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Jun 22, 2013

CHAMPION TAKES SALOON CAR ENDURO

A BATTLE between Holden and Ford has ended a spectacular day of racing as round four of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals got underway at Winton Motor Raceway in regional Victoria.

Under perfect blue skies and in bright sunshine, Ford driver Luke Westall and defending champion Simon Tabinor battled for the lead in the inaugural Dial Before You Dig Australian Saloon Car series endurance race after a late-race safety car this afternoon – with the Melbourne-based Holden ace eventually coming out on top.

Tabinor passed Westall’s Falcon for the lead with eleven of the scheduled thirty laps to go and dominated from there in an unpredictable race that featured three different race leaders.

His win came at the expense of early leader and polesitter Wayne King, who dominated the opening laps before losing his substantial lead to a Safety Car on lap 12 – before he had elected to make his compulsory 30-second pit stop.

With the remainder of the field having already pitted, King was set to lose any change of a strong result when racing resumed – though a subsequent second caution a few laps later gave him a chance to serve his stop without losing as much time.

Still, he resumed in a lowly 17th position before setting out on a stunning charge through the field.

King scorched his way past much of the pack in the remaining 13 laps to end the race in a remarkable second position and within sight of the leader.

Earlier, King had taken a commanding pole position in the Saloon Cars first ever top-10 shootout, beating Travis Sharpe to pole position by three-tenths of a second with a fast and committed lap.

The Saloon Cars will fight out a second 30-lap enduro tomorrow.

Richard Muscat stormed to victory in the first race of this weekend’s Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli round; working his way past rival Michael Almond to take a relatively unchallenged victory in today’s 30-lap enduro.

In a superb display of consistency and pace, the 21-year-old Victorian star spent the first seven of the scheduled distance bottled up behind Almond, before passing him cleanly at turn eleven for the lead.

Almond would later spin off into the gravel mid-race, bringing out the safety car – ultimately finishing 9th and one lap behind winner Muscat, who won by six seconds.

Muscat also broke the Winton Porsche lap record, setting a best lap some six-tenths quicker than the existing benchmark held by fellow local ace, Kane Rose.

Fraiser Ross finished a strong second and with local expert John Morris third, it was a 1-2-3 for local drivers.

Renowned Porsche racer Peter Fitzgerald finished fourth, holding out the advances of John Goodacre for much of the second half.

The Porsche’s return tomorrow with two short sprint races to complete their third round of the year.

Rookie Ryan Simpson claimed pole position today for the third round of the Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car Series, but series leader Shae Davies was able to extend his lead in the title race by claiming victory in the opening nine-lap race.

Having started third on the grid, the Fernandez Motorsport Falcon driver took advantage of a slip up by Tony Evangelou on lap 6 to move through and take the race win, his third of the 2013 season.

The six-round series by 26 points over 2011 champion Terry Wyhoon, who finished eighth after ignition problems earlier in the day left him an uncharacteristic 11th on the grid.

Evangelou finished second ahead of Morgan Haber (who recovered after making a slow start), while pole-sitter Simpson ended up 11th in his first race in the category for ex-V8 Supercars.

A slipping clutch delayed his ex-Craig Lowndes Falcon on the opening lap before contact with Haber sent both off the road at turn three and to the back of the record 21-car field.

Race officials investigated the contact but no action was taken.

Shannons Nationals Swift Series scholarship winner Callan Sayers took pole position for tomorrow’s round of the nimble one-make racers, edging out series leader Luke Fraser and Ben Grice by just over one-tenth of a second.

Sayers, driving the Nationals TV-sponsored Swift, scored his first pole in the series but drivers are expecting tough racing tomorrow with times tight across the field.

Just half a second covered the top five that includes defending champion Allan Jarvis and the speedy Andrew Price.

The Swifts will tackle three sprint races tomorrow, all to be streamed live via www.thenationals.com.au ‘Nationals TV’ free service.

Live streaming will commence just prior to 10:30am and will be available free all day via the Shannons Nationals website.