The second day of the Shannons Nationals Presented by Penrite Oil has shaped up to be a great day of racing, with all eight categories competing this weekend hitting the Sandown Raceway circuit.
Today was also the first day of the Australian GT Trophy class, with a 16-car field making their debut for the newly developed GT category.
The Touring Car Masters, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, Sports Racers, Formula Ford, Formula 3 and Sports Sedans all completed their respective races, while the Kumho Tyres V8 Touring Cars' race was cut short and not classified.
Tomorrow's racing will begin at 9am tomorrow morning, with all of the racing live and free streamed through the Nationals TV via www.thenationals.com.au
TOURING CAR MASTERS
Jim Richards has retained his status as the king of Sandown by edging out John Bowe in a Touring Car Masters thriller today.
Starting from third, Richards jumped second-placed Bowe on the rolling start and assumed the lead when polesitter Greg Ritter pulled to the side of the road with mechanical dramas on the second lap.
The Chevy Monza driver had edged out Bowe for pole by 0.2 seconds earlier in the day however an apparent blown engine entering turn one at the start of the second lap forced him out of the race.
Richards and Bowe both lapped within 0.1s of the TCM Sandown lap record during the battle.
Steve Johnson finished third in the Synergy Race Engines GTHO Falcon, with Tony Karanfilovski finishing a sensational fourth and first in ProAm class after a superb run.
Eddie Abelnica finished fifth ahead of Jason Gomersall a storming sixth, having started the race ninth in the iseek Racing Torana.
Glenn Seton failed to finish after pulling off to the side of the road on lap three with damage to the front of his car, while Greg Garwood was one of several drivers caught up in a lap one, turn one drama at the start of the race – though all cars were able to re-join without issue. Seton's damage was related to the turn one drama.
Two further races will complete the second round of the 2016 Touring Car Masters series tomorrow.
AUSTRALIAN GT TROPHY
The Australian GT Trophy class made its first-ever appearance today at the Sandown circuit, with an impressive 16-car field fronting up the practice and qualifying sessions today.
Greg Taylor's Audi R8 LMS was quickest out of the box in practice, but it was the Dodge Viper of Garth Rainsbury that took pole for tomorrow's race with a time of 1:11.0354s.
Taylor qualified second behind Rainsbury, with MARC Cars Australia entries of Morgan Haber and Jake Camilleri rounding out the second row of the grid.
The Lamborghini LP560 GT entry of Jan Jinadasa with fifth, with Mathew Turnbull, Rob Smith, Jed Wallis, Scott Hookey and Michael Benton rounding out the top ten.
The Australian GT Trophy class will make their way onto the Sandown circuit for two races tomorrow afternoon.
PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE
Ryan Simpson picked up where he left off in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Pirelli – sweeping to a commanding race victory and a new lap record in the opening race of the 2016 season today at Sandown.
Starting from second on the grid, Simpson made the perfect start and was never headed on his way to a comfortable victory over his teammate Hamish Hardeman and polesitter Jaxon Evans.
Tim Miles won the Elite class after class leader David Ryan crashed at turn seven with two laps remaining in the race, while Daniel Stutterd stormed to the Class B victory ahead of Michael Tsigeridis.
Ryan held off the advances of the young charger for three laps however Evans finally slipped past at turn nine on the lap four – pulling away in pursuit of the leaders.
Ryan then fell into the clutches of Miles, the pair running in close company until the penultimate lap, when Ryan locked a brake at Turn 6 – running off the road at high speed.
The Sydney driver emerged unscathed from the accident, while Miles inherited fourth place and the class race victory ahead of John Goodacre and Sam Shahin.
Brian Finn, series rookie Jake Klarich, Anthony Gilbertson and Michael Vati completing the top 10.
Class B winner Stutterd had qualified second in class but stormed to the class win in style today, finishing 12th outright in his earlier generation Porsche 997 GT3 Cup Car.
Two further races will complete the opening round of the 2016 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia season tomorrow.
Kumho TYRES V8 TOURING CARs
Kumho Tyre Australian V8 Touring Cars debutant Joshua Smith will have a chance for retribution tomorrow, after the first race of the first round at Sandown was cut short and declared a non-event today.
Brad Jones Racing's Smith was leading the race before oil on the circuit at Turn 9 caused him to spin and end his race bunkered in the Dandenong Road sand trap.
