Nov 2, 2014
RUGGIER CROWNED KUMHO V8 CHAMPION IN SYDNEY FINALE
Claims final round victory to top off successful rookie season in V8 Touring Cars
SYDNEY driver Justin Ruggier has been crowned 2014 Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car Series Champion in the final round at Sydney Motorsport Park.
The Eggleston Motorsport driver claimed pole position and Race 1, finished second in Race 2 to main rival Ryan Simpson and then claimed the crown in style with an all-the-way win in the final 12-lap race.
The victory also gave his EMS team a unique double, adding the Kumho Series crown to the V8 Supercar Development Series title it sealed at Bathurst three weeks ago with Paul Dumbrell.
Ruggier’s VZ Commodore also drove into the history books by becoming the first car to claim titles in all three tiers of V8 racing.
It won the 2006 V8 Supercar Championship with Rick Kelly and the 2007 Development Series with Tony D’Alberto before claiming the V8 Touring Car crown today with Ruggier.
“I was really emotional in the car after the race and broke out into tears,” said the new champ.
“It’s an amazing feeling. I’m actually lost for words. It’s been a massive year to get to the grid and what a year it’s been for EMS with two championships in two categories in the one year. It’s all quite unbelievable.”
For Simpson, being stopped from competing in the final race of Round 4 at Phillip Island due to noise restrictions and a 10 point penalty at Wakefield Park for contact with Ruggier created a hill too high to climb this weekend.
Simpson finished 54 points behind Ruggier in the end, however his 10 race wins for the season is a new record for the V8 Touring Car category.
STR Truck Bodies Falcon driver Matt Palmer took third for the round – the result also enough for the Melbourne-based pilot to claim third overall in the series in his ex-John Bowe Falcon.
The former Saloon Car driver’s second season in the Kumho Series also saw him finish third behind Ruggier and Simpson in the class for cars equipped with sequential gearboxes.
Poco Racing Commodore driver Steve Briffa came home third in today’s final race to clinch the pointscore for cars equipped with H-pattern gearboxes despite gearbox problems both today and in Race 1 yesterday. He finished fifth overall in the Kumho Series.
Matt Chahda won the H-pattern round today in Sydney and ended the year fourth in the overall series.
The 2015 Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car Series for ex-V8 Supercars will commence at Sandown in Victoria next March at the opening event of the Shannons Nationals.