Apr 2, 2016
JASON MAKRIS STORMS TO MAIDEN SPORTS RACER WIN
Class winners: Jason Makris (SR2, 1st overall), josh Townsend (F1000, 2nd overall), John Morriss (Radical, 3rd overall), Mark Laucke (SR1, 5th overall)
The first Australian Sports Racer Series race for 2016 and the first for the series at Sandown Raceway has been claimed by Jason Makris this afternoon.
The SR2 competitor started third and pulled off an impressive passing maneuverer off the start in his new #44 Marina Mirage West, overtaking the front row of the grid on the outside of the straight to lead to the first corner by a couple of car lengths.
2014 Series runner-up Roger I’Anson (#14 Ken’s Exhaust Systems West) and defending champion Mark Laucke (#55 Laucke Flour Mills West) set chase with Josh Townsend (#9 DSR Downunder F1000) in close pursuit, and the battle was on for a number of laps.
Laucke would get I’Anson on lap three, before a gear changing issue saw him slow, eventually finishing the race in fifth and first in the SR1 ranks.
I’Anson would press on to chase Makris, taking the lead temporarily through turn two on lap six, but the Gold Coast resident was quick to take it back later in the same lap. Two laps later, he would try again, only to have a fuse in his fuel pump blow. The engineer from South Australia would attempt to get back to the pits, but was unable to make the distance and instead was forced to park up at the last corner.
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 striking red #34 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.
Earlier in the 10 lap stanza, John-Paul Drake was an early exit, finding himself and his colourful #66 West beached on turn 9 on lap one after he overshot the corner; while Adam Cranston (#56 West) retired on lap five with a broken driveshaft, and Michael Whiting (#33 Taylor Collision/Laucke Flour Mills West) found himself on the sidelines after locking a wheel and spinning on lap six.
For Cranston, the damage cannot be fixed at the track, however Aaron Steer of West Race Cars Australia has volunteered his steed (the #2 West Race Cars F1000) for Cranston's use. After gaining approval from CAMS and his fellow drivers, Cranston will now start tomorrow's race three from the rear of the grid in the #2.
The Australian Sports Racer Series action continues on Sunday (3 April 2016) with races two and three at 9.10am and 1.05pm local time (note: daylight savings ends on 3 April 2016).
QUOTEBOARD: SATURDAY 2 APRIL, 2016 – SANDOWN RACEWAY, ROUND ONE OF 2016
JASON MAKRIS – RACE WINNER AND SR2 WINNER - #33 MARINA MIRAGE WEST
“It took a while but we got there (to the first Sports Racer win). It feels great, I am really happy and excited, and am ready for race two tomorrow,” said Makris. “It just felt like I got the start right, the car was solid and it just got around Mark (Laucke). It felt like the two leader cars just bogged down a bit so I just took it. It was good to get the start, the car is a little bit heavier than everyone else’s. On the start I was planning to just do a nice gentle launch and it just worked out perfectly. It surprised me a bit, especially that the guys at the front didn’t get a lighting start, and then I just went around them and got that little bit of a gap from there that was good. Roger got me mid-way around turn two but I took it back over the sweeper at the back, it was a bit dicey but I took it. I feel really bad for Rog’, he puts in a lot of effort and he is a great driver – it was very difficult to hold him behind me and I am looking forward to tomorrow, hopefully he comes out firing.”
JOSH TOWNSEND – SECOND OVERALL AND F1000 WINNER - #9 DSR DOWNUNDER F1000
“The car is feeling pretty quick, we had a few little issues to manage during the race but we could hang with the front guys and then managed to get on top of it towards the end of the race and show a bit more of our true speed. It’s so far, so good for the DSR Downunder Car. There shouldn’t be too much to touch on the car, we will just try and squeeze a bit more speed out of it, hopefully get off the start line a bit faster then we did in that race, and just go from there.”
JOHN MORRISS – THIRD OVERALL AND RADICAL WINNER - #34 MOTORSPORT LEASING P/L RADICAL
“That was a good result,” said Morriss. “They made a change this morning and it worked fine, I am happy with that, the times were okay and nearly on our qualifying pace, so that was good. It was good fun (having the big pack behind me), the guy behind me drove well, it was good. We will have a look at the data overnight but we don’t think the car needs to be changed.”
MARK LAUCKE – FIFTH OVERALL AND SR1 WINNER - #55 LAUCKE FLOUR MILLS WEST
“The gear changing mechanism on this car is a beautifully crafted piece of equipment, but it just doesn’t work properly,” laughed Laucke. “It has had trouble changing up gears all weekend and we don’t know why, we have adjusted this and adjusted that and now this beautiful system is going in the bin and being replaced tonight by an Australian-made Motec system, so we will see how that works.
“When Jason went past me at the start I was just google-eyed, I was amazed and I just had the biggest grin. Roger and I were side by side and Roger was in the best position for the first corner so all three of us were there. Jason was holding us up in the corners because he is a bit heavier and not yet set up properly in his new car, but he was accelerating well out of the corners, so it was on for a great dice. I sat behind the two of them watching and then I thought that I could get out of the corners a bit quicker than Roger so I set myself up to do that – I was able to get up next to him going up the straight but Roger and I have too much respect for each other so I wasn’t going to do anything silly or force my way into the corner. I got a good run on the back straight and got up on the inside of him on turn 6 and I got past him, but then my gear stuck and then he had fuel pump issues! That’s motor racing though.”