Tony Ricciardello has claimed his eighth Kerrick Sports Sedan Series title today in the #5 B&M Ricciardello Motors Alfa Romeo GTV in an epic final round of the 2014 Series at Sydney Motorsport Park, which also saw him claim the finale round win ahead of Victorian Darren Hossack who overcame a tumultuous season in the #4 Auto Union Deutsche Audi A4 to finish the year on the podium and third in the championship.
On his way to the title and round win, Ricciardello claimed two race wins to Hossack’s one, with all three races delivering epic battles between the two top contenders to the delight of fans both on-track and watching online with the Shannons Nationals live stream. Third for the round was Queensland’s Phil Crompton in the #12 Moonbi Oil Traders Ford Mustang.
Claiming second in the title standings was Queenslander Colin Smith whose season of consistency in the #44 MR Automotive Holden Monaro saw him hold-out two-time champion Hossack – who headed to this weekend sixth on the title standings – from the runner-up spot. Also claiming honours today was Steven Lacey in the #29 Primo Smallgoods Chev Camaro, who will be awarded at this evening’s championship dinner as the State of Origin champion for the year by virtue of being the State of Origin contestant with the most points across the year.
All three races across the day had fans on the edge of their seats, with race one starting with a great drive by Hossack around the outside of top qualifier Ricciardello on turn one to take the lead and start a tense battle between the front-runners that would last six laps before front bodywork damage on the Ricciardello Alfa saw the champion drop back slightly. On the opening lap, Steven Tamasi had been fighting for third position, but found himself stranded on turn six after an electrical issue saw his #9 Domain Prestige Homes Holden Calibra come to a stop on just the second lap, bringing out a race-long local yellow flag.
Race two signalled the second instalment of the Hossack versus Ricciardello battle trifecta, with Hossack again taking the lead from the first corner after starting on the inside line this time, with the pair battling hard through the entire race including an epic dice on lap seven, which saw Ricciardello eventually emerge with the race lead after no less than four lead changes within just four corners.
After his race one issues, Tamasi impressed early when he charged from the rear of the grid to be third on the road by turn four, but was later presented with a five second time penalty for jumping the start. Courtesy of his gap over the fourth placed Crompton however, the penalty would have no effect on his finishing position for the race.
On their way to the race end, Crompton and Lacey put on a great battle in race two following contact between the pair on the rolling start, with both getting away from that to continue on to deliver an intense battle which lasted to the final lap, with Crompton crossing the line fourth while Lacey came home in seventh.
Enduring heartbreak in race two today was last-round winner Michael Robinson, who was in the box seat for third in the title after defending champion Bruce Banks’ withdrew from the round yesterday, with a spin in the #32 Bell Real Estate Holden Monaro on lap one forcing him to retire to the garage for repairs, putting him out of contention. While Robinson returned for race three, his fourth position in that race saw him finish the 2014 season in 4th place in the championship, ahead of Bruce Henley and the #67 Stawell Cartage Mazda RX8.
Race three and the final act of the front row battle saw Hossack repeat his race one turn one maneauvre to again take the lead, with the pair yet again keeping the intesntiy up until Ricciardello was able to get past for the lead on lap six after a number of laps which showed both racers pushing their cars to the absolute limits in their pursuit of glory. Tamasi again came home in third position, while Robinson’s fourth position came after an attention-grabbing four-way battle for position between he and Phil Crompton, Steven Lacey and Ron Muller which included multiple side by side battles. By the end of the race, it was Robinson who streaked away for fourth, followed home by Crompton, Lacey and Muller with the battle for sixth staying wide open until the very last corners.
The Kerrick Sports Sedan Series will return in 2015, with the season calendar set to be announced in the coming weeks. For more information on the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series, including championship standings, please go to www.sportssedans.com.au
QUOTEBOARD: ROUND FIVE – KERRICK SPORTS SEDAN SERIES AT SYDNEY MOTORSPORT PARK – 2 NOVEMBER 2014
Tony Ricciardello - #5 B & M Ricciardello Motors Alfa Romeo GTV - 2014 Kerrick Sports Sedan Series Champion, Eight-time Kerrick Sports Sedan Series Champion, Runner-up for Round 5
“It is has been a pretty tough last couple of years and it is really good to bring the car home in one piece and win the title; really, really good. The car has been really quick this year and it is a credit to the guys, we have kept the car in Melbourne and so our preparations have happened the day before every meeting but we have kept on top of it and the car has been really reliable. It was just a really good feeling to finish (the title) off and enjoy the last race and have a good battle with Darren (Hossack),” said Ricciardello.
“It was good to win the round, we didn’t want to finish the title and give up, we wanted to finish hard and we did, it was tough racing all the way to the end, it was really good for the team to finish on a strong note and we will be back next year defending it for sure.
