth, as Wilson placed second ahead of Mark Goldspink, Giblin and Whittington. Bartholomew lost the lead at the outset of the 50km third race to Wilson. Bartholomew soon passed him but later Wilson relegated Bartholomew again, but only for a lap. Connor-Young was third just in front of Goldspink, Kyle Evans and Giblin.
EAST COAST MINI CHALLENGE THE FIRST race went to Linda Devlin over Adam Duce and Trent Spencer. Duce won the start of race two before Devlin went ahead. From sixth John Walker worked his way to second behind Devlin in Race 2. Race 3 went to Walker ahead of Duce. The pair beat Devlin away and held position. In the last, Duce led Walker before striking problems and slowing. Devlin was fourth at first, quickly getting past Trent Spencer to chase Walker home.
TURNING THE tables on polesitter Jason Clements (BMW), Rod Lynch (Holden Commodore) narrowly took out the opening
race. Ewen Johnston (Honda Civic) was third and clear of Zak Hudson (Mazda RX7), Royce Gregson and Matt Dwyer (Toyota Corolla). Clements had a big Race 2 win over Lynch with Justin Wade (BMW) next and ahead of Hudson, James Peck (RX7) and Dwyer. Race 3 was a repeat for Clements as Peck finished second, barely ahead of Hudson and clear of Lynch and Wade. It was a similar tale for Clements in the last with Hudson second and Peck next ahead of Wade and Lynch.
HISTORIC TOURING CARS
AFTER QUALIFYING fastest Grant Wilson (Chev Camaro) took out Race 1 where Matt Clift (Mazda RX2) Chris Farrell passed Russell McDowell (Ford virtually had Falcon GT) for second. Warren Tegg the circuit to (Holden Torana XU-1) was fourth himself on Saturday. ahead of Andrew Lofthouse (XU-1). Clift won the second just in front of Bob Sudall (RX2). Tegg was next ahead of Lofthouse as Wilson retired. Sudall improved to win Race 3 ahead of Clift and McDowell, who won the last ahead of Tegg, who won the round.
RACING & SPORTS CARS
SATURDAY’S WET impacted greatly with only Chris Farrell (Swift) and Greg Fahey (Van Diemen) appearing. Farrell won all the races,
CAMERON BARTHOLOMEW won all races. He showed the way to
POPULAR SEASON OPENER AT COLLIE THE ICE Breaker Meeting on March 30-31 is the annual opening race at the Collie Motorplex and this year it was evident that the south-west West Australian venue is growing in popularity with many WA State Race Championship categories.
IN ITS first outing at Collie, Robert Landsmeer was unbeaten in the Excels. He won the first abridged race over Cooper Smart and Stephen McGregor. The event was cut short when Carlos Ambrosio, Ryan McNess and Natalia Passaris tangled and the latter two hit a tyre barrier, which required time to repair. Landsmeer came from behind to take the second race win, having to get by early leader Darren Seaton and then Smart when he led. Ambrosio ultimately paced second, and he and Smart shared seconds in the ensuing races. Behind Landsmeer, Smart was second for the round ahead of Stephen McGregor and Stephen Taylor.
OVER THE two days, two rounds were held and that included two separate qualifying sessions. In Saturday’s round two Michael Howlett was a two-race winner and the round winner ahead of Wade Hedley with two race seconds, Ryan Davis and Adam Butler, who was the other race winner. Likewise on Sunday, Hedley won two of the
third round races to score overall victory ahead of Michael Woodbridge who won race two, Marc Watkins and Howlett.
Austin Pearson took three out of four wins at Collie. Image: Mick Oliver
AS SEVERAL suffered spins and off track excursions, Austin Pearson (Jacer) dominated the first three races before David Caisley (Jacer) scored a narrow victory over him. That came after Caisley had been a race two retirement. Mark Horan (Stinger) and Rod Lisson (Sabre) raced close for second and third respectively overall. In the 1200s, Brett Scarey (CD-Vee) returned to the winner’s circle after engine problems at the previous meeting. He took the race one class victory over Mackenzie Matthews (Gerbert) and Franz Esterbauer (Ribuck), who experience a brake problem after leading early. Scarey won the next outing ahead of Matthews and Jack Sheldon (Polar) but had problems in the third, which Matthews won from Esterbauer who went onto win the last ahead of Scarey and Matthews.
HISTORIC TOURING CARS
AHEAD OF a small field, Aldo De Paoli (Chev Camaro) dominated with four wins ahead
of Simon Northey (Ford Mustang) on each occasion. Third places were shared between Gary Crosswell (Chev Bel Air) with three and one for Laurie Lapsley (Jaguar MkII), ahead of fellow Jaguar driver Mike Gallagher.
