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Sep 22, 2013

FIRST CHAMPIONS CROWNED AS SUN SHINES ON PHILLIP ISLAND

THE SUN EVENTALLY SHONE on the seventh round of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals at Phillip Island as seven national race categories put on a show full of drama and tight competition.

A wet start soon gave way to dry weather racing as the first few national-level racing champions of the season were crowned.

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge series winner Richard Muscat capped off his spectacular debut season at a national level in style today as he won the all-Porsche series' final round of the year, as well as the milestone 100th race for the category.

The Victorian ace sealed the Porsche title at the penultimate round in Queensland but continued his domination today, as he won the finale’ ahead of Jon McCorkindale and Porsche legend Peter Fitzgerald.

Local ace John Morris won the Elite division whilst John Goodacre sealed the overall Elite class title for the season.

The GT3 Cup Challenge has held a majority of their 101 championship races at Shannons Nationals events and offered the respective class winners of today’s milestone event the use of a road-going 911 Porsche for the next week – Muscat and Goodacre scoring the prize.

Ford-powered Ryan Simpson has clean-swept Round 5 of the Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car Series, winning both of today’s races after taking pole position, a new lap record and victory in Race 1 yesterday.

The Sonic Motor Racing Falcon driver now has won seven consecutive races in the series for ex-V8 Supercars, breaking the record set last year by teenager Josh Hunter.

He won the round clear of series leader Shae Davies and Matthew White, who tied on points for the weekend.

Despite missing the opening two rounds at Sydney Motorsport Park and Mallala, Simpson now sits fourth in the series and is within six points of third-placed Tony Evangelou.

Davies won the tiebreaker with White as a result of his better result in Race 3 and retains a 96-point advantage over Terry Wyhoon heading into the last round at Sandown in November.

There was plenty of drama in the Kerrick Sports Sedan series as their penultimate round of the year became a case of drivers seemingly doing their best not to take the checkered flag first.

Tony Ricciardello won two races in his famous Alfa – Chev, returning him to title contention after a tough start to the year, but it was the dramas for title rivals Kerry Bailey and Darren Hossack that changed proceedings.

Both former series champions fell afoul of strict circuit noise restrictions in race two with both cars black-flagged from proceedings, though Hossack had the minor consolation re-setting the Kerrick Series lap record in race one today.

The series’ second-placed driver, Shane Bradford, looked set to capitalise on their misfortune in race two before he too failed to finish when his car ended up in the sand trap at Lukey Heights.

Ricciardello then looked strong in the finale’ before his car received a mechanical black flag for loose front bodywork, handing the race win to Daniel Tamasi. Remarkably, Bruce Banks now leads the series with one round remaining.

The Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship will be battled out between team mates after John Magro led Tim Macrow to victory in Round 6 of the championship today at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit.

The Queenslander stormed to a decisive victory in the feature race today and closed the gap to championship leader (and Team BRM team-mate) Macrow to 34 points ahead of November’s finale at Sandown – a margin that whilst large, is not unachievable.

Magro’s fifth race win of the year was done after leading from lights to flag in a 12-lap affair. Behind Macrow, Mygale pilot Nick Foster finished third however now sits outside of championship contention. Arrie Maree won the Formula 3’s National Class.

Simon Tabinor confirmed his second consecutive Dial Before You Dig Australian Saloon Car seires, splitting the race wins this weekend with fellow Holden driver, Wayne King.

Travis Lindorff made it three Holden drivers on the podium for the weekend however it wasn’t all easy going for the Holden-versus-Ford battle this weekend, a major crash in race three bringing out the red flag before the race had completed enough laps to be classified.

Falcon driver Ryan Millier spun his car at turn four, with several other cars badly damaged as they struggled to take evasive action – the level of damage and number of cars involved calling the race short.

The Saloon Car series will contest their final round of the year at Sandown, in November.

In the Radical Australia Cup, Neale Muston continued his stunning form by taking out the second of two 50-minute endurance races contested this weekend.

Muston headed home fellow SR8-powered competitors Peter White (2nd) and Chris Medland / Greg Smith in today’s race, winning by a dominant 17 seconds. Simon Haggarty won the battle of the SR3s ahead of Liam Talbot and local driver, Gary Walker.

Race action from Phillip Island will be broadcast on SBS Speedweek over two weeks, on Sunday September 29 and then again on October 3. Replays are also scheduled on dedicated Shannons Nationals shows airing Wednesday night on 24/7 Motorsport network, SPEED TV Australia.

The Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals will return to New South Wales for the series penultimate round of 2013, the now-traditional October visit to Wakefield Park Raceway near Goulburn the next scheduled event.

The Event, on the October 18-20 weekend, will feature the Radical Australia Cup, Australian Manufacturers Championship, Australian Swift Racing series plus New South Wales Categories including the Production Touring Car Series, and more.

For more information head to www.thenationals.com.au

(This story updates)