THE TWO lynchpins at the pointy-end of the 2016 Kerrick Sports Sedans grid are now one-all on the winners list - defending champion Tony Ricciardello storming to victory at Winton this weekend as misfortune struck round one winner Jack Perkins.
In a day of contrasts, Perkins powered from pole position to a race one win and a new Winton Motor Raceway lap record on Sunday morning, only to fail to finish races two and three - handing the points lead to the Chevrolet-powered Alfa Romeo driver in the process.
A CV joint assembly failure on the warmup lap sidelined him before race two started, before a similar failure relegated him to the sidelines in race three whilst running second.
Nine-time champion Tony Ricciardello was perfectly placed to take advantage of Perkins’ misfortune, storming to two wins, the round victory and the championship lead as the series heads towards round three.
Perkins only consolation from a rough weekend was a 13th straight race win and a new Winton lap record: the new benchmark standing at 1m19.8777s.
Michael Robinson’s supreme consistency saw the Bell Real Estate Holden Monaro finish second outright at Winton, with Corvette Trans-Am driver Stuart Inwood third outright thanks to a similarly consistent trio of finishes.
Victorian Brett Dickie (Honda Prelude) and Ryan McLeod (MARC Cars Australia Focus) rounded out the top five overall.
“I’m actually a bit disappointed because we wanted to have a race with Jack in race two,” Ricciardello said of Perkins non finish.
“John (Gourlay) and Jack have brought the game up this year but we have made some gains and in race to we were really racing ourselves to keep pushing forward.
“We’re probably still a few tenths off him but we’re learning more about the new tyre and getting closer so we’ll see how we go in Queensland.”
Ricciardello (255 points) now leads Perkins (165) by 90 points heading into the next round at Queensland Raceway in late July.
While Perkins and Ricciardello split the three race victories between them, an array of different drivers filled the remaining spots across the 10, 12 and 15-lap heats held at a crisp yet otherwise clear Winton Raceway.
Ricky Capo stormed from last to third in his race debut in the category, after electing to start from the back of the field after his Kerrick SAAB-Chev developed a power steering issue on the formation lap.
Capo then finished second in race two while Ryan McLeod finished a remarkable third outright in his MARC Cars Australia Ford Focus V8. McLeod headed home a feisty battle pack that included fourth-placed Stuart Inwood, Michael Robinson, Chris Donnelly and Phil Crompton.
Donnelly’s recovery to sixth position made up for a non-finish in race one thanks to a broken oil line on the gearbox of his Camaro, while Crompton’s charge to seventh came after spinning off in Donnelly’s oil in race one and subsequent issues with the driveline of his Ford Mustang.
Michael Robinson finished second behind winner Tony Ricciardello in race three, McLeod backing up his race two podium with another in the finale’ - edging out Donnelly for third in the longer 15-lap affair. Victorian Brett Dickie finished fifth in his Honda Prelude.
Long-time Kerrick Sports Sedan series runner Damien Johnson finished 9th in the opening race however parked his Holden Torana for the remaining two races after suffering mechanical dramas.
He did, however, take part in the first of two formation laps prior to the final race of the weekend - a final act in a weekend-long commemoration by the series for his late wife, Andrea.
A long-time member of the Sports Sedan family, Andrea recently passed away after a fight with Cancer, the weekend at Winton dedicated to her memory. All cars in the grid carried ‘For Andrea’ stickers this weekend.
Earlier in the weekend, Jack Perkins stormed to the first ever Kerrick series pole position decided by top-10 shootout, a commanding one lap effort securing him the top spot by a full second over Tony Ricciardello.
Perkins lap (1m20.2600s) was actually 0.01s faster than his earlier qualifying effort while Ricciardello, on pole here last year, was 0.6s quicker than his 2015 effort but still had to settle for second place.
Chris Donnelly qualified third, Ricky Capo fourth while Stuart Inwood jumped from 7th in qualifying to 5th with his shootout lap.
The next round of the Kerrick National Sports Sedan series will see the fastest ‘big bangers’ in the nation return to Queensland Raceway this July 29-31.
Action from Winton will be televised on SBS Speedweek on Sunday, July 10 at 4pm – check your local guides for details.
ROUND RESULTS - ROUND 2:
1 Tony Ricciardello (WA) Alfa Romeo GTV 28 45 60 133 2 Michael Robinson (Vic) Holden Monaro 18 33 56 107 3 Stuart Inwood (NSW) Corvette C5 20 36 40 96 4 Brett Dickie (Vic) Honda Prelude 24 24 44 92 5 Ryan McLeod (QLD) MARC Car 0 39 52 91 6 Chris Donnelly (Qld) Chev Camaro 0 30 48 78 7 Ian Cowley (Vic) Holden Commodore 22 15 32 69 8 Ricky Capo (Vic) SAAB 26 42 0 68 9 Colin Smith (Qld) Holden Monaro 0 21 36 57 10 Jonathan Lawson (Vic) Subaru V5 STI 6 9 28 43 11 Bruce Henley (Vic) Mazda RX8 GT 12 18 0 30 12 Jack Perkins (Vic) Audi A4 30 0 0 30 13 Phil Crompton (Qld) Ford Mustang Trans-A 0 27 0 27 14 Daniel Zandt (Vic) JCW Mini Cooper S 10 12 0 22 15 Bruce Banks (Tas) Mazda RX7 16 0 0 16 16 Damian Johnson (Vic) Holden Torana 14 0 0 14 17 Vin McNair (Vic) Honda Prelude 8 6 0 14 18 Graeme Hume (Vic) Toyota MR2 0 3 0 3 19 Graeme Gilliland (Vic) Mazda RX7 0 0 0 0
|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|