UNDEFEATED AT the track for the last five years, Grant Johnson (Commodore VT) dominated with four from four. Behind him the racing was more intense with fellow VT pilot Brad Boley holding off Matt Martin to take second in the first two before the positions were reversed in the latter races. In the EA/VN class Chris Kneafsey (Commodore) was first in three races, ahead of Carl Fanderlindan (Falcon) who got the better of Kneafsey in the last for his first Saloon Car win. Nicholas Hanlon (Falcon) and Brock Ralph (Commodore) fought it out the minor place, going the way of the former.
ON MOST occasions Michael Henderson (Ralt RT4) generally steamrolls the opposition, but not this weekend. He won both Saturday races but Simon Alderson (Van Diemen RF88 Formula Ford 2000) pushed him. A gearbox problem ruled Henderson out of both Sunday’s races which Alderson won and took the overall points ahead of fellow FF2000 drivers Craig Thompson (Van Diemen) and Colin McKee (Reynard).
HELD IN two divisions, the Modern category was headed by Craig James (Commodore VT) from Rob Hagarty (Mazda MX-5) and Mark Ainscough (BMW M2), while Historic’s best were Peter Callo (HQ Monaro) in the over 3.0-litre Touring Cars and James Scott (Ford Escort) in under 3.0-litre. Sports Cars was headed by Gary Cutler in a Porsche 911S. Mick Oliver
Warren Tegg failed to win a race but his consistency won the day in Historic Touring Cars. Images: Trapnell Creations three. David Hedemann was fourth in the later races, ahead of Scott Andrew (Rapier).
SPORTS SEDANS, TRANS-AM & INVITED
OUTRIGHT HONOURS were shared between Peter Corbett (Lamborghini R-EX) and Shane Hart (Mazda RX7). Adrian Blackwell (Holden Commodore) and Andrew Clempson (Ford Mustang) filled the minors in race one, before Chris Aston (Commodore) was third in the following races behind the Hart/ Corbett duo. Overall Corbett took the Sports Sedans & Invited points. Michael Grimes (Chev Camaro) was the most consistent Trans-Am runner, ahead of Alwyn Bishop and Simon Trapp in Mustangs.
SALOON CARS, HQ HOLDENS & GEMINIS
the first over Fahey and then subsequently on Sunday beat home Phil Kay (Dallara) and Chris Hatfield (RCR T70 Spyder).
TAKING THE first two races outright set Russell Jamieson up for 250 International honour, but
engine dramas put him out for the remainder. That left Brian Wild to battle and beat Steve Cloake for class honours. Tim Weier took over in the outright contest, also winning 250 National ahead of John La Spina. Meanwhile Doug Amiss was the best of the 125s ahead of Scott Jamieson as they chased the larger capacity karts.
TIGHT FINISHES were the order with Garry Hook (Sabre) just 0.5s ahead of David Hedemann (Bee Cee Jabiru) at the end of race one. Alex Hedemann (Rapier) pipped Hook for the race two win by a similar margin and by slightly more in race
SALOON CARS headed the combined category with Richard Beggs (Holden Commodore) leading the way ahead of the Ford Falcons driven by Brock Mitchell and Ramon Connell. Brandon Madden was the best of the HQs in front of Brad Schomberg. Scott Andriske was third twice before Joe Andriske scored one in the last. Meanwhile in the Geminis it was Mark Gray with two wins and seconds to Tim Boyle in the other two races.
QRDC MAKES NOISE ON QR TWIN TRACKS BOTH THE Clubman and the National circuits at Queensland Raceway were used for round one of the QR Drivers Championship on March 30-31. The meeting was originally scheduled for Lakeside Park but moved with due to ongoing noise issues with the Moreton Shire Council.
HISTORIC TOURING CARS
HOLDEN TORANA XU-1 driver Peter Baguley led the first race from lights to flag. He had a comfortable gap on Grahame Wrobel (Ford Mustang) and fellow Torana driver Bruce Dummett. Allan Saunderson in his Ford Cortina was seventh but put in a stunning wet weather performance to easily win race two ahead of Baguley, Wrobel, Troy Norris (Datsun 1600) and Shane McJannett (Ford Anglia). Order was restored with Baguley winning race three ahead of Wrobel, who reversed the result in the last. Dummett and David Streat (XU-1) were third and fourth in race three before Norm Singleton (Alfa Romeo GTV) fill the minor spot in the last.
QR SPORTS & SEDANS
THERE WERE early dramas before and as racing started. Glen Hockleyâ€™s Nissan Skyline went up in a fireball during qualifying and then Lachlan Harburg (Porsche 007 GT3) spun off on the main straight as race one began. Adam Hargraves (supercharged Lotus) shot away to win comfortably. Daniel Jilsesen (Toyota 86) was second and Geoff Taunton (MARC Cars Focus) overcame a spin to finish third. The latter came through to win race two ahead of Steve Hay (Holden Commodore VK), Hargraves, Harburg and Jilesen. It
was a similar top four in race three before Hargraves took the last ahead of Ken Fazakerley (Subaru Impreza WRX) and Lachlan Gardner (OzTruck).
