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May 28, 2016

MORRIS/SEARLE BMW WINS IN WET ISLAND FOUR HOUR

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The first race of the 2016 Australian Production Car Series has hosted plenty of frenetic racing amid challenging weather conditions, with a number of outright race leaders and class battles unfolding.

At the fall of the checkered flag, Paul Morris took the outright and Class A win in the Roadchill Freight Express BMW M135i he shares with Luke Searle, ahead of the Class A Tony Alford/Stu Kostera Donut King Audi TT RS.

With just 20 minutes remaining, the #1 Sherrin Rentals BMW135i of Grant and Iain Sherrin was placed to take out third outright and the Class B victory, however disaster then struck for Grant with a spin in the final corner leaving him backed up against the concrete wall.

After a valiant minutes-long effort to get back onto the in the slippery conditions, he later found himself stranded elsewhere on the track due to the ‘pigeon toed’ status of the wheels following the impact.

With Grant out of the running, it was up to David Russell to take the Class B victory in the sister Sherrin Racing car he is driving this weekend with Michael Sherrin – taking home the class win from sixth on the road ahead of the Class C Francois Jouy/Franck Donniaux Network Clothing Renault Megane.

Russell’s result came after a stellar drive in the first stint which saw him take the #19 from the rear of the grid to second in just five laps before he would take the lead from pole sitter Grant Sherrin, before handing over to co-driver Michael Sherrin just before the two hour mark.

The demise of the #1 left Rick Bates to take third outright and the victory for Class C in the Osborne Motorsport Renault Megane, after a last gasp passing of Dean Grant/Mark Eddy Class A #2 Network Clothing Audi TT RS.

Earlier in the class C battles, the George Karadimas/Geoff Russell AAW Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo Sprint lead early, before handing over the lead to Donniaux – with the two entries finishing 10th and 7th respectively.

Beric Lynton rounded out the top five outright in the Class A Bruce Lynton Prestige Automotive BMW1M he shared with Aaron Seton.

Class D was taken out with a dominating performance by Pedders Racing’s Grant Phillips and Andrew Turpie, with Phillips bringing the Toyota 86 home in 9th on the road behind the #31 Osborne motorsport car – with Adrian Mastronado and Bob Hughes at the wheel. Rounding out the top 10 was the Doug Westwood/Danny Sugden Class C #5 Falcon Fire Racing BMW.

Taking the win in Class E was the youngest ever entry for the Series – the Liam Thompson (15 years old) and Ellexandra Best (16 years old) Lauren Gray Motorsport Toyota Corolla. The pair finished 13th outright.

Class E provided plenty of action, especially early in the race. First, the #223 Katilyn Hawkins/Richard Luff/Nik Kalis Suzuki brought out a safety car due to stopping on the straight with a gearbox clip issue, before a second safety car was brought out when the Naylor brothers’ Suzuki clashed with the Scott Gore/Patrick Galang/Keith Bensley Future Assist Racing Suzuki Swift, with Gore rolling in the encounter.

Also leading the class at various junctures were the Michael Hopp/Madison Gray Hare Motorsport/DKR Mazda Eunos and the Paul Currie/Jason Walsh Hurley Smash Repairs Suzuki – with the latter leading for a large part of the race before running off-track at the end of the third hour.

The next round of the Australian Production Car Series will be held at Sydney Motorsport Park across July 1-3, 2016. For full details, go to australianproductioncars.com.au

For full race results, go to http://bit.ly/1WrH8cd

QUOTEBOARD: AUSTRALIAN PRODUCTION CARS – ROUND ONE, PHILLIP ISLAND (28 MAY 2016)

Outright and Class A winner – Luke Searle – #62 Roadchill Freight Express BMW M135i
“Everything went to plan. We started off where we needed to be. We knew we weren’t going to match the Sherrins in the dry, they have a really quick car in the dry. When everyone pitted we stayed out and I did the maximum driving time I could, then when we pitted we pitted in the lead which is always nice, and then when Paul went back out he came back out in the lead or close to it anyway. That last stint in the tricky conditions he just kept his calm and drove it straight and neat and tidy and did more than what he had to do to win. I owe it to Paul for that last stint, it was tricky conditions and he just kept it straight the whole time and got some good times out of it.”

