Apr 3, 2016
DOUGLAS SWEEPS COMMODORE TO SANDOWN V8 TOURING CAR WIN
Douglas won all three races at Sandown, though his clean-sweep came in controversial circumstances following race one on Saturday being cut short and half points awarded.
Race officials had originally declared the race a non-result however further assessment overnight saw them revise their decision and allocate half points, with results based at the end of the fifth lap.
That ensured Douglas scored his first Kumho series win with Chris Smerdon second and Steve Briffa third.
His two victories on Sunday didn’t come easy either, the former Bathurst 1000 runner-up twice having to pass rivals for the lead before being able to secure the victory.
“We got off to a good start of the year and the boys from Adelaide gave me a good car,” Douglas said.
“We have a few dramas off the start line! It’s a cracking pace out there with Tyler and Bryce pushing me the while way and later on in the year I reckon they’ll be pushing me even more. It’s going to be a good year.”
Douglas’ path to victory came despite a flying start from Jim Pollicina - one that saw him jump from sixth to the lead in race two. It took five laps before he was ultimately hunted down and passed by Douglas, Bryce Fullwood and Tyler Greenbury.
Douglas then battled with that same pair in race three before working his way to the front at half-race distance.
The round victory came on Douglas’ debut in the Kumho series and was the first race wins for the THR Developments squad since Chris Smerdon won at Mallala in 2012.
Fullwood and impressive rookie Tyler Greenbury completed a podium full of Kumho series first-timers.
“It’s been awesome for me to learn off someone like Taz, the calibre of driver that he is,” Fullwood said.
“I’m learning a lot and I’d really like to thank Matt White and his team. They gave me an awesome car and they’ve done a lot of development on it which has really stepped the car up.”
Fullwood also set a new Kumho series Sandown race lap record, besting Jack Perkins’ 2015 benchmark with a 1m11.1302s flyer set late in race two as he chased ultimate winner Douglas.
Brad Jones Racing’s rookie Josh Smith had a challenging debut to the world of V8 racing – the reversal of results in race one ultimately costing the youngster from Townsville.
After ending the first race beached in the gravel Smith was set to start from pole – where he qualified – for race two before officials in race control elected to classify the race.
As a result he started race two from the back of the field, storming to 7th at the end of 12 laps.
That improved further to a strong fifth by the end of race three to end the weekend eighth overall and with a pole position to his credit.
Jim Pollicina’s privateer class win backed up his victory in the class title last year, the Sydney driver grabbing finishes of fifth, fourth and sixth across the three races to kick off his 2016 campaign in style.
Steve Briffa finished second in the privateer class with Jason Heck third in his ex-FPR Falcon.
The close confines of Sandown caught several people out throughout the weekend: Sam Morabito and Michael Anderson two to suffer damage in the final race of the weekend.
Morabito stopped with significant frontal damage to his VE Commodore exiting turn four, bringing out the Safety Car and bunching up the field for a one lap dash to the flag.
On her Kumho series debut, Emily Duggan had a challenging weekend after failing to finish races one and two – however that turned around in the finale’ with the V8 first-timer showing significant improvement to finish 11thand in front of several experienced campaigners.
The next round of the Kumho V8 Touring Car Series will be contested at Winton Motor Raceway with the V8 Supercars on May 20-22.
Highlights of the opening round will be broadcast on SBS Speedweek in coming weeks – check the V8 Touring Cars website for details.
CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS – After 1 of 5 rounds.
- Taz Douglas 120
- Bryce Fullwood 88
- Tyler Greenbury 87
- Chris Smerdon 79
- Jim Pollicina 69
- Jason Heck 60
- Steve Briffa 57
- Joshua Smith 55
- Brendan Strong 39
- Jack Sipp 33
- Jim Pollicina 116
- Steve Briffa 104
- Jason Heck 100