Excel battle ready for awesome foursome

This weekend’s Shannons Nationals will be the centre of an entertaining battle between the top drivers in the popular CAMS Queensland Hyundai X3 Excel Racing Series.

The series reaches its halfway point of the season with four drivers in contention for outright honours, and a win this weekend will go a long way in determining the winner.

Fresh from a brilliant second round victory is first-year driver Richard Peasey, who finds himself as the outright leader on 159 points and is looking for to build a buffer.

With this weekend’s round at Queensland Raceway is the first this year outside of Morgan Park, Peasey’s experience at Queensland Raceway could be the difference in his title tilt.

“I have a heap of experience at Queensland Raceway,” Peasey said.

“I was actually part of one of the first ever race meetings held there when I was a young lad racing open wheelers.

“I also hold the lap record in an Excel, so we are looking for a strong result there and then see where that leads us for the remainder of the season.”

Equal in second place on 135 points apiece are Frank Mammarella and Kaden Olsen, with neither yet to register a round win.

So far Mammarella has picked up a second and fourth, while Olsen’s runner-up placing in the bigger second round was enough to put him equal second.

Sitting just behind the pair on 123 points is 2017 champion Brock Giblin. The 21-year-old won the first round but was unable to replicate his form in a different car, having to accept a disappointing tenth.

Giblin, who is back in his series-winning car this weekend, is under no illusions about how important a good result this.

“I am confident that if I had last year’s car, I would have won the round,” Giblin said.

“This coming round is probably the most important round of the year, obviously you want to win every round, I am a very competitive person and I am just built that way.”

Matthew Wells rounds out the top five with 115 points after a second round podium finish, while sixth placed Mark Goldspink is the final driver on triple figures with 102 points.

Some of the other big names to compete at this weekend’s Shannons Nationals are 2016 champion Cameron Bartholomew and Australian Prototype Series veteran John-Paul Drake.

Drake, who hails from South Australia, is just one of four drivers from outside Queensland with fellow South Australian Heath Murdoch and Ross Donaldson from New South Wales making the trip up north.

Making the biggest journey for the category is Natasha Passaris, with the West Australian also the sole female representation competing in the weekend.

More than 30 competitors are expected to take the grid, with a third of the field to make their series debuts at the event.

The Hyundai X3 Series Queensland is one of five categories to take place across the two days, with a qualifying on Saturday setting up three 20-minute races.

The Shannons Nationals takes places at Queensland Raceway in Ipswich on 28-29 July, with live coverage of Sunday’s session once again to be available for viewing via motorsportaustraliachampionships.com.au.

Tickets are available at the gate.