Lynton and Leahey lead Nationals Sunshine party

The sun was shining for the Shannons Nationals’ fourth round at Queensland Raceway with spectators enjoying a weekend full of entertainment across five categories.

The headline act for the weekend was the Australian Production Car Series and their annual Fight in the Night. Beric Lynton and Tim Leahey were victorious in the spectacular event held under darkness, their third win in the past four years. 

Despite the pair finishing fourth in Sunday’s race, the current series leaders had enough points in the bank to win the outright round and make it two-from-two in 2018.

“We both feel a bit flat that we finished fourth today, we wanted to finished higher but that is because we are competitive, but it’s awesome to have two consecutive rounds wins,” Lynton said.

“We got the first placed trophy and we got the majority points which is the main the thing. We weren’t good enough for first but we were for second or third at least. At the end of the day our car is still sitting at number one,” Leahey added.

The Queensland Excel X3 Series came right down to the wire as Brock Giblin returned to winning ways after a disappointing second round earlier in the year.

Dominating the first race, the 2017 winner finished the next two with podiums. His runner-up placing in the final race enough to secure the outright round.

“This win makes me feel like I am back, I want to be confident because if you’re not, you can’t drive and I think that is why I wanted to win the round, not just one race,” Giblin said.

“Parrish had to finish in front of me and I had to finish ahead of him to win the round so there was never a point throughout the weekend I thought I had won until the end.

“In terms of the season, I give myself a chance to win the whole thing now. Richard Peasey and Kaden Olsen didn’t have the best outings, so it will make the next round very interesting.”

With first place up for grabs in the outrigt National Sports Sedan Series standings, the battle between Steve Tamasi and ten-time series winner Tony Ricciardello was always going to be the one to watch.

Unfortunately, the battle never eventuated with Ricciardello retiring in the first race while Tamasi managed to win his first round for the year, despite facing his own mechanical problems and pressure from second placed Peter Crompton all weekend.

“It’s an amazing feeling to win the my first round in four years especially since we had seven mechanical issues like gear box and exhaust failures throughout the weekend,” Tamasi said.

“It’s extremely unfortunate what happened to Tony but it didn’t relieve any pressure from me, because realistically, it can happen to any of us and it’s part of the sport.

“It goes to show that half of the sport is the driving, the other half is the engineering side of it.”

It was a clean sweep in the Australian Prototype Series by David Barram, with the round winner starting off his weekend with pole and backing it up with three race wins in what was an emphatic display.

The win was emotional for Barram who was on track to win the corresponding round last year but was forced to retire in the last race.

“It has taken me more than 12 months to get this round win and it’s outstanding. I am over the moon, I am really happy,” Burrows said.

“I would like to thank my crew, my wife, Garry my engine builder and all the people who helped me get here, in what has been over a year in the making.

“Throughout the weekend, the competition was pretty stiff. Guys like Jason Makris and Mark Laucke are always on the ball, so everything had to go well for me to have a chance and it in the end it all worked out.”

Like most race meetings in the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge, it came down to the final race of the weekend.

Starting off the weekend with fifth in the first race, Simon Fallon was able to recover for Sunday’s sessions and claim victory in the final two races. The result set up his first round win for the season and places him just five points behind Cooper Murray in the overall standings.

“I really didn’t think winning the round would be possible,” Fallon said.

“Our Saturday performance wasn’t too flash but we came out here today nice and strong, got a good start by getting in the lead and maintained it throughout the day.

“It’s good for all the boys in the team and their hard work. It’s nice to get our first round win for the season and hopefully we can replicate with another strong result at Winton.”

Highlights from Queensland Raceway will be televised on SBS with Production Cars on 12 August at 1pm, and Porsche GT3, Sports Sedan and Prototype Series to be screened on 26 August at 1pm on Speedweek.

The next round of the Shannons National features the CAMS Australian GT Trophy Series, Australian Production Car Series, Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia and a double round of the CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship.

The fifth round of the Shannons Nationals takes place on 2 – 3 September at Winton Raceway in Victoria.