Class B winner, 6th outright – Dave Russell – #19 Sherrin Rentals Racing BMW135i
“My history with production cars goes back to 2000 when I started racing on the national stage (in circuit racing) and it is great to be back. I found the APCS to be very well-run, the competitors were all really good and while there were some fierce battles everyone is good to race with. Today, obviously for us we had a lot of different things happening with strategy and the rain. Starting out of last was fair enough as a late entry but it was great to get into the lead of the race.  It was good fun coming through the field, the car was great in the dry and coming up to the sister car Grant knew I was coming and we got into a nice rhythm until obviously the weather interrupted things and threw a bit of a spanner in the works. We would have had a much bigger lead (without the safety cars in his stint), but that is the way races go sometimes. We came in and did our stop, and when Michael jumped in the conditions were not ideal for him – it was very, very slippery but he did a great job and did not put a foot wrong. It was good to drive the Beamer even in the trying conditions. My second stint was out in very wet weather, it was quite diabolical towards the end, but I still had a lot of fun – you definitely had to have the eyes on though and there was no room for error that was for sure. I just want to say thanks to Sherrin Rentals Racing for the late call-up. It was a great car and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was a great experience and I was happy to see the amount of cars out there enjoying the race. For me it (the Series) is definitely the way to get yourself on to the National circuits and come and be a part of it, it is a lot of fun and a good way to get into the race that is for sure.”

Class B winner, 6th outright – Michael Sherrin – #19 Sherrin Rentals Racing BMW135i 
“That was fantastic. Dave Russell did a great job after stepping in for Dave Ayres who came down crook this morning unfortunately, he was turning out the same times as Grant out there in the early stages and handed the car over to me in great condition. Unfortunately during my stint we hit wet weather and dropped back in the field, but he took over for the last 45 min and got us from about 10th or 11th and got us up to 6th in the rain so a great result all round and the first class win for us (for the #19) – I am very happy with the first class win.”

Class C winner, 3rd outright – Rick Bates – #13 Osborne Motorsport Renault Megane
“We thought if it rained in the race we would go pretty well – if it had rained all race we could have gone real well! But we did well anyway, we were pretty lucky with the weather as it fell right in spots where we could capitalise on it and then there were safety cars when we could capitalise on so it all sort of worked out perfectly for us. The team did a good job with strategy, Colin did a good job in his stints and it all fell together really well. For third in the last safety car line I knew we had to pass the Audi and I knew we had a lap or two to do it so I needed to get the job done, which happened which was good.”

Class C winner, 3rd outright – Colin Osborne – #13 Osborne Motorsport Renault Megane
“We had a little bit of luck go our way today with the weather. I think we had a good race plan and a good strategy but we also had a little bit of luck and sometimes you make your own so that was good. The team worked really well and I think this augers well for a good season for us, it has been of a hard yards since the incident back in 2014 for us but I think we are finally back where we want to be so roll on round two.”

Class D winner, 9th outright – Grant Phillips – #86 Pedders Racing Toyota 86
“We are pretty happy. It was very challenging with the wet when it happened. There were a few times where I had a go and the rear kept stepping out under power so I decided I was going to be tortoise and just stay on track. It was interesting seeing a lot of the others as they went passed and they were all over the shop and some went off, I just thought lets tread carefully here and get to the end. It was really enjoyable while it was dry and we were on pace and did some really good lap speed but yeah once the rain hit, it is not a good car to drive in the wet. I watched the front-wheel guys just drive away. But anyway we are here, the car is straight and we live to fight another day while getting a class win and 9th outright.”

Class D winner, 9th outright – Andrew Turpie – #86 Pedders Racing Toyota 86
“I was really pleased. Normally Grant starts the race and I finish so we tried something different today. So I started the race and the strategy was to keep up with some of the slower Class C cars and I had a great battle with two of them for lap after lap which was great fun. We stuck to the strategy, I had a bit of rain late in my stint which made things pretty interesting as it is very tricky to drive as a rear wheel drive car, and basically we just stayed out of trouble and made sure we could get away with just one stop and timed it well, and it all worked out well – it especially worked out for me as Grant got to have most of the fun in the wet!”

Class E winner, 13th outright – Liam Thompson – #15 Lauren Gray Motorsport Echo
“I started the race and it was quite dry, the car was really good apart from a small vibration, and then when we finished the race I didn’t actually know we had won the class. I was really happy with how everything had gone and then I found out we had the class win as well so that was a big bonus. It was a great weekend.”

Class E winner, 13th outright – Ellexandra Best – #15 Lauren Gray Motorsport Echo
“It was a great race, I feel like I made a comeback in the wet considering yesterday. I was out there in a couple of laps in the dry and then it just poured and had mixed conditions and then finally had some dry laps and I was able to improve my times a lot. It was awesome.”

For more on the APCS, please visit https://www.facebook.com/AustralianProductionCars/ or contact Iain Sherrin of Ontic Sports on 0422 449 446 or at iain@onticsports.com.au