Races one and two of the Tyreright Sydney Challenge – round three of the Australian Production Cars – have been held at Sydney Motorsport Park today. Races three and four will be held tomorrow, Sunday 9 July.
Bob Pearson in the #33 Pro-Duct Mitsubishi Evo X took out both race victories outright today, in a very strong performance despite the absence of star co-driver Rick Bates this weekend.
The day kicked off with qualifying, with Iain Sherrin setting the fastest time of the session in the #18 Sherrin Racing BMW M4 thanks to a 1m 41.7374s last lap. However, the #18 would be sent to the rear of the grid for ride height infringement along with the #44 Nolan Finishes Holden VZ HSV. Instead, Bob Pearson in the #33 Pro-Duct Mitsubishi Evo 10 would start on pole alongside the #6 Skwirk Online Mercedes A45 of Nathan Antunes and Rod Salmon.
Tyres would prove a real issue for the field over the opening one hour race, with the last lap seeing the #18 BMW M4 and the #6 Mercedes A45 limp across the finish line with flat tyres while race winner Pearson was only laps away from tyre failure himself. Pearson crossed the line with a commanding lead over second-placed Mark Eddy (#2 Mark Eddy Racing Audi TT RS) and third-placed Dimitri Agathos (#66 FullGas Racing Subaru WRX Sti). Pearson’s win came after a strong race-long effort where he pitted early and was in the best position possible to take advantage when Antunes pitted later in the race to hand over to his co-driver Salmon.
The Scott Gore/Patrick Galang #48 BMW135i took out Class B1 (7th outright) while Class C went down to the very last lap with the Aubin Brothers Racing Renault Megane taking the win from the #31 Osborne Motorsport Megane of Tyler Everingham. The Disc Brakes Australia Kia Proceed locked out Class D, while the FullGas Racing Pulsar took out Class E. Failing to finish were the Class I Best Jet Ute which retired early due to gearbox failure, the Donut King BMW1M which was in and out of the pits all race with limp mode issues, and the Best Jet HSV GTS which pitted late in the race and would not return when the car failed to restart.
The race two grid would be set by the race one results, although the FullGas Racing Pulsar and the #31 Osborne Motorsport Renault Megane would start from the rear of the grid due to having new tyres marked.
In race two, a late pit stop for the Sherrin Rentals BMW M4 handed Pearson a second victory, with his Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X winning comfortably ahead of Eddy’s Audi TT and the Salmon/Antunes Mercedes AMG A45.
Pearson ultimately won by 14 seconds, with Eddy another 17 seconds in front of the AMG A45 after another race free from safety car interruptions. The diversity at the pointy-end of the grid was showcased with five different brands filling the top five spots in the second race today.
Iain Sherrin wasted no time in storming to the lead early in the race, only for Pearson to return to the top spot following the compulsory pit stop when brother Grant took over the still-new Sherrin Rentals BMW M4. He then hunted down and passed Pearson for the lead on the 17th lap and had looked on course to record the car’s first win in the series, before a late stop to change a right front tyre saw them drop to near the tail of the lead lap – ultimately finishing fifth behind the Gibbons/Agathos Subaru WRX Sti.
The #19 Michael Sherrin/Steve Champion BMW M135i took the Class B victory and finished 9thoutright, while Tyler Everingham powered his Osborne Motorsport Renault Megane to the Class C win in a strong 7th outright.
Michael Gray and Ellexandra Best took the class D victory after issues saw the King / Walsh Hankook Australia Kia ProCeed GT drop more than 15 laps from the lead, while the Wilson / Stephens Nissan Pulsar SSS won Class E.
Races three and four of the Tyreright Sydney Challenge will be held at Sydney Motorsport Park tomorrow, Sunday 9 July, at 11.12am and 3.10pm respectively. Qualifying will be held at 9.00am. All of Sunday’s action will be streamed online live and free thanks to the Shannons Nationals, to view the stream, click here.