For comment from Tony Ricciardello, Steven Tamasi, Tom Randle and Darren Hossack please see further in this story
Tony Ricciardello has got his championship defence off to a great start in the #5 B&M Ricciardello Motors Alfa Romeo GTV, claiming two race wins this weekend including the coveted Des Wall Trophy for round victory at Sandown Raceway.
Second for the round was Steven Tamasi as he starts his second year in the category aboard the #9 Domain Prestige Homes Calibra with a third and second result across today’s two races, ahead of Tom Randle in the #93 Kerrick/CKAS SAAB (fifth and third).
This morning’s second race of the weekend saw two-time champion Darren Hossack look like he might have had better luck on his side following yesterday’s lead-ending car fire. The #4 Auto Union Deutsche Audi A4 carved through the field from the rear of the grid to be fourth by turn two and challenging Tamasi for second by the end of the first lap.
The pair kept the fans entertained for a number of laps, before Hossack was able to make his way through to take home second place behind Ricciardello, who had streaked away at the front. Fourth on the road was six-time champion Kerry Baily in the Rent Depot Aston Martin, while pole sitter Randle rounded out the top five after starting the race not from the front row, but instead the pit exit when a stuck throttle as he prepared for race two saw him miss the window to join the field on the track for the start.
The afternoon’s race three was not only the final race for the weekend but also the highly coveted Des Wall Trophy, which is awarded to the race three winner in honour of Series great the late Des Wall - a former National Sports Sedan Champion and a much admired competitor for many years, who passed away in 2012 after a battle with cancer.
The race started out with an intense battle between Ricciardello and Hossack, with the latter making a move on the outside through turn one on the opening lap. While Ricciardello held on to lead out of the corner, Hossack was never far behind. Meanwhile plenty of battles for position raged behind the hard-charging pair, until the action was slowed with a lap 4 safety car for an aflame Slick 50 Mazda RX7 of Peter McLeod – stranded off to the side of the start of the straight.
Just before the Safety Car was called, it was announced that Randle – third on the road at that time - would incur a five second time penalty for a starting infringement.
On the restart Hossack was able to get past Ricciardello four corners in to take the lead with three laps remaining, with his team watching intently in hope that their driver – who had earlier stated how important the Des Wall Trophy was to him, being an honour he would love to claim before he eventually retired – would emerge victorious.
For a moment it looked like he would achieve this goal, but with two laps to go the bad luck Hossack and the Audi team have seemingly been haunted by in recent times struck yet again. A flat tyre saw him forced to retire from the lead and the race, with the disappointed racer pulling up off track on Dandenong Corner from where he would applaud race winner Tony Ricciardello and the rest of the field in a great show of sportsmanship.
At the same time, Tamasi and Randle were having an intense battle in the closing laps, with Randle getting past Tamasi to cross the line in second position – later reclassified as third once the five second penalty was applied. From the restart, Tamasi was driving with a deflating rear tyre, making his hard-fought battle with Randle even more impressive. Baily crossed the line in fourth, while Paul Morris in the MARC Cars Australia machine rounded out the top five.
While the front place getters were punching out plenty to keep the fans entertained, the wow factor was not restricted to just the top four with plenty of dicing underway further back in the field. In particular, Andy Brown (Andrew Brown Motorsport Camaro), Colin Smith (MR Automotive Holden Monaro) and Bruce Banks (BJ Banks Electrical Mazda R7) putting on some great battles for much of both races.
The Kerrick Sports Sedan Series will now head to Winton Motor Raceway across May 13-15 for their second round of 2015, as a support category for the V8 Supercars event that weekend. For more information, please go to www.sportssedans.com.au
QUOTEBOARD: KERRICK SPORTS SEDAN SERIES – ROUND ONE, SUNDAY 29 MARCH 2015
Tony Ricciardello – #5 B&M Ricciardello Motors Alfa Romeo GTV - Race Two and Three Winner (Des Wall Trophy), Round One winner
“It has been a pretty big build up for us for the first round and it’s good to just get off to a good start. We have had a lot of family things happening and it’s been a tough build up but it’s been good to fight back and bring home a good result. Des (Wall) was a good friend of the family for a long time, and we have had an emotional kind of weekend with my uncle passing a way a couple of days ago, Glenn who helps us on the car having a little kid and so on, so it is good to get a results and just take a breath and have a break. Winton is a little while away so we will do a bit of preparation tonight and then we are going to leave the truck in Melbourne - everything seems to be going well, so come (Winton) we will just have another crack.”
Steven Tamasi – #9 Domain Prestige Homes Holden Calibra - Third in Race Two, Second in Race Three, Second for the Round
I am extremely happy with the weekend’s result. I am happy with the fact that the car has matured, and that I have matured as a driver and we are moving forward. We are not stumped on anything and we are just making good steps forward. (On driving the last part of the race on a flat tyre) “After the restart I just thought I was out-breaking myself and maybe that the bias was not correct, but slowly I realised that the problem was a bit worse than that and when I came back in I had a 0psi tyre. Now it is on to Winton, it is a lot of fun and hopefully we can keep the pace up there too.”
Tom Randle – #93 Kerrick/CKAS SAAB - Fifth in Race Two, Third in Race Three, Third for the Round
“Firstly I’ve got to thank the team for getting this car ready, they have done an amazing job with the amount of hours they have put in trying to prepare this car. To walk away with a first in the opening race of the season and come away with third for the round, while its not what we would have liked (due to the penalty) it is better than nothing and at the end of the day what you need in this championship is points. There are another four rounds to go so if we can just keep chipping away we will keep getting stronger and stronger throughout the rest of the year. There is more in the car, and there is more in me as well as I have really had limited driving in this car so I think next round at Winton we will be on it.”
Darren Hossack - #4 Auto Union Deutsche Audi A4
“The speed of the car was good, and getting past Tony is never easy but I felt for the first time in a long time before the safety car that we genuinely had something for him. The safety car didn’t really help us as I think it allowed him to get his tyres back a little bit, but I honestly think it was at that point we might have copped a slow leak because around the left-handers I was having understeer which I didn’t have prior to that. Whenever I have problems here it always seems to be at the fastest part of the track - it wasn’t a lock up that resulted in a blow out, it was that the tyre has gone down and I have struggled to stop the car. What can I say, I thought we were going to win that one for Des but it didn’t end up that way. All we can do is look ahead to the next one.”
|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|