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Mar 28, 2015

SATURDAY: RACING SEASON UNDERWAY AT SANDOWN

THE FIRST winners of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals season commenced their respective seasons in style today at Sandown Raceway.

Opening races for seven of the eight competing categories this weekend went racing today, a variety of race winners featuring on a competitive day at the Suburban Melbourne venue.

The first races of the season for the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship, Formula Ford, Sports Sedans, V8 Touring Cars, Porsche GT3 Cup and Super Six touring Cars were contested today, while Round 1 of the Radical Australia Cup was run in its entirety.

Sunday’s action commences at 9:10am local time and will be streamed live at the Shannons Nationals website, free-to-view, from 9:00am.

Tickets are available at the gate for $25 with a full program of races, including the Sandown 3 Hour classic to conclude the round.

Check out www.thenationals.com.au for more information.

AUSTRALIAN MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIP

HSVs RETURN to the front lines of Australian Production Car racing has started well thanks to pole position for Jim Pollicina and Geoff Emery for Sunday’s Sandown 3 Hour classic.

The HSV Gen-F GTS rocketed to pole in this morning’s AMChamp qualifying, Emery’s 1m18.4276s lap a full 0.9 seconds under last year’s benchmark and 0.3s faster than the chasing Mitsubishi Lancer EVO driven by Rick Bates, Aaron Seton and Bob Pearson.

A rain shower ensured times didn’t improve in the second session, leaving HSV first, Mitsubishi second and the BMW 135i of Iain and Grant Sherrin in third – and first in class B.

Melbourne father-son combination Rob and Shane Marshall will start the four-hour in fourth place in their Mitsubishi.

KUMHO V8 TOURING CARS SERIES


JACK PERKINS headed teammate Liam McAdam home in a convincing Eggleston Motorsport 1-2 in today’s Kumho V8 Touring Car series season opener.

The Holden Racing Team enduro co-driver convincingly qualified on pole position and led the duration of the opening race, though the competition behind sets up a competitive battle ahead.

Matt Palmer (ex-Brad Jones Racing Falcon) finished third, Jim Pollicina (ex-Tasman Motorsport commodore) fourth and Steve Briffa fifth in his ex-Paul Morris VZ Commodore.

Western Australian rookie teenagers Jake Kostecki, 15, and Alex Rullo, 14, were highly impressive and qualified third and fourth on their debuts.

However their first Kumho Series race didn’t go to plan with Rullo retiring after just two laps and Kostecki one lap down in 14th after dramas.

The Kumho V8 Touring Car series concludes it’s opening round tomorrow with a further two races.

RADICAL AUSTRALIA CUP


GREG SMITH and gun co-driver Karl Reindler have combined to win the opening round of the Radical Australia Cup today at Sandown.

Sharing their No. 78 Radical SR8 V8 today, Smith won the first sprint race, Reindler the second before the pair combined to win the 40-minute feature in style later in the afternoon, taking the flag by nearly 40 seconds.

Reindler set a new Radical lap record at Sandown in his solo sprint race, his 1m07.9933s lap a full second quicker than the benchmark established by Berryman in race one, earlier in the day.

Andrew McInnes held out Neale Muston for the final spot on the podium, the pair running close together before Muston slipped back late in the race.

Oliver Smith, Peter Paddon and Kim Burke completed the top three in the SR3 class, and finished fourth, fifth and sixth outright respectively.

AUSTRALIAN FORMULA FORD SERIES


HAMISH HARDEMAN scored pole position in the opening round of the Australian Formula Ford Series at Sandown – and backed it up with a strong victory in the opening race of the season.

The Sonic Motor Racing driver scored pole by 0.2s – when the top eight were covered by just 0.5s – and then went on to win the opening 10-lap race ahead of teammate Christian Morina and Jake Spencer, all in Mygale chassis.

Mitch Martin and Adrian Lazzaro finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in their Spectrums.

KERRICK SPORTS SEDAN SERIES

DARREN HOSSACK looked to have the opening race of the new Kerrick Sports Sedan series shot to pieces at Sandown, however a lengthy mid-race Safety Car cost the Audi-Chev driver dearly today.

His car overheated whilst running at slow speed during the safety car period and a small fire caused him to pull out of the race two laps from home.

Thomas Randle was handed the victory in his Kerrick-sponsored SAAB-chev, with defending champion Tony Ricciardello second and six-time champ Kerry Baily third in his Aston Martin DBR9.

Defending Bathurst 1000 champion Paul Morris showed the potential of his MARC Cars Australia Ford Focus in sprint-race competition, finishing fifth on debut behind only the significantly more powerful purpose-built cars at the front of the field.

FORMULA 3 AUSTRALIAN DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP


A LAST LAP pass set up Ricky Capo for his maiden victory in the Gold Star, the Victorian driver scything pass Jon Collins on the final lap to score his debut victory in the category.

Gilmour Racing driver Collins led the race early from pole position – his first in Formula 3 - but a mid-race Safety Car slowed his progress and brought Capo back into contention. After spending several laps closing on the leader, he attacked on the final lap and passed the leader after running side-by-side across the top of the daunting rise in the back straight.

It was the first win for the Melbourne teenager who impressed in his rookie season last year. Capo has upgraded to a new Dallara this season; a car once used by current Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez in Europe.

Formula Vee graduate Luke Spalding finished third outright on his debut in the category and also won the National class as well.

PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE PRESENTED BY PIRELLI

Series experience meant little in the opening race of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli with three debutants sharing class victories, with newcomer Ryan Simpson taking the outright win.

Simpson took pole position in a rain interrupted qualifying session and continued to set the pace from the race start; pulling a gap on the field in the opening laps.

"I nailed the start and stayed ahead of the other guys and tried to get a gap on cold tyres. After the safety car I took off and gapped the field in the first couple of laps so I'm pretty happy with that. I'm still getting acclimatised to the Porsche but it’s great to have good pace while I'm still learning the car," said Simpson.

Emery held on to claim second, the first of the Elite Class finishers, from McCorkindale, John Goodacre, John Karytinos, Dylan O'Keeffe, Tim Miles and David Ryan in eighth.

DIAL BEFORE YOU DIG SUPER SIX TOURING CARS

TRAVIS LINDORFF and Gavin Ross split the honours in the pair of Dial before You dig Australian Super Six Touring Car Series today at Sandown.

Lindorff won race one and Ross the second, tomorrows finale’ set to be a winner-take-all finale between the two Holden Commodore drivers.

Garry Hills split Ross and Lindorff in the second race in a day dominated by the six-cylinder Commodores.

Ben Grice had stormed to pole position earlier in the weekend however gearbox issues dampened any chances of him scoring strong results in today’s races.

The Super six Touring Cars conclude their weekend tomorrow morning with the final race.