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Apr 2, 2016

SECOND CHANCE FOR SMITH AS RACE ONE CALLED SHORT

KUMHO TYRE Australian V8 Touring Cars debutant Joshua Smith will have a chance for retribution tomorrow, after the first race of round one at Sandown was cut short and declared a non-event today.

Smith was leading the race in his Brad Jones Racing VE Holden Commodore before oil on the circuit at turn nine 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 two from pole position on Sunday morning to redeem his race one off.

Earlier, Smith qualified on pole in his Kumho series debut: 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.

The combination was best away at the start of the race, while 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).

“I had a ripper start, very happy with that as it is the first time I have done it in this car,” said Smerdon launching from fifth to second place by turn one.

“Taz had more speed than me and let I him past when he got to me.”

Meanwhile, Tyler Greenbury (ex-SBR BF) stalled on the grid but managed to restart and get away without incident as many of the field streamed past.

“I thought the light indicators on the dash meant full throttle but it was only fifty per cent and it just stalled,” said the young Karter, making his first touring car race start.

Prior to the safety car, Douglas has worked his way back to second, which became the lead when Smith went off. Smerdon held second while Steve Briffa (ex-PMM Commodore VZ) was third ahead of Heck and Loscialpo’s team mate Jim Pollicina.

Michael Anderson (ex-FPR BF) was next ahead of Greenbury and Brendon Strong in the ex-Lansvale VZ.

The Kumho Tyres V8 Touring Cars are set for two races on Sunday April 3, scheduled to start at 11:40 am and 3:10pm, respectively. Both races will be streamed live via Nationals TV with links available via the Kumho V8 Touring Cars website.

WORDS: Garry O’Brien