Tony Ricciardello has triumphed at Mallala Motorsport Park to clean-sweep the opening round of the 2014 Kerrick Sports Sedan Series whilst resetting the track record and claiming not one, but two ‘marquee’ trophies.
After claiming victory in the morning’s race aboard his #5 B&M Ricciardello Motors Chevrolet-powered Alfa Romeo GTV, the seven-time champion set a new lap record on his way to victory and a record fourth Clem Smith Trophy at midday before going on to secure the Des Wall Trophy in the final race of the weekend.
In the first outing for the Kerrick Sports Sedans – part of the second round of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals - Ricciardello’s victory came after a tight early battle with sparring partner Darren Hossack, with the driver of the #4 Auto Union Deutche Audi A4 holding out Ricciardello for a number of laps with plenty of dicing afoot. The defending champion Bruce Banks crossed the line in third, while Colin Smith and Steve Tamasi rounded out the top five. Tamasi enjoyed his national series debut this weekend and had earlier looked set to secure third before going off the track coming on to the straight late in the race.
In the Clem Smith Cup, Hossack and Ricciardello again put on a great show with Hossack leading for the first nine laps before Ricciardello was able to take the lead soon after setting a new lap record. Hossack crossed the line second, with Tamasi in third with Banks and Smith closing up the top five.
In both races Tamasi and Bradford put on a tousle for the fans for third position, with Bradford even charging from the rear of the grid in race two to be in second position before a locked gearbox saw the Aston Air Chev Camaro driver spin out of the race and the rest of his weekend. The Queenslander had started on the rear of the grid after an oil line issue in race one saw him out of the race after earlier running third.
In the battle for the Des Wall Trophy, Ricciardello was never headed, leading the race from start to finish from Darren Hossack who lost his second position to Steve Tamasi on the final corner of the race courtesy of a deflated tyre. Banks and Smith again closed out the top five.
By virtue of his performance, Ricciardello is now sitting atop the title points table ahead of Darren Hossack and Steven Tamasi. The Kerrick Sports Sedan Series will now head to Winton Motor Raceway for round two across 13-15 June. For full information, go to www.sportssedans.com.au.
QUOTE BOARD – KERRICK SPORTS SEDAN SERIES: ROUND ONE
Tony Ricciardello – Winner: race one, race two (Clem Smith Cup), race three (Des Wall Trophy), lap record setter
“This has been a pretty hard circuit for us the last few years, it is just one of those things where you always keep coming back and try to get through the bad times. This weekend we had a really good run so it was really good to finish off the weekend on the top,” said Ricciardello.
“(To win the Clem Smith Cup) is pretty good for the guys, it is a good start for the year to come here and have a good win. Clem is pretty old, he has broken ribs and he is still turning up at the track; he even passed me on the highway back to Adelaide last night so he still has that racing spirit – that strength he has got to keep racing is admirable, it is an honour to win it.
“Winning the Des Wall Cup also means a lot because he was such a great competitor, he was a fantastic guy behind the scenes and also a real gentleman racer, so it is pretty inspirational. I raced with him back in the days at Oran Park and he was always fair and a great competitor. It’s a great trophy to win and it means a lot. We just keep coming back for more, it makes it worth all the hard work and the pain we go through to get the car on-track. Now we have (the championship trophy) to try and regain that we lost last year.
“I think Winton is going to be another track that probably suits us a little more than Darren although he has quite a bit of track knowledge, but we have had a good run there the last few times so we just have to keep the ball rolling and be consistent, finish all the races and just keep the points up.”
Darren Hossack – Race one: second, Race two: second, Race three: third
“(With second in the Clem Smith Cup) we are extremely happy, we have to say a big thanks to Clem Smith for coming out to the track today, we know he is not really well at the moment and it means a lot to all the competitors, this is a race we want to win you can trust me on that, I can tell you I had nothing left on the table – thanks Clem for supporting sports sedans as long as you have, and also to Kerrick for their continued support, it is really appreciated,” said Hossack.
“Congratulations have to go to Tony, he is always very strong and he put together a perfect performance this weekend. We tried as hard as we could to put on as much pressure as we could, but he was just too fast for us”
On being second in the points after round one: “It is nice to get some points on the board, in the last few years we have struggled at the first round and have even almost had a championship that was over before it had even begun. We concede that there will be tracks where (Tony) is better than us and there are tracks where we will be better than him, so we have to make sure we don’t break the car on the tracks he is better while still keeping the pressure on, we can’t let him have it all his own way!” said Hossack.
“We had a few gearbox issues in practice which probably took our attention away from making the car quicker but all in all we are pretty happy – we led in two of the races, I think we raced pretty hard together as we always do. It was mission accomplished really, we got a flat tyre on the last lap of the last race and from there it was a matter of bringing it home. I think luck was on our side believe it or not, allowing us to get the car home and take second overall. As they say in motorsport we will now regroup and move on to Winton! Thank you to John and the guys for all their help this weekend, we couldn’t do it without them and obviously thanks also has to go to Kerrick for their support and also to Shannons for supporting the Series.”
Steven Tamasi – Race one: fifth, Race two: third, Race three: second
“I am extremely happy that the car was reliable, we have had a lot of bad luck over the last couple of years with little problems but this weekend was pretty faultless, I am a bit upset that I had a bit of a coming together with Darren on the last corner but aside from that I am pretty happy. For round two at Winton it will be all about the same mindset – just focusing on having a consistent car and driving consistently, as at the end of the day it is all about who ends up with the most points,” said Tamasi.
RESULTS: ROUND ONE: KERRICK SPORTS SEDAN SERIES AT MALLALA MOTORSPORT PARK
Race one – top five
Race two/Clem Smith Cup – top five
Race three – top five
Meeting points – top three
|1. April 1-3 Sandown Motor Raceway|
|2. June 10-12 Winton Motor Raceway|
|3. July 29-31 Queensland Raceway|
|4. Sep. 9-11 Phillip Island GP Circuit|
|5. Nov. 11-13 Sydney Motorsport Park|