Jack Perkins has taken his first ever Kerrick Sports Sedan Series victory at Queensland Raceway this afternoon, leading eight-time and reigning champ Tony Ricciardello across the line after a race-long battle between the two that kept everyone watching on tenterhooks.
Adding to the drama was a mid-race safety car, called on lap five when Tom Randle pulled off the track on turn 3 from third position with an aflame Kerrick/CKAS Saab, prompting a response from the fire truck. The team continues to diagnose the issue overnight ahead of tomorrow’s further two races.
On the restart, Perkins was able to keep the lead, but both drivers drove their machines on the absolute limit until the chequered flag dropped, with Ricciardello even getting all four wheels in the dirt off the back straight on the second last lap as a result - allowing Perkins a little bit of breathing room (but not much) as he approached the flag.
“It’s great to get our first win and John’s done a lot of work since we had a few disasters at Winton and it’s good to repay their hard work and effort. It’s cool to get a win,” said Perkins.
“The sun was setting and making it a bit hard into turn two, but to Tony’s credit he did a great job and we had a good race. I wasn’t as comfortable as I would have liked to have been in the car, we had a few little issues - just set up and stuff, no mechanical dramas – so I think we’ll be right tomorrow. We’ve got a couple of little changes to make.
“We both had strengths and weaknesses. He had strengths (with) braking into the corner and I had strengths on the way out, so it was bit of an ‘elastic band’ type of race.
“At one stage he got pretty close and I thought he’d have a crack and then I looked in the mirror again and he was in the dirt. So I think maybe he was trying a bit harder than me! But Tony’s been racing that car for a long, long time and I’m still learning in this car – I wouldn’t have even done 50 laps yet. So it’s still a learning process.
“Tony’s here to win and so are we, so we’ll have another crack at it tomorrow.
Earlier in the weekend the Ricciardello Racing team have encountered a number of issues, but say they are now confident of strong race pace ahead of a further two races tomorrow.
“I knew we had the car speed (heading into the race). We had a few dramas engine-wise and with the brakes through practice and qualifying and we finally got on top of it. We had a brake issue in qualifying so our car speed was looking worse than it actually was. But our race pace is pretty good and it’s looking good for tomorrow,” said Ricciardello.
“There are two pictures – (today) we’ve gained a bit of a gap on Thomas (Randle) in the championship, but we still want to fight for a race win so we’ve got to weigh it up. I was having a crack (in that race)!
“It’s pretty funny between Jack and (regular Audi steerer) Darren (Hossack) in the Audi that the traits look very similar. It was quite interesting to see that. We had advantages and disadvantages in places. I was probably struggling to get passed him because of his advantages in a couple of places but the car wasn’t perfect, and tomorrow’s another day”
Steven Tamasi crossed the line in third, while Shane Bradford and Bruce Banks – who had earlier been part of a full-on battle with Colin Smith before Smith retired with alternator issues - rounded out the top five.
Earlier in the race, Phil Crompton was looking like he would come home in fourth position, however power steering line issues intervened to see him pull into the pits in his #9 Moonbi Oil Traders Mustang. Also making moves was Stuart Inwood, in the A1 Towing Corvette, moving his way through the field from 14th through to 9th, engaging in some great battles along the way.
Kerry Baily, slated to start from third on the grid, failed to start the race after the Rent Depot Aston Martin team were forced to change an engine following qualifying due to valve spring damage. The team is confident of being ready for tomorrow’s action.
The Kerrick Sports Sedan Series festivities continue at Queensland Raceway tomorrow (Sunday 9 August) with two further races, scheduled to take place at 10.45am and 4.20pm. For further event information, please visit sportssedans.com.au
|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|