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Mar 19, 2013

NEW NATIONALS YEAR TO KICK OFF IN SYDNEY

THE 2013 Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals will blast into a new season at Sydney Motorsport Park in New South Wales this weekend.

Headed by a record-setting Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car Series field and the fire-breathing Kerrick Sports Sedan Series, the six-category program features plenty of horsepower and big fields to kick off an exciting nine-round Shannons Nationals series.

Sunday’s action will be broadcast live on the internet via The Nationals TV, available via the Shannons Nationals website.

| Click here to check out the Round One information page - with event schedules, entry lists and more!

A strong field of Holden-versus-Ford battles in the Dial before You Dig Australian Saloon Car Series is likely to entertain whilst the Radical Australia Cup, PRB Clubman Series and Australian Superkarts fill a bumper program.

Despite the well-publicised ‘marketplace challenges’ at present, average grid numbers have grown for this year’s season opener with four categories exceeding 22 cars – and more than 135 entered in total.

The anticipated three-way fight for the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series commences this weekend, defending champion Kerry Baily primed to defend his crown with number one on the door of his stunning Aston Martin DBR9.

Rivals Darren Hossack (Audi – Chev) and Tony Ricciardello (Alfa – Chev) will both be keen for better starts to their 2013 seasons after the corresponding round 12 months ago gave them a fraught time – and limited points – at Mallala, allowing Baily to escape to an early title lead.

The 17-car field includes speedy Victorians Daniel Tamasi (Holden Calibra) and Michael Robinson (Holden Monaro) plus regular frontrunners Shane Bradford (Camaro) and Dameon Jameson (Jaguar XKR).

1987 Bathurst 1000 winner Peter McLeod is a new addition to the field, driving a Mazda RX7.

In the Dial before You Dig Australian Saloon Cars, Simon Tabinor will seek to do something not achieved in the ever-competitive series since 2007 – defend his championship crown.

Bruce Heinrich won his fifth Saloon Car series title in 2007 but remains the last driver to defend his crown year to year. In fact, the South Australian remains the only multiple champion in the series’ thirteen years battling on Australian circuits.

Holden driver Tabinor won last year’s title however a 25-car grid is unlikely to let the Victorian have it all his own way this season.

Ford fans will be hoping for a Blue oval resurgence, Holden drivers having taken three of the last four titles – only Matt Lovell, in 2011, taking title success away from the Red Lions.

A record field of 22 cars is set for the opening round of the Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car Series, for ex-V8 Supercars; the previous record for field size in the Kumho Series is 20 cars - last achieved at Winton in 2012.

Six rookies – Shae Davies, Matt Chahda, Dan Day, Steve Briffa, Josh Kean and Peter Rullo - will make their Kumho Series debut at Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend while former series champions Terry Wyhoon and Chris Smerdon return to the category after lay-offs.

Familiar faces John Vergotis and Chris Delfsma will both also return after missing last season. They will drive Falcons originally built by Brad Jones Racing and Thexton Motor Racing respectively.

For the first time this year there will be two distinct classes in the Kumho Series – one for cars with the traditional H-pattern gearbox and one for the recently-introduced sequential gearbox.

The Radical Australia Cup kicks off its six-round Shannons Nationals program this weekend, though already has one round in the books.

Also at Sydney Motorsport Park, the RAC kicked off two weeks ago and saw Neal Muston, the defending cup winner, storm to another round victory at a circuit he has all but made his own in recent times.

Muston is one of several drivers in the brand-new V8-powered SR8 RX racer that is set to raise the bar in the series this year.

Nick Kelly and Ash Samadi offered strong competition to Muston in the opening round and both are set to return to the Sydney circuit this weekend.

The RAC also has a ‘race within a race’ battle ongoing, existing competitors in the SR3 Cup Cars fighting for their own trophies at each round – Peter Johnston and Peter Paddon the class pace setters so far.

A massive field of Australian Superkarts – competing for the Australian Superkart Championship – and the New South Wales-based PRB Motorsport Series complete an action-filled event program this weekend.

On-track action commences Friday with practice, qualifying and racing commencing on Saturday morning.

The packed program includes 18 races (13 on Sunday) and includes two, 50-minute Radical Australia Cup endurance races – one each on Saturday and Sunday.

A full event schedule is available from www.thenationals.com.au