Green battled with Willis for a narrow race two win while it was equally tight for third between Pearson, Smith and Espray. In race three it was again Green from Willis and Currie driving through to third ahead of Pearson, Smith and Espray. Green drove away in the last with Pearson clear of Currie as Oscar Comley came through for fourth. Willis and Espray were excluded.
THERE WAS a delay to the start of the first race with Ash Lowe (Phantom) late out as Chris Purvis (West WX10) and Dave Rodgie (West WR1000) spun separately on their warm-up laps. Polesitter David Barram (Chiron) was a nonQLD TOURING CARS starter after an oil pump belt broke, leaving Carmelo IT WAS a wet track for the first race where Brett Bonaventura (Radical SR3) to lead. Second placed Kennedy (Holden Commodore VE) showed the Simon Cilento (SR8) charged ahead before Bonaventura way to Chris Sharples (Holden Monaro) and and Adam Beesley (SR3) looped at turn 3. Bonaventura Matt Haak (VL Commodore). Steve Hay (VK fought back to second ahead of Green, Beesley and Commodore) finished behind Bayley Hall (VE), Lowe. Leonard Meiers (VE) and Gary Anger (VT). The top three were the same in race two with Purvis Hay came through in race twoâ€™s far sunnier taking fourth ahead of Beesley. Lowe went out after conditions to win ahead of Kennedy, Sharples, four laps. The next two races provided good stoushes Haak and Michael Woodcroft (Holden Torana). between Cilento and Lowe, with less than a second Kennedy had a short-lived lead in race three, between them at their conclusions. Bonaventura, Steve Hay enjoyed a Purvis, Green, Beesley and Rodgie chased them successful weekend home in each. in the Queensland Touring Cars. TRACK ATTACK EXCEL CUP Image: Digital Realism WITH THREE race wins, Scott Green won the opening round ahead of Daniel Pearson and Mike Smith. Darren Currie had challenged for the lead in race one, but speared off. Several others also were off the track, forcing the race to be stopped. After the restart, Smith led until Corey Willis found a way past at turn 1. In third was Green from Pearson, who had Holly Espray and John Sheridan closing. The latter grabbed fifth just before bunkering at turn 3.
spinning off at turn 3. Sharples won ahead of Hay, Haak, Woodcroft, and Matt Swarbrooke (BMW E46) just in front of Kennedy. Hay was a clear winner of the fourth race, taking the Group A1 overall points. Second in the race was Sharples as Kennedy progressed to third ahead of Haak, the Group A2 victor, while Mark Giorgio (Ford Falcon XR8) won Group B.
ALFA ROMEO was the dominant marque. Angus Saunders (Alfa 75) won three of the four contests, easily accounting for Alessandro Vosolo (BMW E30) and Ettore Vosolo (Fiat 132) in the first race. It was far closer in the second with Saunders just in front of the BMW and Rob Robson (GTV6), before Alessandro Vosolo edged out Saunders in race three. Robson was again third, as he was in the last where Saunders just beat Vosolo.
NATIONALS wrap n compiled by garry o’brie
HISTORICS KICK OFF AT WAKEFIELD THE 2019 season for the Historic Sports & Racing Car Association kicked off its racing season at Wakefield Park on March 30-31. The HSRCA Autumn Festival started wet and cold, which made for some interesting results. It did dry up, but it didn’t get much warmer.
Wakefield Park lived up to its frosty reputation. Image: Sportz Fotos
GROUP V FORMULA VEE
Doug Barbour led a Porsche rout in Group S. Images: Russell Windebank
GROUP N HISTORIC TOURING CARS
WHEN IT was wet or the track was still damp, Chris Thomas (Holden Torana XU-1) was the one to beat. As it dried out completely, the V8 Fords came to the fore. Thomas qualified fastest and won the opening race ahead of Chris O’Brien (Ford Falcon XY GT), Adrian Macri (Chev Camaro), Adam Walton (Ford Mustang), Peter O’Brien (XY GT) and Jamie Tilley (Mustang), who had qualified 15th. Saturday’s second race was the trophy event where, in drying conditions, Thomas led the first lap before Chris O’Brien went ahead and won by half a second. Tilley improved to third and Peter O’Brien held off Walton, as Bill Attard (Mazda RX2) did likewise to Macri. The best of the numerous Minis was Alex D’Onofrio in eighth. Chris O’Brien won the next, although he had to work hard to hold out Tilley, once the Mustang driver passed Thomas. They were followed by Peter O’Brien, Walton, Dale Parry and Macri, who Conditions improved enough for Keiran McLaughlin to take victory in the final race.
recovered from a lurid spin out of turn 2 on the opening lap. Tilley tried to pass Chris O’Brien at turn 1 in race three but it didn’t work. A similar move in race four did and once in front, Tilley had control as Thomas chased in third. Macri improved to fourth ahead of Walton, Peter O’Brien and Attard.
