Mar 30, 2014
75th ROUND CONCLUDES IN STYLE
THE SHANNONS Australian Motor Racing Championships have concluded their celebratory 75th round in style with a packed weekend of racing at Sandown Raceway in Melbourne.
Six top categories put on a show with a series of ultra-competitive sprint and endurance races entertaining today in perfect conditions at the suburban Melbourne venue.
The day finished with the Australian Manufacturers Championship (AMCHAMP) Sandown 3-Hour Classic, won by Melbourne father-son combination Rob and Shane Marshall, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X RS.
The pair survived the gruelling race that claimed several fancied runners early, to take the victory by less than 50-seconds ahead of the Sherrin Rentals BMW 135i driven by Grant and Iain Sherrin.
The two leading cars completed 123 laps (380km) across the three hours and led home the third-placed Mazda 3 MPS driven by Jake Camilleri and Scott Nicholas by four laps. Just twelve cars finished the tough race with the pole sitting Mitsubishi of Garry Holt and Stuart Kostera amongst the casualties – that car sidelined with mechanical issues on lap 60.
The cars finishing on the outright podium also each won their respective class battles (A, B and C) whilst the Class D battle came down to a fight to the line between two Honda teammates: the Conroy Motorsport pairing of Jake Williams / Geoff Rands edged out the sister car of Kev Herben and Luke King by just 0.2 seconds in the fight for class victory and fifth outright.
The AMChamp season of endurance continues at Phillip Island in May with the second running of the epic Great Southern Four hour enduro.
Richard Muscat wrapped up a perfect weekend in the Australian GT Championship Presented by Pirelli, sweeping to his second victory in as many starts today in his Erebus Motorsport SLS AMG GT3 – but it wasn’t an easy victory.
The Victorian star had to work his way through the field following the compulsory pit stops and only worked his way into the lead within the last fifteen minutes after a competitive battle with Aston Martin driver Tony Quinn. Muscat then had to hold off a chasing John Bowe in the Maranello Ferrari in the closing stages before he could secure the victory and an early lead in the GT standings.
Bowe and co-driver Edwards finished second in the Ferrari with an impressive drive from Ben Eggleston seeing his Aston Martin DBRS9 ultimately score third and the trophy class victory.
A late race scuffle including Tony Quinn and lapped runner Jim Manolios (Ferrari 458) saw both cars damaged in the closing stages, Quinn losing a potential podium in the process.
The Australian GT Championship returns to the Shannons Nationals in May this year, with the running of a 101-lap endurance race on the Saturday of the May 23-25 event.
Tim Berryman defeated Neale Muston in the final Radical Australia Cup 50-minute enduro today, leading the defending class champion for much of the race before holding him off in a tense finish to the race.
Muston was closing on the leader within the final few minutes of the race however a rare mistake saw him run off the circuit, surrendering any chances of continuing his incredible run of victories in the competitive Sports Car class.
Jon Corbett finished third, Chris Medland fourth and Greg Smith fifth – all running the V8-powered SR8 entries.
Oliver Smith edged out Robert Baird by just 0.9 seconds to win the SR3 ‘Race within a race’ battle today.
He’d never raced a Porsche at his home circuit before this weekend, but that didn’t stop Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Pirelli series leader Fraser Ross from sweeping to victory in round two of the one-make series at Sandown this weekend.
Following John Goodacre taking the race one victory on Saturday, Ross confidently won both of today’s 12-lap sprint races to firmly entrench himself on top of the GT3 Cup Challenge standings heading into the endurance races that make up the middle segment of the season.
Jon McCorkindale finished third, behind Goodacre, for the round to continue his good run of form. Matt Campbell won the Class B battle in his slightly older-specification 997 GT3 Cup Car.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge continues at Mallala in April with the first of three Jim Richards Endurance trophy endurance races that make up their 2014 schedule.
Ben Gersekowski continued his good form to take out round two of the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship today, winning both races and the round in emphatic fashion.
The Gilmour Racing Dallara driver had never won prior to this weekend, but Sandown delivered strong results for the Queenslander and helped close him to within three points of championship leader Simon Hodge.
Hodge finished third in today’s feature race after battling teammate – and 2013 championship runner-up – John Magro for the duration of today’s 18-lap feature. Local driver Chelsea Angelo continued her good form in the F3 National Class, taking victory in style today.
Having contested two races yesterday, the Dial Before You Dig Australian Super Six Touring Car Series concluded their opening round with a final sprint race this morning, and it didn’t disappoint – Gavin Ross charging from third to first in a single corner mid-race to take the victory.
Two race wins on Saturday, however, was enough for Travis Lindorff to continue his good Sandown form (he won at the circuit last year) and take the round victory ahead of Ross and Kane Baxter-Smith.
The Shannons Nationals continues on the April 25-27 weekend in South Australia, Round two scheduled to be held at Mallala Motorsport Park, approximately 50km north of Adelaide.
The bumper program includes the third round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Pirelli, and the second Dial Before You Dig Super Six series, plus the season kickoffs for the Kerrick Sports Sedans, Australian Sports Racer Series the new Australian Formula Ford Series plus the Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car Series.
For more information head to www.thenationals.com.au