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Apr 29, 2014

MALLALA OPENER FALLS TO SIMPSON

Sydney Falcon driver clean sweeps South Australian round of V8 Touring Cars

RYAN SIMPSON has opened his 2014 Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car Series campaign in style by taking a comfortable victory in the season opener at Mallala Motorsport Park today.

After claiming victory in Saturday’s opening race, the Sydney-based driver won both of Sunday’s races.

He finished 4.2-seconds clear of impressive rookie Justin Ruggier in the 15-lap race and then just under 10 seconds clear of Ruggier in the longer 20-lap final.

The Parramatta Smash Repairs driver also set a new lap record of 1m10.1865s in Race 1 on Saturday, slicing two-tenths of a second from the previous mark

Simpson, driving a Triple Eight-built Falcon raced by Craig Lowndes in the 2008 V8 Supercars Championship, now holds a handy 20-point lead in the series after the first of six rounds.

Ruggier was perhaps the star of the weekend in Eggelston Motorsport’s ex-Rick Kelly, Toll HSV Dealer Team Commodore.

While experienced in a range of racing categories on real tracks, he’s also a highly credentialed online simulator racing and proved his talents to finish second for the round.

South Australian veteran Chris Smerdon finished third overall in his return to the category with Matt Chahda recovering from a Race 1 retirement to clinch fourth for the weekend – a personal best result.

Sydney Commodore driver Steve Briffa finished fifth overall clear of Matthew Palmer, reigning Saloon Car Champion Simon Tabinor, V8 Ute ace Craig Dontas (making his Kumho Series debut), Gerard McLeod, Shane Hunt (debuting an ex-Triple Eight Falcon) and John Vergotis.

A jammed throttle took the returning Chris Delfsma out of the final race in his ex-Fujitsu Falcon while Queenslander Lyle Kearns was also a retirement from the 20-lap final.

A total of 12 cars competed in the opening round of the series for ex-V8 Supercars with stronger numbers expected for the next round of the Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car Series.

It will be held at Winton Motor Raceway on June 14-15.