Sep 10, 2012
FINALS FEVER HITS SHANNONS NATIONALS
FINALS FEVER has hit the Shannons Nationals Presented by Hi-Tec Oils, with a big September round at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit to decide the first big winners of the racing year.
Round seven of the Shannons Nationals will be contested at the high-speed 4.46km circuit in Victoria on September 21-23, two major national titles to be finalised on the same weekend Australia’s major footy codes decide their grand finalists.
The Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge will both stage their final rounds of 2012 next weekend, the Porsche title still up for grabs after a dramatic round at Queensland Raceway in August.
Kane Rose held an imposing lead in the title race ahead of the most recent round, however his failure to score in two of the three races – after his innocent involvement in a major crash on the opening lap of race two – has ensured the title will go down to the wire next weekend.
He has already wrapped up one title – the long distance Jim Richards Enduro trophy – but still faces some pressure in the overall six-round GT3 Cup Challenge series battle.
Fortunately for Rose, Phillip Island is something of a second home for the speedy Victorian ace, which will be a big help in his attempt to secure a first major ‘national-level’ racing title after multiple successes at a state level.
Rose leads fellow Melbournite Jeff Bobik by 70 points, with 90 up for grabs should a driver win all three races.
Drivers are playing for different things in the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship season finale’ this September, with both class titles wrapped up at the penultimate round.
Whilst outright champion James Winslow and Forpark National Class winner Hayden Cooper look to end their respective title-winning seasons on top, a host of other competitive young drivers will be keen to break through for career best results at the fastest track in the land.
This will be the first time since 2002 that the Formula 3 title has been decided at the Island, as the Gold Star has its second round with the Shannons Nationals this season.
Like it is in Football, September will be a critical month for the Kumho V8 Touring Car series; Phillip Island’s fifth round of six for the ever-growing V8 class the equivalent of an AFL preliminary final – as two drivers battle to get themselves in the best position for November’s Grand Final at Sandown.
Jim Pollicina leads the standings in his ex-Tasman Motorsport VZ Holden, however youngster Josh Hunter, who drives a BF Ford Falcon, sits just 20-points behind the experienced racer in what is shaping up to be a sensational showdown between the competing drivers and brands.
A win for either at Phillip Island will be akin to heading into a grand final having beaten your rival by 50 points in a preliminary – massive momentum to go the way of the winner before teams take an enforced eight-week break before November’s finale.
The Radical Australia Cup is also balanced on a knifes-edge as they approach their penultimate round of the year, in what has become a near impossible championship fight to predict.
Neale Muston leads the series by just six points going into their final two rounds, the final round with the Shannons Nationals this season for the one-make sports car series.
Muston won three-straight rounds across the middle of the season however an upset round win by Simon Haggarty at Queensland Raceway has seen the title fight become more unpredictable than ever ahead of the series return to Phillip Island – for the second time this year.
Tony Palmer sits just behind Muston and looks to be the Sydneysiders closest challenger, though Haggarty – now third in the point’s race – seems to be hitting his peak form at the ideal time of the season.
The Radical Australia Cup will contest two, 50-minute endurance races across the weekend, just adding to the potential for drama to unfold.
The Dial Before You Dig Australian Saloon Cars and Australian GT Championship each have three rounds remaining as of Phillip Island, their seasons well and truly in play and with plenty of racing to come before any titles are locked away.
Australian GT will again feature their challenging twin one-hour endurance format with a one-hour race on Saturday and Sunday.
Round seven of the Shannons Nationals Presented by Hi-Tec Oils will be held across the September 21-23 weekend at the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit in Victoria.
Tickets are available at the gate with a weekend pass available for $35.
Sunday’s action will be streamed live via www.thenationals.com.au with regular updates across Twitter and Facebook across the entire weekend.