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Oct 18, 2014

CELEBRATIONS AND TENSIONS HIGHLIGHT WILD WAKEFIELD DAY

A DRAMATIC day of racing at Wakefield Park has seen both the celebration of success and emotions running high as round eight of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals teed off today.

While Beric Lynton won the first of two, 200km races that complete the Australian Manufacturers Championship season, Justin Ruggier defeated season-long rival Ryan Simpson in a straight fight for the first time to score a win in the Kumho V8 Touring Cars.

Tensions boiled over in the Australian Sports Racer Series, as title contender Adam Proctor and Aaron Steer clashed while battling for second place in today’s opening race.

Proctor had earlier grabbed the championship lead thanks to pole however it was his season-long rival Roger I’Anson who got the best start and took an early lead – ultimately surviving two safety car interruptions to grab the win.

Tensions boiled over in the Australian Sports Racer Series, as title contender Adam Proctor and Aaron Steer clashed while battling for second place in today’s opening race.

Proctor had earlier grabbed the championship lead thanks to pole however it was his season-long rival Roger I’Anson who got the best start and took an early lead – ultimately surviving two safety car interruptions to grab the win.

It was an appropriate birthday present for the now 26-year-old from South Australia who went from leading, to second, and back to the series lead all in one dramatic day.

“I am feeling better (about the championship) than I was (before the race), it is always good to get a win and get some points on the board I will just give it everything,” he said.

“I’ve got nothing to lose, this year I think we have proven what we wanted to prove so hopefully we can come away with the trophy.”

Proctor found himself behind Steer in the early laps and the pair battled intensely before colliding on the run up the hill at turn three.

No penalties were assessed after the clash though observers noted both had a role in the outcome – Proctor in the contact and Steer with three laps of highly defensive driving that slowed the pair down.

Both were highly critical post-race – click here to read the full breakdown and comments from all the key protagonists.

Gavin Ross helped his title chances in the Dial Before You Dig Australian Super Six Touring Cars by taking the opening race of the series’ final round, holding out double champion Simon Tabinor and Kane Baxter-Smith in today’s race.

The Victorian Holden driver will have two further races tomorrow to try and seal his maiden title – his hopes boosted by difficulties faced by nearest rival Travis Lindorff today.

Drive of the day went to Ben Grice, who started from the back of the 21-car field but charged his way through to 6th position in a determined drive. Grice was penalised after scoring pole position in qualifying – forced to take two additional tyres on top of his allocation.

Tom Randle won a wild Australian Formula Ford Series opener today, beating home Hamish Hardeman and series leader James Golding in an unpredictable affair.

Cameron Hill and Jimmy Vernon – making his return from a broken back this weekend – completed the top five. Golding’s charge to third was impressive given he ran off the road just prior to the initial safety Car, dropping from second to seventh and well behind the leading pack.

The first of two Safety Car interruptions was required when Liam McAdam and Caitlin Wood made contact at turn two, Wood’s Synergy Racing spectrum stranded in the sand trap forcing racing to be paused.

Title contender Jordan Lloyd’s round hopes were dented after he was penalised for overlapping on the second safety car restart, after Greg Holloway’s Spectrum was stranded on the exit of the downhill ‘fish hook’ turn mid-race.

Justin Ruggier beat home Ryan Simpson to take the opening race in the penultimate round of the Kumho V8 Touring Cars Series, the first time that the rookie driver has beaten his year-long rival for a win in a straight fight.

Ruggier had earlier ended Simpson’s remarkable run of eight consecutive V8 Touring Cars pole positions when he grabbed the top spot in qualifying, before going on to covert the top spot on the grid to the win.

The pair, who have battled all season long, were never split by more than three car-lengths in a tense affair that had the Holden and Ford duo swapping the fastest race lap regularly. The victory elevates Ruggier into the points lead for the first time in his brief V8 career.

Former V8 Development Series ace Drew Russell finished third after a race long battle for the last step of the podium with Matt Chahda and Steve Briffa.

Ford driver Chahda held the spot for a majority of the race before running off the road towards the end of the race, allowing Briffa through. Russell was then able to make his move on the Poco Commodore into turn eight to grab a podium for the STR Ford team.

Beric Lynton won the first 200km Australian Manufacturers Championship (AMChamp) race, beating home Garry Holt and Stuart Kostera by just over 50 seconds in a straightforward performance.

The Eastern Creek Karts Mitsubishi had looked strong for much of the race however a lose wheel late in the race saw the team forced to make an unscheduled stop – costing them time.

Triple champion Kostera charged back to second, hunting down and passing the Luke Searle / Barry Graham BMW for second within the final five laps.

Jake Camilleri won class C in his Mazda 3 MPS and Jake Williams Class D in the Honda Integra Type R.

Action continues tomorrow with all the racing to be streamed live and free here at www.thenationals.com.au