After a punctured tyre took away a likely APC race win with 14 laps to go yesterday, Supercars drivers Chaz Mostert and Nathan Morcom brought home the outright and Class A1 victory at Winton Motor Raceway today, clinching the round honours in the #11 Direct Plasterboard Outlet Ford Focus in the process.
Taking out the class victories were the #64 Cachet Homes Motorsport Holden HSV VE (Class A2 – 8th), the #48 Scott Gore/Keith Bensley BMW135i (B1 – 4th), the #31 Osborne Motorsport Renault Megane (Class C – 5th), the #50 MidWest Multimedia Mini Cooper (Class D – 6th), the Hurley Smash Repairs Suzuki Swift (Class E – 11th) and the #21 Disc Brakes Australia Kia Pro-Ceed (Class I – 10th).
It was by no means an easy run to the flag for the popular racer and co-driver Morcom however, with an intense battle for the victory ensuing from start to finish across the 300km stanza.
Across the race the #6 Skwirk Online Mitsubishi Evo 10 and the Ford Focus RS had fans on the edge of their seats with a number of intense battles for the race lead from start to finish – especially across the opening 55 laps.
Will Brown and Morcom started the race in their respective steeds, with the Evo again suffering rear diff issues. As the race continued to play out, the car was seen to be moving around quite dramatically, making for some gasp-inducing moments throughout the lead battle which saw a number of lead changes.
At the half way point Brown and Morcom handed over to their co-drivers Rod Salmon and Chaz Mostert within one lap of each other. Mostert took on tyres while Salmon did not, but although Salmon had the advantage of track position the Supercars star would not be robbed of another race win this weekend, passing Salmon on Lap 80.
Just one lap later Salmon would venture to the pit lane for a replacement of the front left tyre, elevating the #33 Pro-Duct Mitsubhishi Evo to second position. A broken drive shaft then intervened for the #6, but they persevered to come home fourth in class behind the the #66 FullGas Racing Subaru WRX STi in a strong showing following an overnight engine change for the entry (third outright).
Class A2 was brought home by the #64 Cachet Homes Motorsport Holden HSV VE of Saloon car racers Chris Lillis and Vince Ciallella. It was 7th outright before the final safety car however a late trip to the pit lane saw it finish in 10th outright. In an impressive effort at the start of the race, Lillis brought the car from the rear of the grid following the entry’s DNF yesterday due to a fuel leak, to be fifth in only a number of laps.
Class B1 was headed by the Scott Gore/Keith Bensley BMW135i, with the car’s steerers putting in a strong performance all race long to come home in fourth outright.
In Class C, the #35 Syntec International/Ric Shaw Racing Mazda RX8 put in another strong effort despite a suspected bearing issue early in the race which necessitated a pit stop for a tyre change. The Ric Shaw/Andrew Bollom entry returned and got back to work to regain the class lead in the first half of the race. However, with a late safety car for debris seeing a restart with 15 laps to go, Tyler Everingham was able to make a move and overtake for the class win in the #31 Osborne Motorsport Renault Megane he is sharing this weekend with Michael Almond (fifth outright). Like the Mazda RX8, the Renault had been forced to the pits early in the race, to remove dangling body work from the car.
Following its engine failure in yesterday’s race, the #13 Osborne Motorsport Renault Meganne of Colin Osborne and Hadrian Morrall took no part today despite a past-midnight effort by the crew trying to rectify the issue.
In Class D, there were multiple changes for the lead across the race, with the #50 MidWest Multimedia Mini Cooper S of James Keene and Dominic Martens, #25 Michael Gray and Ellexandra Best in their LGM Toyota Corolla (seventh outright) and the #85 Vurgel Precision Automotive Mazda 626 (Declan and Phil Kirkham) all holding the class lead at various points of the race and putting on a number of tight tussles to keep the fans amused. When the flag flew on the 300kms, it was the Mini (sixth outright) which took the class victory ahead of the Corolla (eighth outright) and the Mazda MX6 (13th outright).
The Pedders Racing/Motorsports Training Australia Toyota 86 of Cameron Hill and Grant Phillips took no part in today’s proceedings, after the engine change undertaken overnight was unfortunately for naught with issues encountered following the change.
The reigning Class E champions Paul Currie and Jason Walsh (Hurley Smash Repairs Suzuki Swift) and the #223 Luff and Associates Property Group Suzuki Swift of Richard Luff and Katilyn Hawkins had a great battle across the race, with the class victory ultimately going to the #9 (11th outright) while the #223 came home second in class and in 13thoutright.
In Class I, the Disc Brakes Australia Kia Pro-Ceed GT put in a convincing performance, with father and son Gerry and Leigh Burges bringing home the entry in ninth outright.
Failing to finish the race was the #18 Sherrin Racing BMW M4, with an error code showing on the formation lap after an overnight engine change, despite no hint of trouble showing in the earlier warm-up. The crew tried a number of fixes and sent the car out twice, but eventually retired it for fear of harming the engine further. Eventually, the problem was diagnosed as a broken cam shaft.
The Australian Production Car racing action will continue at Sydney Motorsport Park across 7-9 July, with Round 3 of the season to consist of four one-hour races.