GROUP S PRODUCTION SPORTS OVERWHELMED NUMERICALLY and in performance James Flett (Datsun 260Z) only qualified sixth, but came through to win the first
race ahead of the fastest qualifier in the wet, Doug Barbour, and James Calvert-Jones and David Cunneen in their Porsche 911 Carreras. After that it was Barbour who won the followup races. On each occasion Flett fought through the various challengers to take second in the three races, ahead of Calvert-Jones. Michael Byrne (Lotus Seven S4) was fourth in front of Mikki Piirlaid, Cunneen and Tony Antoun (all in Porsches). Cunneen was fourth ahead of Piirlaid, Byrne and Geoff (Triumph TR6) in race three, before Piirlaid was fourth in the last ahead of Cunneen, Bryne and Ron Goodman in his Group T Porsche, after his Sa car was retired the day before with gearbox failure.
GROUPS L, M, O
THE TWO front runners both missed qualifying and the first wet race before dominating after that. Wayne Wilson (Brabham BT29) broke through for his first race win in race two, ahead of Paul Hamilton (Elfin 600), who went on to take out the two remaining races. Wilson chased him to the line in race three as race one winner Les Wright (Dalro Jaguar) had to settle for fourth after being passed by Phil Harris (Brabham BT23c). In the last Wilson stalled on the grid and Wright had a lose out of turn 4. Hamilton won, Wilson recovered for second, clear of Harris and Wright.
OVER FIVE outings Anthony Paynter (Stag) was virtually untouchable in taking a clean sweep. He did have a glitch in fourth race with a spin, but he was able to recover from fifth and again be first across the line. With two comprehensive seconds out of the first two outings, Don Greiveson (Spectre) had stiff competition of race three from Steve Normoyle (Spectre) who eventually slipstreamed his way ahead, lost out a lap later, and then regathered to take second at the finish. Normoyle had the lead of the fourth when Paynter had his race four indiscretion, but then ran wide at turn 6 shortly after and allowed a host of pursuers to slip by. David Clark (Avanti) finished second ahead of Greiveson and Gary Meyers (Ranger). The latter was hit with a post-race 5s penalty which put him behind Normoyle. Numbers were down for the last which Paynter easily won. Second was tight with 0.17s covering Dean Briggs (Spectre), Clark, Meyers and Greiveson in the end.
GROUP F FORMULA FORDS, INVITED GROUPS Q & R
DECIDING THE leading Formula Fords wouldn’t be easy as Shane Nicols (Van Diemen) easily won the first over Reynard drivers John Pymble and David Grant. Keiran McLaughlin held off fellow Van Diemen pilot Ross Andrews for fourth and subsequently had an easy victory in race two. Pymble edged out Nicols and Grant in the second, before the latter had a 5s post-race penalty applied. Peter Warren (March 80S) came out for race three and romped away as Pymble scored second over McLaughlin, while there was a thrilling five-way scrap for fourth won by Nicols. The last was red-flagged when Peter Grant (Reynard) and Grahame Burton (Hawke) went off at turn 2. After restarting, Warren scooted away until retiring, leaving McLaughlin clear of Pymble, Nichols and Grant.
