Apr 26, 2014
SIMPSON TAKES KUMHO SERIES OPENER
RYAN SIMPSON has opened his 2014 Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car Series campaign in style by taking a strong victory in the season opener at Mallala today.
Simpson, driving an ex-Triple Eight Racing Ford BF Falcon, qualified on pole but had to battle fellow Falcon driver Matt Chahda for the lead in the opening lap of today’s 14-lap affair.
Chahda, who qualified a career-best second, got a slower start than Simpson however was able to grab the lead when the polesitter ran wide at the opening corner. He held on until later in the opening lap when Simpson sliced down the inside to re-take the lead at turn seven.
Chahda looked set for a career best result until mid-race when a loose right-rear wheel – thanks to ‘broken wheel lugs’ – forced him to retire on lap nine.
Simon Tabinor spun into the gravel at turn seven on the same lap, bringing out the Safety Car for a two-lap intervention whilst the car was recovered.
His misfortune elevated Justin Ruggier to second on his Kumho series race debut and the gamer-turned-racer was able to hold out local hope and former series champion Chris Smerdon following the restart.
Simpson was never troubled following the restart and comfortably led the final three racing laps home to record his 10th career race win – equal to former champion Josh Hunter and Tony Evangelou for third on the all-time list.
Simpson also broke the existing Mallala race lap record, setting a new benchmark of 1m10.1865s on lap 3. Scott Loadsman held the previous benchmark, set in 2011.
Matt Palmer finished a strong fourth and Gerard McLeod fifth after making a late call to compete this weekend in Palmer’s second ex-Brad Jones Racing BF Falcon.
V8 Ute Racer Craig Dontas finished sixth, ahead of Shane Hunt, Chris Delfsma, Lyle Kearns and Steve Briffa.
Briffa had run third on the opening lap however was shuffled back to fifth on the fourth lap after Ruggier and then Tabinor worked their way past. He later ran off the road at turn five and dropped back to his eventual finishing position on the edge of the top 10.
The Kumho V8 Touring Cars Series returns for a further two races to complete the opening round on Sunday – with both races to be streamed live via www.thenationals.com.au