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Nov 13, 2015

RAIN HALTS PLAY IN SYDNEY TEST

ACROSS TEN years of racing the Shannons Nationals has had its fair share of ‘extreme’ weather events – from scorching heat at Mallala to snow in Goulburn and flooding at Phillip Island.

That makes it appropriate that practice for the final round of the 2015 season would be similarly affected by the elements – a massive storm and torrential rain interrupting practice at Sydney Motorsport Park today.

Friday started fine in Sydney’s west but an early afternoon thunderstorm significantly delayed proceedings and created a wet track for the final few practice sessions.

The battle for the Kumho V8 Touring Cars series commenced in the dry sessions this morning, Liam McAdam topping title rival Alex Rullo by just 0.1 seconds in his Eggleston Motorsport Commodore.

In his first drive of a Holden Commodore in the Kumho Series, Steven Devjak was third in his Warlord / Steve Briffa Racing entry with Jim Pollicina fourth and Queenslander Jason Heck fifth.

Making their return to the Australian Manufacturers Championship this weekend, Sydney driver Dylan Thomas and triple AMChamp champion Stuart Kostera topped practice for the Australian Four Hour today, edging out Bob Pearson’s similar Mitsubishi by just 0.1s.

Thomas and Kostera have sat out the 2015 season however have prior form together – rekindling a partnership that saw them win regularly throughout the 2013 season.

Kostera’s return comes on the day he was ranked third in the Shannons Nationals top-10 drivers of the decade list and at a location that cruelly robbed them of a victory two years ago.

He’s also the defending winner of the Sydney AMChamp enduro, having won the race with Garry Holt when it was last held in July 2014.

“I am really happy to be back here with Dylan this year as he and I lost it in 2013 on the last lap due to a fuel issue. It is really nice to be back here with him as we want to win it and have the trophy this time, rather than win it and not have the trophy.

“For me personally to go back to back – or should we say three in row, I guess it depends on who you ask – would be really excellent,” laughed Kostera.

Jack Perkins topped the dry running in practice for the Kerrick Sports Sedans, comfortably quicker than Shannons Nationals driver of the decade Tony Ricciardello on combined times today.

Sydneysider Birol Cetin was third fastest of the timed runners in his six-litre Chevrolet Camaro, showing that local knowledge could play a role this weekend.

Title contenders Steven Tamasi and Tom Randle didn’t run timing transponders today as they seek to stop Ricciardello from making eight titles nine by the end of the weekend.

Ryan Simpson and Dylan O’Keefe were first and second respectively in practice for the final round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia Series, Simpson 0.7s faster than the young-gun in the Dexion Porsche.

Despite the fact the Porsche title has been decided in Simpson’s favour already there remains plenty to play for amongst the strong grid this weekend.

Both the Elite and Class B titles are wide open, John Goodacre and Geoff Emery to fight for the elite division and youngsters Jaxon Evans and Aaron Seton to do the same in Class B.

Championship leader Mark Laucke topped practice for the final round of the Australian Sports Racer series, 0.3s quicker than Jonathan Stoeckel’s West.

South Australian driver Roger I’Anson – who was a title contender last year – was scheduled to run this weekend however engine dramas in the first practice session have ruled out the West racer for the remainder of the weekend.

The Radical Australia Cup competitors also practiced today however only selected competitors were timed during the unofficial sessions on Friday morning.

An action-packed Saturday will see all of the action from the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge and Radical Australia Cup conclude, while qualifying for the Australian 4 Hour will set the grid for Sunday's enduro.

The Kerrick Sports Sedans, Sports Racer and Kumho V8 Touring Cars will also each tackle their opening races of the final round.

Live timing will be avaialble via Natsoft.com.au whilst Sunday's action will be streamed live via Nationals TV.