JAMBOREE FINALLY GOES CELEBRATED TWICE THE weather gods tried to stop the Garrett Advancing Motion Sydney Jamboree, presented by Tuners Edge and Link ECU at Sydney Dragway. The first time they succeeded and went pretty close to doing it a second time, when it was reconvened in a one-day format on March 30. Heavy rain overnight destroyed many marquees, flooded pit sites and rendered vital stage equipment unsafe. By midmorning the skies cleared and the Shannons Show ‘n Shine and Hi-Tec Oils Drift action kicked off. Sydney Dragway worked hard to reinstate the track and action began with one-shot qualifying sessions after lunch. The track gripped up immediately with good
times, big wheelies and the odd breakage – the most notable being Phil Penny’s eye-catching 2JZ Honda S600 hitting the wall hard. Round two would be the last shot to win Factory Extreme. Ben Bray (Toyota Solara) edged Sam Meintanis (BMW), Rod Harvey (Toyota Celica) blew away Gina Bullians (Mazda RX8) and George Rehayem Yes, that really is a Mazda 6. George Rehayern was runner up at the Sydney Jamboree in the Factory Extreme class. (Mazda 6) ended Nathan Hagenson’s (Toyota Camry) Jay Sadek’s (20B RX3) earned the Pro In Modified Compact Daniel Bennett (Mazda chances. Harvey and Rehayem were declared Turbo win with Nick Tsoltoudis (RX3) RX3) toppled Eddy Hawach (Subaru WRX), as winner and runner-up respectively. finishing runner-up. In Pro Compact Mark and in Modified 10.5, Nour El Jammas (VL Tischendorf (RX7) covered Simon Ioannou Commodore) won when Shane Crichton (RX8) before Steven Barnett (Mazda 6) (Cressida) buzzed his tyres. soloed, peeling off Australia’s quickest ever Danny Busbridge (turbo Torana) and Steve 13B pass of 6.70s. That run, along with Bezzina (XW Fairmont) were the two quickest Tischendorf, made them winner and runnerdouble winners, and met in the J275 finale with up. the former clinching the bracket. Steven Smith and In his blown VC Valiant, Danny Makdessi Ryan Holz were the only cars for the J315 class, ran the Pro Mod final solo. Earlier Kelly and match-raced twice. Bettes (turbo Mustang) had ripped a 5.871s Victorian Ross Puliafito (13B RX3) met Moose time, making her the quickest female Sakina (RX7) in the Street 289 final and came doorslammer in the country. But she was through to edge his rival. The All Motor went to slower at the next round and Makdessi was Matt Rice (2275cc VW Beetle) with too much able to cover her. start for Jason Frost (Mazda R100), despite a stunningly perfect 0.000s light reaction. The final Rotaries seemed to be all the rage at the Sydney of Street Compact saw Aaron Murphy (Ford FPV Jamboree. Images: Insyde Media Typhoon) easily cover Troy Daniel (Mazda 808).
MACKRELL TAKES THE LAST MILE
Col Hunter proved to be the fastest at Rob Roy. Image: Elgee
Ken Mackrell fittingly won the final Mt Alma Hillclimb. Image: John Lemm DRIVING HIS 6.5-litre Chev-powered Datsun 260 4WD, Victorian Kevin Mackrell waited until the final shootouts to win his sixth Willall Mount Alma Mile on March 30-31. It was the 11th and final running of the 1.6km hillclimb on a steep, closed public road in Inman Valley, near South Australia’s Victor Harbor. The Ashby family, who own the land surrounding Mount Alma Road, had informed the organiser, Ultimate Motorsport Events that this year would be the final event. As usual the hillclimb attracted more than the maximum of 160 entries. Mark Rundle (Mitsubishi EVO 8) led Mackrell by 0.02s after Saturday’s two runs, with Henry Beasley (EVO 9) and John Beasley (EVO 1V) next. Kevin Weeks (Lamborghini Gallardo) was uncharacteristically ninth. Event sponsor Keir Wilson blew the front diff in his Nissan GTR R35, returning Sunday with his road-going Lamborghini Huracan. The most serious incident happened on Sunday’s first run when Karl Perkins rolled his Subaru Impreza WRX on the right-hander after the finish line. He suffered a broken rib and two fractured vertebrae
and has since been released from hospital. With Mackrell fluffing a few gearchanges, Rundle increased his lead, setting the weekend’s fastest time of 39.38s on the second run. John Beasley took over third from his son after Henry hit a penalty marker on the final run. Weeks improved to seventh behind Lachy Pollard-Tucker (Nissan GTR) and Scott Limbert (Mirage 4WD). Glenn Latter (Mazda RX7) led Daniel Prior (Nissan Silvia S13) and Anthony Norris (Silvia S15) in 2WD. After the final run, the fastest 12 went into shootouts to determine the winners. Whilst Mackrell went fastest in the top 12 with 39.48, Henry Beasley again hit a marker, dropping him out of the final. Never one to take it easy, Mackrell went 39.42s in the top 3 shootout, 0.16s faster than Rundle, with Beasley senior third. Coming back from fifth on the opening day, Latter took 2WD from Prior with Dean Newcomb (S15) next. Jason Jordan (6.0-litre Holden Torana A9X) was top Classic, ahead of Shaun Relf (Ford Escort) with Steve Grinstead (Brock Commodore) a distant third after hitting a marker. John Lemm
MGCC CLIMBS AHEAD THE MG Car Club of Victoria has taken the lead in the Rob Roy Interclub Challenge, with victory in the first of the annual threeround hillclimb series ahead of the Gippsland Car Club and the Victorian Historic Racing Register on March 31. The event attracted entrants from 16 clubs with the top five taking the event seriously and mustering as many entries as possible, as points are gained by both the number of entries as well as by the top four in each class. Fastest time of the day at 22.98s went to Col Hunter (Subaru Impreza WRX) while his wife Laura was the fastest female in the same car. The FTD did not gain any extra points but the Hunters picked up class points for the GCC with their first and fourth places.
