Local Holden driver Rhys McNally hit the podium for the second Round in a row, claiming third overall in Round 2 of the Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series – protected by ARMOR ALL at Barbagallo Raceway (Sunday May 5) . Sydney Ford driver David Sieders secured his first Round win at Barbagallo, and reigning champ Ryal Harris his first Race win for the year.
McNally started on the front row alongside David Sieders, however both were pushed hard by Harris, who made a great move on lap 2, taking both Sieders and McNally, which he held for the remainder of the race.
“Obviously the goal last year was to get on the podium every round and I want to do the same this year, but unfortunately I had the penalty in Adelaide. Different mind-set this year, I was so relaxed in that race, just looking around at the crowd, I was pushing but so much more relaxed. I was happy to finish second this round, I’m leading the championship now, we’ll go to Darwin, reset and we’ll try and win,” said Harris.
Sieders soon took McNally on Lap 3, before a safety car was called for Allan Letcher’s Ute stopped at Pit entry. The West Aussie had his Absolutely Environmental Holden turned around and beached on the Turn 7 kerb. As Phonsy Mullan rolled past under safety car, Letcher’s body language left no doubt as to whom he thought was the culprit.
Adelaide’s Gary Baxter was right on McNally’s tail on the restart, the Sage Automation driver taking McNally at Turn 1, then pressured Sieders, who managed to hold the veteran out right down to the chequered flag.
“It’s great to finally be on the podium for 2013, even better at my bogey track Perth. I always make a habit of trying to work on the bogey tracks more than the others. I can’t wait to get to Darwin, it’s a pet track of mine,” said Sieders.
McNally held onto 4th from other local Adam Marjoram in the Auto One Racing Holden and veteran Tony Longhurst. who claimed the Masters Award. Marjoram drove well to come home in fifth overall, Longhurst in 6th. Fourth was enough to give McNally’s Stratco third for the round and the young-gun couldn’t be happier.
“It feels absolutely awesome. I couldn’t think of a better way to start the year, I never dreamed I’d start the year so well. It’s good to show everyone we’re serious and we’re here to win so couldn’t be happier. We had everyone from Stratco here, obviously a home town track so everyone here knows me. To do it at a home event with the new colour scheme, the car is running great, Terry and Pat have done an awesome effort so everything is working out so far,” McNally explained. The Stratco Team also walked away with the ARMOR ALL Best Presented Award.
Stephen White had a great race to drive from 12th to 7th, followed by Nathan Pretty, Kris Walton and Jesse Dixon.
Walton was squeezed out by Jesse Dixon and Kim Jane to miss out on the 10th spot, the Rentco Ford wisping smoke and struggling to maintain the pace. He also faced a post-race officials hearing after a clash mid race with Pretty. Dixon had a great drive in his Hayman Reese Holden to walk away with 9th ahead of Jane in 10th, although the Bob Jane T Mart driver was penalised 5 spots in a post-race hearing, handing a top 10 finish to Perth’s Peter Major.
Harris now leads the ENZED Drivers Championship on 233 points, ahead of local Rhys McNally on 226, David Sieders in equal third with Gary Baxter on 216 points and Nathan Pretty in fifth on 209 points.
The V8 Utes will head to Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin for Round 3, 14 – 16 June. To recap on all of the action from Round 2 tune in to the Seven Network next weekend. (Check Local Guides for telecast times.)