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Oct 18, 2013

FRIDAY POINTS TO CLOSE AMCHAMPS FIGHT

IT MAY BE early days however a close fight at the front is evolving in the fourth round of the Australian Manufacturers Championship (AMChamps) series this weekend at Wakefield Park.

The production-based series headlines round eight of the Shannons Nationals this weekend and a close battle of the brands is in store.

Click here for a full image gallery from today's sessions at the Shannons Nationals Facebook page..

Through three unofficial practice sessions held in perfect condition today, Dylan Thomas edged out defacto points leader Garry Holt’s near identical Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution by just 0.1 seconds.

Thomas’ 1m05.64s lap was the fastest of the day as the AMChamps field readies for two tough 200km races across this weekend’s Shannons Nationals event at the Goulburn circuit.

A strong showing from the brand-new BMW M135 of former Super Touring racer Luke Searle saw him third today with more to come from the still brand-new entry. Searle’s entry adds to the already strong BMW fleet with Donut King Racer Tony Alford and Beric Lynton – both in their BMW 1Ms – also likely to be competitive this weekend.

A strong battle in Class C is also evolving with the Mark Eddy / Francois Jouy Renault RS 265 making its competitive debut today, posting solid lap times that offer hope that it can become a realistic class challenger to the dominant Grand Prix Mazda 3 MPS driven by Jake Camilleri.

Three-time Australian Rally Champion Neal Bates cut laps in the Pedders Racing Toyota 86 in an effort to help the teams’ development curve during the unofficial sessions today.

“It’s great to be part of this team and the car felt really good from the outset,” Bates said.

“It feels really good, probably goes better than I expected, it stops better than what I expected with standard brakes, the handling and everything about it was perfect, I couldn’t have asked for more.

“With some new tyres, it’ll be well into the times the team are aiming for which is unbelievably fast for a two litre naturally aspirated car. It’s an amazing car and I’m really happy to have joined Pedders Racing for a quick visit and to have come and had the drive.

“I’ve done a lot of Production Car racing, and it’s something I really enjoy. Grant (Phillips) keeps thanking me for coming along, and I keep saying thanks for having me, I really enjoyed it.”

Meanwhile, the Radical Australia Cup hit the circuit for their first outing at Wakefield Park since the introduction of the V8-powered SR8 models in the championship.

On his debut in the SR8, former Formula 3 racer Tim Berryman topped the times today with a very impressive 55.8-second lap – not far from the outright track record which stands at 54.6 seconds.

Berryman holds the circuit’s Radical Australia Cup record at 58.3 seconds (set in 2011) and makes his welcome return to the category this weekend.

Neale Muston was second whilst the four-cylinder SR3s were closely bunched in practice, Phil Anseline leading Liam Talbot by less than 0.5 seconds today.

The Australian Swift Racing Series’ unofficial practice was combined with the three AMChamps sessions today, Luke Fraser topping the times in two of the three sessions.

Cars from the NSW Production Touring Cars, HQ Holdens and Formula Fords also completed laps today however, like a majority of the Shannons Nationals competitors, with Friday practice being an unofficial part of the meeting timing was not mandatory today.