Daniel Leitner (WRX) was a second off the pace for second outright and second in his class, boosting the points for the Mazda MX5 Club which finished fourth and tied with former champions the Renault Car Club. Top point scorer for the latter was Geoff Rasmussem (Renault R4) who, despite being last outright, won his class by being the only one in it. Point scorers for the host MGCCV included class winner Michael Ellsmore (MGA), Graham Dows (Austin Healey Sprite), Gregory Carter (Rover 75), Warren Whitam (Toyota MR2) and Andrew Clayton (Canstel Clubman). Dispensing with the old club marque rule opened the way for clubs with no marque affiliation to enter. The GCC won more than once that way, with drivers such as the Hunters, Russ Mead (Ford Anglia) and Mark Atkinson (Falkenberg Jinx) leading the charge. Gary Hill
NATIONALS wrap n compiled by garry o’brie
RENTSCH SEALS ST GEORGE CLEAN-SWEEP SHANNON RENTSCH has won his fourth consecutive CAMS Australian Off Road Championship event, the St George 399. Rentsch was in control for the majority of the event, finishing each section as the leader. His lead increased over former AORC champion Mark Burrows from 8m during the first two sections to eventually be 12m by the conclusion of the event. The victory was a boost for Rentsch as he reflected on his dominant performance. “It’s a really good start to the season,” Rentsch said. “It was good to have led from start to finish but in off road, you never know what can happen. “I was a bit nervous on those final laps but thankfully we didn’t have any issues at the end, which was great. “We have a really fast and reliable car and I can’t thank the team enough for it all.” Behind Rentsch, the battle for second was intense as five drivers duked it out, but the experience of Burrows and Toby Whateley
shone through to round out the podium places. The pair were neck-and-neck heading into the final two sections, but Burrows extended the margin to more than 2m. Whateley’s consolation was the SXS Turbo class victory. Less than 7s behind Whateley was Sports Lite class winner Steven Graham in his St George debut, while fifth went to Pro Buggy pilot Glen Towers after a battle with Extreme 2WD class winner Greg Gartner, who picked up a flat during the second section. There was drama in the SXS Sports class, when leaders Rick Chambers and John Wise collided at high speed during the second section. Both were uninjured and continued on unphased, as Chambers took the honours. Other class winners included Christian Trusz in Extreme 4WD, Sportsman was won by Andrew Barber and Geoff Pickering took out the Production 4WD. The Australian Off Road Championship now heads to the Northern Territory for the famous Desert Finke Race in June.
AIMING FOR ONE BETTER
WRX ONE-TWO IN SHORT COURSE THE NOON start for the opening round of the KCF Rallysport Short Course Rally Series April 6, meant that the 22 teams dodged the morning deluge at Glastonbury. Shaun Dragona and Ray Priest were the winners in their Subaru Impreza WRX STi, also claiming the 4WD Class in the pace-noted event, 2mins 19s ahead of Kim Acworth and Ian Swinbourne (WRX). Third place went to Marco Jansen and Ben Logan, who were also the FWD and 2WD victors in their VW Polo. Only two seconds behind them, there was a tie for fourth between RWD class winner Chris Wedding and Wayne Jefferies (Datsun 1600) and Adam O’Brien and Matt Sosimenko (Mazda Familia GTR). Just over 2mins further back were Steven Casper and Brad
Jones (Nissan Skyline Silouette), ahead of Craig Aggio and Megan Benson (Toyota Corolla KE30). They were split by just 14s, the latter pair could have finished higher but dropped a fan belt and time. The event comprised three runs over two undulating, twisty and challenging stages where the course was still damp, and only 12 crews managed to complete the full distance. The first stage claimed several including Gerard McConkey and Larisa Biggar (WRX) with a broken control arm, and Adrian Coppin and Erin Kelly (Mitsubishi EVO 9) dropped a turbo pipe but were able to continue after repairs. Last year’s winners Tristan Carrigan and Neill Woolley (Excel) rolled.