The safety car was deployed and because of concerns about the safety of the circuit, officials called the race at the end of the sixth lap.
With some confusion from race control at the finish of the race – some cars pitted and some crossed the line - the race was declared with no results posted, meaning Smith will get a chance to start Race 2 from pole position on Sunday morning to redeem his race one off.
Earlier, Smith qualified on pole in his Kumho series debut, with the result also the first pole for the VE Holden Commodore in Kumho Series competition as well as the first for the BJR team is its series debut.
Taz Douglas in the ex-Kelly Racing VE bogged down and slipped to fourth behind the Fords of Chris Smerdon (ex-SBF Falcon FG) and Jason Heck (ex-FPR Falcon BF).
Meanwhile, Tyler Greenbury (ex-SBR BF) stalled on the grid but managed to restart and get away without incident as majority of the field streamed past.
The Kumho Tyres V8 Touring Cars are set for two races tomorrow.
KERRICK SPORTS SEDANS
Nine-time Kerrick Sports Sedan champion Tony Ricciardello may have bagged the quickest time in qualifying and started pole for the first ever race of the 2016 season, but it was Jack Perkins who took top honours taking the first race win of the season.
Perkins battled hard with Ricciardello throughout the opening race, with the current champion taking second place.
The Corvette of David Wall finished third, ahead of Daniel and Steven Tamasi who finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Bell Real Estate's Michael Robinson took sixth, infront of Dean Camm, Stuart Inwood, Michael Benton and Tony Alford rounding out the top 10.
The Kerrick Sports Sedans will be on track twice again tomorrow for races two and three, with the Des Wall Trophy up for grabs in the final race of the weekend.
The Australian Formula Ford Series had a busy day, with the drivers on track for their qualifying and two races.
Rookie racer Jayden Ojeda made a strong stance in qualifying with pole, ahead of Jordan Boys, Adrian Lazzaro and Leanne Tander, but it was Tander's strong experience that took out the first race win of the season.
Ojeda was second in the opening race, ahead of Victorian Lazzaro in third.
Jordan Boys was fourth, ahead of debutant Max Vidau, Peter Major and Liam McLellan rounding out the top eight.
Race 2 was action-packed, and the battle continued with Ojeda and Tander with the pair swapping positions throughout the race.
The rookie from Victoria took the final win of the day, ahead of Tander and an impressive Vidau rounding out the top three.
Gibbons crossed the line in fourth, with Ben Reichstein, Jordan Boys, Lucas Filkotzias and Peter Major rounding out the top eight positions.
The Formula Ford drivers will hit the Sandown circuit tomorrow afternoon for the final race of the round at 2:00pm.
The Australian Formula 3 Premier Series kicked off its first round for their season today, with Qualifying and Race 1.
The two-time Australian Formula 3 Champion Tim Macrow was the victor in today's qualifying and race, taking pole position and also the first race win of the season.
Gilmour Racing's Christopher Anthony also had a strong return to the championship, with the Cooma driver taking second place ahead of Team BRM's Trent Shirvington.
Nathan Kumar was fourth outright and also first in the National class, with Ross McAlpine taking the win in Kumho Cup.
Cameron Shields qualified strong for his debut in the category with third, but an opening lap incident with Roland Legge saw the pair retire the race early.
Formula 3 will be back on track tomorrow for their final two races.
The first Australian Sports Racer Series race for 2016 and the first for the series at Sandown Raceway was claimed by Jason Makris this afternoon.
The SR2 competitor qualified third earlier in the day, and pulled off an impressive passing maneuverer off the start in his new Marina Mirage West.
2014 Series runner-up Roger I’Anson and defending champion Mark Laucke set chase with Josh Townsend in close pursuit, but after a gear changing issue Laucke slowed and saw him finish fifth.
From there, Makris commanded the race ahead of a charging Townsend, with the pair crossing the finish line just 0.5 second apart.
On his way to second place overall and the F1000 win, Townsend would set the fastest lap of the race.
Third across the line was John Morriss in the Motorsport Leasing P/L Radical, with the Victoria Radical distributor leading an intense battle pack across the line to take out the Radical honours for the race.
The Australian Sports Racer Series action continues on Sunday with two races set to begin early tomorrow morning.
All images credit to Nathan Wong
A full list of race results are available at www.natsoft.com.au