The sixth and penultimate round of the 2017 944 Challenge is looming, and 16 drivers are getting prepared for a big weekend of action at Phillip Island as this round coincides with the final round of the 2017 Vic State Race Series.
Here is a quick preview of who will be out on track this weekend:
#1 Cameron Beller – Cam Beller leads the pointscore as the series heads back to Phillip Island, aided by his round wins in the first three rounds of the series. Only a disaster can prevent Beller from securing the State Series title, but the battle for the 944 Challenge Title is still wide open…
#37 Chris Lewis-Williams – Chris has clawed his way back into contention for the 944 series, helped largely by his round wins at the last two rounds of the series at Sandown and Mallala. He doesn’t have the same luxury of being able to have a bad round that can count as his worst round, as Beller does – so he needs to make every race count!
#50 Tony Westaway – Yet another great weekend for Tony with another hat trick of podiums leaves him poised to secure third outright for both pointscores… is second outright a possibility? Time will tell…
#45 Michael Westaway – Michael produced another strong showing at Mallala and will hope to get one over on Tony this weekend at PI – though he will be unlikely to move anywhere in the points as he has a gap to his pursuers, as well as those ahead.
#74 Mark Taubitz – Another up and down weekend for Taubitz at Mallala sees him back a bit further than he would like in the points – a good round is what he needs to put the last two rounds back in his mind and to start preparing for 2018..
#32 John Vainoras – John’s consistent run not only sees him improving his speed with his best performance to date at Mallala, but also has him rewarded with 7th in the outright points – proving that reliability pays off as he continues his run of finishing every race he has started thus far.
#5 Lyndon Watson – Lyndon returns to the site of his debut with the 944 Challenge, and is set for an even better showing as he has made gains in the pace on board his 944. A dark horse for this results up at the pointy end this round..
#8 Dick Howe – The fast flowing Philip Island Circuit suits the series veteran and his 944, and he will be looking for some top 5 results during the course of the race weekend to show for it.
#64 Keith Marriner – Keith was another who showed good pace last time out at Mallala, and he will be looking to also be mixing it up as he looks to shave some time off his personal bests and start mixing with the cars in front on a regular basis.
#4 Ken Rowland – Ken had another strong showing at Mallala, and returns to the scene of his crash at Round 2 – hopefully with the demons from that Lukey heights mishap well and truly exorcised!
#13 Jim Gallagher – Jim missed out on the Mallala event, and will look for a strong weekend at Philip Island to make amends and move up in the pointscore after a very solid round at the seaside circuit earlier in the year.
#97 Rob Holding – Rob is another who returns after a round away, on the heels of his fantastic fifth place finish last time on track at Sandown. If he can replicate that performance this weekend at Philip Island, I’m sure that his smile will be visible from the mainland!
#77 Codey West – Codey makes his debut at Philip Island after two very strong showings in his first two rounds at Winton and Sandown. Plenty of speed on board car #77, and plenty of speed from Codey – could be some surprises if he is quick to unlock the secret to going fast at PI.
#12 Marius Catrina – Marius had a good showing at Mallala after missing a couple of rounds, and will be back on track with his sights set on a top 10 result from the PI race weekend.
#46 Jim Mitchell – Jim was a late entry as he worked on fixing the issues that cut his Mallala weekend short, but is back on track and overdue for some good fortune. Hopefully a good weekend ahead for the striking #46 car.
#20 Andrew Jackman – Andrew has the most recent race experience at the Island after he was racing around in an Excel while the 944’s were in the next state – he will be looking to put that fresh experience to good effect as he looks to improve on his best result achieved at his last time in his 944 at Sandown when he finished 7th in the final race.
A few regulars will be absent this round, but we expect to see a good turnout for the final round of 2017 when we return to Philip Island for the prestigious Island Magic Event late in November!
#15 Vince Misuraca – Vince will be absent from this round and unable to fight to retain his State Series Title reign, but will return for the Island Magic round in November.
#22 Brad Winter – Brads car is nearing completion from its repairs, but not finished in time for this round, Brad will also return for Island Magic before preparing for the 2018 season.
#98 Pedr James – Pedr encountered engine dramas at Mallala, and will be absent without having been able to complete repairs in time for this round – but will also no doubt be back for Island Magic.
#16 Paul Crocitti – Paul was also unlucky to have some engine woes at Mallala, and also ran short on time to effect repairs. Paul will also be back for Island Magic to round out the year however.
Other notable drivers who will be missing this round, but we hope to see in November include #29 Ben Raphael, #6 Robert Lange, #53 Peter Doherty, #18 Ross Millar, Ryan Woods in #17, and Toni Andreevski in car #27!
But first – we have an exciting weekend to be had to close out the Vic State Race Series for 2017!
Qualifying commences bright and early at 9:05am on Saturday with Race 1 at 12:45pm.
Sunday will again see an early start with race 2 held at 9:05, before the final feature race at 12:25pm.
Come on down!