Image: Angryman Photography
LAST YEAR’S runners-up Tim Auty and Jon Mitchell started their 2019 Tasmanian Rally Championship campaign on the right note with a commanding win in the Kennedy’s Welding and Tools Southern Safari, near Southport, on March 30. Reigning champions Bodie Reading and Alex Malcolm were one of a number of crews who missed the season opener, where a small field was chasing first points. Auty and Mitchell (Mazda 323 GTR) set the pace from the outset, claiming the 10.51km Lovetts opening stage by 4s over the fancied combination of former champion Keith Abblitt and navigator Nicole Bryan (Mitsubishi EVO 9). Auty and Mitchell also bettered the AWD combo in the second 9.8km Creekton stage. The battle continued in the third stage (5.92km Coal Hill) with Auty/Mitchell again 4s faster, before extending their lead by another 33s in the fourth stage (12.16km Facey), where they were split by Peter Nunn and Keith Johnstone (Subaru Impreza RS). Nunn and Johnstone were also competing in the
popular one-make Buckby Subaru RS Challenge series, posting the second fastest outright time. Unfortunately, it was to be last stage for Abblitt/Bryan as they retired with starter motor and electrical issues soon after. Auty and Mitchell continued to dominate the day, winning every remaining stage to clean sweep the event to win by 5mins 46s. Nunn and Johnstone continued to power ahead to claim second outright, with fellow Subaru RS crew of Danny Traverso and Steve Glenney third outright. Troy Johnstone and Aaron Saunders were fourth outright and third in the RS Series. Andrew Morris and Damien Grimwood (Mazda RX-7) failed to finish the fourth stage, scoring no points in the first heat, but recovered to win the 2WD class in the second heat. It was the reverse story for Ben and Reubecca Sheldrick, who won the first heat for 2WD in their Holden Commodore, but failed to re-start after the service break and shared the round points with Morris/ Grimwood. Martin Agatyn
“Coming up at the nation’s action and spectator tracks” Wakefield Park
April 20 WPM Trackschool Track Day April 24 Speed Off The Streets/Test & Tune April 26 PR Technology April 27 Porsche Car Club April 28 Mini Car Club – Round 2, 2019 Supersprint Championships
April 18 Test & Tune – Cars & Open Wheelers April 26-28 Lemons May 3 Test & Tune – Cars & Open Wheelers May 4 Mod Box Track Day – Private Hire May 5 MSCA
ESCORTS TIE FOR VIC VICTORY IN TREACHEROUS conditions, Justin Walker and Blaise NcNamara, and Luke Sytema and Adam Wright, tied for outright honours at round one of the Hino Geelong Victorian Rally Championship – the Ada River Rally on March 31. Both crews were in Grant Walker Motorsport-prepared Ford Escort RS1800s, and for the first time since the Akademos Rally in 2014, a twowheel drive rally car has won outright. Based out of Wesburn in the Yarra Valley Ranges, Arron Windus and Daniel Brkic (Mitsubishi Lancer) were quick out of the blocks, setting the fastest time of SS1 despite struggling to find a rhythm. However, they would retire from the morning heat when the car lost a wheel in SS2. Ivan Register and Paul Humm’s championship lead evaporated when they retired with gearbox issues in their Subaru Impreza WRX at the end of SS1, while Chris Higgs and Daymon Nicoli’s (Mitsubishi EVO 6) day also ended prematurely following engine sensor issues. The Walker Escorts were in a class of their own for the remainder, mastering the conditions to pull well clear of the chasing pack to share the spoils, almost three minutes clear of the nearest 4WD driven by Warren Lee and David Lethlean (EVO 9). Steven Porter and Tony Robinson (Mazda RX7) used their wet weather experience to place third in 2WD and fourth overall. Stephen Raymond and Lucas Zinsstag took a clean sweep of stages to dominate the second round of
the Fiesta Rally Series and finish a remarkable fifth overall. In the Grant Walkers Parts Excel Rally Series, brothers Jason and Daniel Lake spent much of the day battling with Lochlan Reed and Will Murphy, and came out 50s ahead. RUN ON a different set of stages to the VRC at the Ada River Rally, Cody Richards and Matthew Dillon dominated the opening round of the Victorian Club Rally Series (VCRS). Unlike their state championship counterparts, the 22 VCRS crews didn’t have the advantage of having seen the stages the day prior, making the event especially tricky in bad weather. Richards and Dillon (Ford Escort) put on a spectacular display of precision driving, winning all four stages and the rally by more than three and a half minutes. Despite conditions not suiting their big Toyota Soarer coupe, Philip and Damien Wilson managed to come home second. Veteran rally driver Keith Cuttle and co-driver Joe Brick rounded out the podium in a Holden Commodore, ahead of Anthony Morrow and Tracey Dewhurst (Commodore) and David Gates/Gareth Nicolls (MX5). A week after hitting a bank at the Rosewood Rally in NSW, Brian Newton and Ryan Price’s fortunes didn’t change, when the Honda succumbed to suspension damage on SS2 after equalling Richards’ time on SS1. The day was also cut short on SS2 for the Mitsubishi of Colin Sichlau and the Datsun of Mitch Fleming, while a solid run from Tim Reynolds and Shawn Urquhart ended in a bank on the last stage. Craig O’Brien
