THE SHANNONS NATIONALS presented by Hi-Tec Oils celebrated the series’ 60th round with more of the usual action, excitement and close racing the series has offered since its formation in 2006.
Winton turned on its usual unpredictable weather, early rain turning into patchy sunshine and a cool afternoon – but the on-track action was its usual competitive best.
PETER HACKETT has won a thrilling third round of the Australian GT Championship – Protected by Sargent Security, winning both one-hour races this weekend in his Mercedes Benz SLS AMG.
Klark Quinn led Hackett following the compulsory pit stops in today’s race, the Mercedes driver chasing down the leading Porsche to run nose-to-tail with 10-minutes to go – however the drama had only just begun.
Quinn was given a respite for the battle thanks to a late-race Safety Car and looked able to hold on – however the Sargent Security Porsche followed the Safety Car in to pit lane with a suspected right-rear puncture, elevating the Mercedes driver to the lead.
He held on for three laps following the restart, leading home Lamborghini driver Roger Lago for the second time this weekend.
JOSH HUNTER won a dramatic third round of the Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car Series, rebounding from a difficult start to his weekend to win race three and take the round.
Holden driver Aaron Tebb won race two this morning, but the 16-year-old Sydneysider took the finale (worth more points than the first two races) to take the round. Tebb was second whilst Justin Garioch charged from 18th on the grid to 3rd at the line.
The results lift Hunter back into the series lead after a tough weekend from Jim Pollicina saw him finish 4th overall, but fail to finish the finale’. Hunter now leads the title race by 33 points at the series’ half-way mark.
Former series champion Tony Evangelou returned to the series and, after winning race one yesterday, finished third overall despite a race two spin that dropped him down the order.
The V8 finale’ was something of an epic, two safety car periods for crashes (Morgan Haber and Mark Shephard, respectively) splitting up the 15-lap race.
TASMANIAN DRIVERS Adam Beechey and Dean Croswell created their own little bit of history in the V8 Commodore Cup – taking their third consecutive Ashley Cooper Memorial Trophy in the one-make Holden championship.
The Donut King duo took race one yesterday but were faced with a resurgent Ross McGregor / Geoff Emery in today’s second 30-minute mini-enduro; the Westcoast windows duo slicing past the first race winners in the closing stages to take an emphatic win.
Local combination of Jordan Symes and Steve Courtis finished third overall in an impressive performance – but it was the trifecta from Beechey and Croswell the most impressive part of the weekend.
KANE ROSE secured back-to-back round wins in the Porsche Staff Solutions International GT3 Cup Challenge series this weekend – but it wasn’t all clear sailing on the road to victory.
The Melbournian took out the first sprint race this morning – having already won the 30-lap enduro last night – but was turned around in the final race later in the day putting his hopes for a second round win in a row in doubt.
A strong comeback drive, however, ensured he had enough points to finish the job and maintain a relatively comfortable series lead over John Modystach, who finished second overall this weekend.
Rose won at Phillip Island in May and his second round win in a row has elevated him to clear title favouritism, though three rounds still remain in the all-Porsche category.
Rookie Michael Almond was a competitive third overall, Jeff Bobik carving his way through the field in today’s 10-lap finale to end an otherwise frustrating weekend on a high with a competitive race victory.
A FINAL RACE battle for the lead between Josh Kean and Simon Tabinor also turned out to be a battle for the round win in the Dial Before You Dig Australian Saloon Car series, Kean holding out his fellow Holden driver after a stern challenge in the final laps to win the race and the round.
Gavin Ross finished third with defending champion Matt Lovell fourth, just ahead of Sam Milton’s similar Falcon. Kean won two of the three races at Winton but consistent pressure from the likes of Tabinor and Lovell made it one of the closest Saloon Car rounds for some time.
CATEGORY NEWCOMER Damian Ward took out the round in the Hi-Tec Oils Australian Swift Racing Series, winning two of the three races in an increasingly competitive one-make championship.
Reece Murphy won race two and finished second to keep his strong position in the championship – defending champion Allan Jarvis only managing fifth overall to keep the title fight close.
THE NEXT ROUND of the Shannons Nationals presented by Hi-Tec Oils will be staged at the newly-renamed Sydney Motorsport Park, on July 13-15.
The massive round will include the return of the Formula 3 Australian Driver’s Championship to the Shannons Nationals program, plus the Radical Australia Cup series for the second time this year.
Also on track will be the Porsche Staff Solutions GT3 Cup Challenge, Kerrick Sports Sedan Series, Australian GT protected by Sargent Security and the Hi-Tec Oils Australian Swift Racing Series.
For more information head to www.thenationals.com.au