Aug 10, 2012
HOLT LEADS EVO BATTLE IN PRACTICE
GARRY HOLT and Ryan McLeod have fired a warning shot to rival Mitsubishi team TMR Australia following official practice for the Hydraulink 400 ‘Fight in the Night’ Production Car enduro, at Queensland Raceway this weekend.
The Eastern Creek Karting Raceway Evo X has been completely rebuilt prior to the weekends’ twin 200-km races, the efforts rewarded by the Sydneysider topping the official practice session in fine Queensland conditions this afternoon.
Car #21’s 1m20.79s lap was 0.58s faster than the TMR Evo, driven this afternoon by Inky Tulloch, who will share with regular driver Stuart Kostera this weekend.
Holt said his team spent today working on extracting the maximum fuel economy out of the EVO, with the aim of going through the 200km race without needing to stop for fuel.
Class A teams must make a compulsory stop for tyres however fuel stops are optional; placing an emphasis on economy.
“We started the day without a chance (of going without a fuel stop), but things are looking better now,” Holt said.
“We have been tuning the car all day and it’s now at a point where it’s not only quick, but not using much fuel either. We are struggling with an understeer problem but at the same time it’s fast, so it’s looking good.
“The key to the race will be fuel. If you can avoid putting fuel in you save 80 seconds so it is critical.”
Cam Wilson and Dave Wood placed the WBR Team Subaru Impreza STi third, fellow local team Sherrin Racing’s BMW 135i in fourth place and first of the class B entries.
An impressive performance from relative AMC newcomer Angus Chapel saw the GWS Motorsport BMW 130i fifth outright, just 1.8 seconds off the outright pace – though some of the potential race winners failed to set representative times today.
Chapel’s team-mate, Peter O’Donnell, struggled throughout the day in the sister 335i Turbo, with the car experiencing ECU difficulties across the three sessions contested.
Dylan and David Thomas spent a day testing their recently-acquired ex-TMR Australia Evo X and ended the day seventh, Tony Quinn logging just three laps in the similar VIP Petfoods car for ninth.
The two Evo’s were split by the new BMW 1 Series M driven by Beric Lynton, making its racing debut this weekend.
The new BMW performed well, completing laps in each session as the brand new race car logged its first laps in anger.
Poll Performance duo Jim Pollicina and Ryan Simpson practiced earlier in the day but didn’t participate in the 20-minute session this afternoon, 18 of the 21 entrants logging times.
Colin Osborne’s Mazda 3 MPS was 10th, the Production Car veteran and former CAMS president set to log his 400th class start in the Saturday race.
Meanwhile, a piece of history will be created when sisters’ team up for the first time in a major national-championship event, Lauren Gray to join younger sister Maddison in the team’s Class E Toyota Echo this weekend.
The Hydraulink 400 field will move directly to qualifying late tomorrow morning prior to the first 200km race that is scheduled to commence at 6:10pm local time, tomorrow night.
AMC organisers have announced Kennard’s Hire as a major partner for this weekend, the plant and equipment hire company supplying the portable lighting units placed around the circuit for the night racing this weekend.
All eight categories completed practice today, ahead of this weekends’ massive eight-category round of the Shannons Nationals, the first time the series has raced at QR since 2007.