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Sep 9, 2016



At the opening round of the year, Jonathon Stoeckel’s racing exploits came to a fiery end when his car caught fire and suffered considerable damage during Sunday’s racing action.

After missing two rounds for repairs, the privateer entry of Jonathon and his dad Bryan is now back on track – at the venue of his maiden Australian Sports Racer Series win (2015, Phillip Island) no less.

Stoeckel is part of a 12-strong field at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit this weekend, for what is the penultimate round of the 2016 ASRS season.

Three practice sessions were held today in inclement weather conditions, ahead of Qualifying and Race 1 tomorrow.

“Sandown certainly didn’t go to plan – we were a bit down on power so we were racing conservatively, and then later in the race I was chasing through Turn 9 when I thought I had zipped the engine and over-revved it, but it turned out later that I hadn’t,” Stoeckel said.

“Then, I was going down the straight and the power dropped straight off, and then it just exploded like a hand grenade – it was the biggest bang I have ever heard out of the back of a car! It turns out that a nut had let go in the engine and the piston went through the side of the block, putting oil all over the exhaust and causing a fire.

“With bits of engine going everywhere I thought ‘I had better get this thing off the racing line’, so I pulled off to where I thought I saw the fire marshals – it turned out it was the camera crew,” he laughed.

Stoeckel’s bad luck didn’t end there either, with the fire bomb failing to deploy due to a crimped cable.

“It felt like forever waiting for the fire to be put out, it is so heartbreaking and you feel so hopeless,” Stoeckel said.

“It could have been a lot worse though – the damage was not as bad as it could have been. The wiring, the engine, the gearbox and the back top shell were all gone of course but there were some things we could salvage.

“It was a lot of work over the coming months especially for dad, but we have the problems sorted now and we are back and I am so stoked to be back in the car.

“I really like this track, it is a good and fun track and I took my maiden sports racer win here last year!

“I have done a lot of sprint days here as well, but I definitely need to get my eye back in. I haven’t had any seat time in the car since Sandown – not counting sitting in the seat when we were putting it back together and bleeding the brakes that is!” he laughed.

“As far as goals for this weekend, I just want to bring the car home in one piece so we can be at the next round, as I absolutely love that track as well and it is no fun being on the sidelines.”

In today’s three practice sessions, Peter Johnston (#17 PJS Air Radical – 1m 49.4979s), Aaron Steer (#27 West LMP4 – 1m 32.484s) and Phil Hughes (#42 Hughes Supercar Services Radical – 1m 46.8131s) topped the time sheets.

The Australian Sports Racer Series action at Phillip Island continues tomorrow with qualifying at 11.05am followed by Race 1 at 2.45pm – including the first ever rolling start for the series.