Images: Craig O’Brien
CHIVERS SHAKES COLO IT WAS a big win for Nathan Chivers and Scott O’Connor in the Colo Park Challenge, the first round of the Hunter Rivmasta Racing Products CAMS NSW Off Road Championship on April 6-7. Rain early in the week and before the event started made for a dust-free five races, where Chivers and O’Connor (SXS Turbo Can Am Maverick Rotax) won by 7mins 14s over Tony Abson (Sportslite Alumi Craft/Chev EcoTech), with 1min 7s further back to Kevin Cant and Darren Smith (SXS Sports Yamaha YXZ). With two race wins, Chivers led at the end of day one with Brant Knight second just 8s adrift in his Sportslite, and Andrew and Dallas Johnson in their ProLite third. Chivers continued to dominate, taking three remaining races. Meanwhile Knight had an axle issue in race three and the Johnsons had dramas in
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Image: Gordon Robb
race four which put them out. The next three outright places went to the Super 1650s of Austin and Billie Atkinson, Warren and Teaghan Barron, and debutant Thomas Berry with Zeekiel Stokes. Next was Luke Kenyon (Chev Silverado) who finished first in the Extreme 2WD. Another first time driver Greg Marsh with his wife Kelly were first in Production 4WD while Ian Cotton and Allan Cotton-Young brought their Nissan home first in Extreme 4WD. Greg and Sarah Barron
(Hunter Rivmaster/Suzuki) collected the laurels in the Sportsman class. After a steering rack bolt snapped on Saturday, the Pro buggy of Derek Rose (Baker2-Chev V8) started the first race on Sunday but suffered engine problems on the first lap. Nicky and Simon Lennox hit a tree that put them out on the second last lap, and 79-year-old Lucky Mattuissi with Mick Bamfory (International Scout-Chev Extreme 4WD) couldn’t return after steering damage.
WHY USE A B-DOUBLE WHEN YOU CAN USE THIS
FIRST OF all, this isn’t a trick using Photoshop, nor have you consumed too much alcohol. Yes, that is a 1931 Bentley Blower towing the latest and greatest Bentley racer, the Continental GT3. How, who, what and why? Well Bentley needed a way to transport its M-Sport built and developed Continental GT3 racer to Silverstone. So Martin Overington heard about this and drove his 40,000-mile Blower from Goodwood to M-Sport’s headquarters in Cumbria. Why Goodwood I hear you ask? Well not only does Overington use his Blower for towing purposes, he also races it at the track as well. This spectacle was created to raise awareness of July’s Silverstone Classic event which, as one of its marquee celebrations, will acknowledge Bentley’s 100th anniversary. This is something that the
marque has done throughout the season so far, starting at this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour where M-Sport’s pair of Continental GT3s were emblazoned 100-year decals. The opportunity gave Overington another excuse to come out and play as he also can also be seen in his Blower Bentley towing another highly prized possession, a Porsche 962. HM
CROSSWORD QUIZ Across 2. Brabham, Webber and Ricciardo are all Australian race winners in Formula 1, who is the other? (surname only) 4. What grid position did Jenson Button start in when he won the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2006? 7. What was the nationality of the late Ronnie Peterson 9. Who has the most race victories without ut winning a Formula 1 World Championship? p? (surname only) 11. In which country did Niki Lauda have his near fatal crash? 13. Which team finished third in the 900th Formula 1 race? 14. Who claimed his first podium in the 999th race? (surname only)
NOW AS eccentric as Image: Ross Gibb Garry Rogers is, he took it another step further at Symmons Plains. Rogers donned the lycra, jumped on his bike and sipped on a latte, while riding around the grid down in Tasmania. Despite the rather cold conditions, Rogers rode around chatting with ex-GRM drivers Scott McLaughlin and Lee Holdsworth, offering the pair a latte just prior to the beginning of Race 8. Rogers reckons that the latte sipping, lycra wearing g Supercars drivers of the current day can’t beat the halcyon days of drinking and smoking, where he suggests drivers were a tad more battle hardened. I don’t know about our readers but I’d rather not see Rogers in lycra again, please stick to the bling Garry! HM
To celebrate the 1000th World Championship Formula 1 race Auto Action has created a crossword.
Down Down 1. 1 What position did Lewis Hamilton qualify on debut? 3. What was the nationality of the first Formula 1 race winner Giuseppe Farina? 4. Who won the 2005 Australian Grand Prix? (surname only) 5. Who finished second to Fernando Alonso at the 2008 Singapore GP, race #800? (full name) 6. In which country was Max Verstappen born? 8. Which Grand Prix did Robert Kubica win? 10. In which city was the 500th race held? 12. Who won the final race of the 2008 Formula 1 season? (surname only)
Answers for crossword in the next issue of Auto Action on sale May 2nd.
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