“There wasn’t much tyre left, was pushing hard, I went off on turn one on one of them and then Darren did it next and I was like, yeah he is pushing hard as well. Very good racing, it is great racing him, credit to Darren and his guys they just kept pushing us this last round, we never backed off and it was really good racing. It has been really good racing with him over the years and it’s just very intense - the heat, the horsepower, the tyres, the speed - everything just gets you going and I am sure his team are really happy for their result even though it was a second, you know we fought to the end – we could have sort of backed off and made sure we got the championship but that is not what we are about, we were coming here to win and finish the year off on a high.
“I want to say a big thanks to the people that run the Shannons Nationals series and everyone involved with that, to Kerrick and Malcolm and his team – he has got some special guests here this weekend so hopefully the show has been exciting for them and I am glad they have signed on again for 2015. The other big shout out is to all the sponsors at home who have kept supporting us, without them obviously it would be very difficult to get to the track and also to the guys in our team from my mum and dad to my wife Carle and the kids, Glenn, Jamie and Fred, also Les Small and also Ron and Colleen have had a pretty tough couple of years and are in our thoughts - we really appreciate all the support they have shown us since day one, while they haven’t been coming away with us they have played a part in getting us to where we are with eighth titles. This is a big team effort and it has just been a really good run to the end of the year.”
Darren Hossack - #4 Auto Union Deutsche Audi A4 – Round five runner-up, third place – 2014 Kerrick Sports Sedan Series Championship
“It was a good day, we knew that right from the outset that with the speed Tony has had all year that it was going to be difficult to beat him. To be honest with you on Friday we were scratching our heads a bit as the gap was a lot more than what we expected but it is a credit to John (Gourlay – car owner) and the guys, they dug deep and we found a bit of speed in the car. It was hard and there was certainly nothing left on the table, I don’t know how hard Tony was driving but I was giving it everything, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I am not normally one to be happy with second but when you have not finished a lot of races second is not so bad. Congratulations to Tony he is a worthy champion, what they do leaving the car here and all is just phenomenal I don’t know how they do it they do a fantastic job and deserve to win, I love racing against him, the type of racing we had today is what it is all about, racing clean and hard and the better team won – congratulations to them. Thanks to Malcolm and Kerrick for all the support they give us because it means so much and without their support we wouldn’t have the type of series that we have got.”
Colin Smith - #44 MR Automotive Holden Monaro - 2014 Kerrick Sports Sedan Series Championship Runner-Up
“This is a bit unbelievable at the moment, it really hasn’t sunk in. It is definitely better than what I thought we would get, I thought maybe we would be lucky for third or fourth or fifth but we got second. The results of other people’s misfortune helped us get up there but we finished every race and got some good results, and I am very happy. The main thing for us for the season was consistency, apart from this meeting here we have gone faster at every track this season than we did the year before. That was a very long 10 laps for the last race, knowing I only really had to finish it to bring home second, I heard every noise and every vibration that is for sure, it was a long way but I am very happy with the outcome!”
Phil Crompton - #12 Moombi Oil Traders Ford Mustang - Round Five – third place
“We have been working really hard to close the gap to Darren and Tony but with damage in race two which we carried into race three, we were a bit off the pace. (On the battle in race three) I knew if I could get past Steven I could clear him as I was quicker in some corners and it appeared that he had some tyre damage as his car was biting him, but I couldn’t get past him, he has got enough power to stay in front of me and he just covered the corners really well, a bit too well, and I knew I only had one chance and that was coming up to Corporate Hill and I tried it once and I came unglued and then I tried again and it stuck the second time but in the meantime Michael Robinson came through on new tyres and made up pretty good time while we were struggling with worn out tyres. It was a epic battle, it was busy, and it was a whole lot of fun, and that is what racing should be like.”
Steven Lacey - #29 Primo Smallgoods Chev Camaro - 2014 Kerrick Sports Sedan Series State of Origin winner
It is fantastic, it is a great opportunity that Kerrick have given us for the state guys to get in and have a bit of a drive with the National boys, and it is a great concept. Obviously we are now thinking about what we do for next year as a result of having a play with the Nationals, and we will make some decisions in the off-season. At Phillip Island I had a bit of a dream run with what happened but it was great to go to a new track with the car, get some new data with the car and we will know next time what to do, and then to run on your home track here is always good, ran here last weekend and then ran here again this week – very happy.”
|1. April 1-2 Wakefield Park|
|2. June 17-18 Winton Motor Raceway|
|3. July 1-2 Sydney Motorsport Park|
|4. Sep. 30- Oct 1 Phillip Island|
|5. Oct. 27-29 Sydney Motorsport Park|