Sep 20, 2013
AUDI SMASHES RECORDS ON FAST FRIDAY
WET WEATHER has failed to stop a slew of impressive times in practice for round seven of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit in Victoria today.
Sports Sedan champion Darren Hossack and Formula 3 points leader Tim Macrow were the two standouts of the day, dry running in their respective final practice sessions allowing them to reach previously unheard of lap times at the already high-speed circuit.
Macrow’s sub-record 1m26.0s lap in his Formula 3 Dallara was impressive enough, however Hossack’s staggering 1m26.7899s lap late in the final Kerrick Sports Sedan series practice sessions was perhaps the most surprising – almost three seconds underneath the existing race lap record for the series.
A resurface of the mighty Victorian circuit at the beginning of the year led drivers to predict quick times this weekend – though no one expected them to come quite this fast, this early.
“I thought we might do 1m26s this weekend, but not in practice,” the Chevrolet-powered Audi driver said.
“We were on fairly old rubber and the car wasn’t perfect today – we had a few issues. If it is going to be good, this is the place for it because it’s always been the best track for the car and it’s probably the best track for me as a driver, as well.
“The resurfacing helps, but if you look back at this year Tony (Ricciardello) and I have set lap records at a lot of places this year, so the pace is hot already... but a 1m26 this early is fantastic.”
Hossack bested his old rival Ricciardello today in their ongoing battle for Kerrick series supremacy – though it’s actually defending champion Kerry Baily leading the standings.
“Tony’s Alfa is probably better suited to places like Mallala and to give him his credit, he probably drives them better than me too,” Hossack said. “I struggled to catch him in the first session and I thought for a moment he might have had us here too, but we found the car had a plug lead come off.
“When we had the thing on eight cylinders it was really good and we were on top. This is my home track and my favourite track, so we are confident here.”
A lap in the 86-second bracket is uncharted territory for ‘tin tops’ at Phillip Island and today it was only a 1m26.0s lap from Tim Macrow in the final Formula 3 practice session that was quicker.
The Gold Star championship leader paced the series’ only dry session today, Mygale pilot Nick Foster comfortably fastest in the rain earlier in the day.
| Click here for a full Formula 3 report from Friday practice.
Few categories got a completely dry weather run today as passing rain showers kept competitors on their toes throughout unofficial practice.
The manic Australian Superkarts impressed with sub-record laps today, class pace setter Gary Pegoraro lapping within five seconds of Hossack’s stunning lap time – despite having an engine with less capacity than a can of soft drink.
Phil Woodbury topped the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge practice times, edging out local hero John Morris by 0.01s and newly-crowned series winner Richard Muscat by 0.1s after two sessions today. The one-make Porsche series will tackle their 100th race on Sunday morning.
Local driver Gavin Ross (Holden Commodore) was quickest in practice for the Dial Before You Dig Australian Saloon Cars today, topping 22-cars that logged laps across three practice sessions today.
He edged out Ford driver Ryan Millier by less than 0.2 seconds today, with championship leader Simon Tabinor not electing to practice his #1 Holden.
Queensland round winner Ryan Simpson topped practice in the Kumho V8 Touring Cars, though not all competitors elected to win with timing enabled today, whilst Neale Muston topped practice for the Radical Australia Cup’s second visit to Phillip Island this season.
Official competition begins on Saturday, with practice, qualifying and the first races to be held in a bumper day of on-track activity.
Racing then continues Sunday with a full program featuring seven race categories – with all of Sunday’s action to be streamed live and free on www.thenationals.com.au