The seventh and final round of the 2017 944 Challenge is looming, and a strong field of 20 drivers are getting prepared for a big weekend of action at Phillip Island as this round coincides with the prestigious Island Magic Race Weekend.
Here is a quick preview of who will be out on track this weekend:
#1 Cameron Beller – Cam Beller has an unassailable points lead by virtue of the dropped worst round rule – however he will go into the weekend looking to finish on a high note to bookend his 2017 season.
#37 Chris Lewis-Williams – Chris has secured second in the 2017 season pointscore, paying dearly for his Winton weekend and unable to threaten Beller for the series title. He will also look to be on the top step of the podium for Island Magic as he resumes his battle with Beller.
#50 Tony Westaway – Tony has secured third outright in the points with a string of podium finishes throughout the year, another selection of podiums will be his plan for the weekend to underline his points position for the year.
#45 Michael Westaway – Michael was again strong at Phillip Island last round, another good round will be his plan to stay fourth in the series points.
#15 Vince Misuraca – After missing a few rounds Vince has slipped down the order and out of series contention, but can move back up to fourth with a strong weekend this weekend.
#74 Mark Taubitz – Sixth in the points for Taubitz after an up and down season, he will be looking to stay in that spot with a consistent weekend.
#8 Dick Howe – One of his best weekends for a while at Phillip Island with a podium finsih for the series veteran, he will look to continue that this weekend with another solid weekend at Island Magic.
#32 John Vainoras – John had his first DNF’s at the last round which has dropped him behind Howe in the points – a reliable weekend will help him maintain his position in his first full year.
#64 Keith Marriner – Keith had good pace last time out and will look to further improve on that pace as he attempts to finish the season in the top ten in points.
#77 Codey West – Codey fared strongly at his first visit to PI at the last round – with some track knowledge of the fast seaside circuit, expect his times to tumble as he looks to battle the top 5 through the weekend.
#13 Jim Gallagher – Jim has misseda few rounds this year which sees him down a bit in the points, but he always runs well at the Island and should feature strongly throughout the weekend.
#4 Ken Rowland – Ken is another who missed a few rounds during the year, but also has been very quick around PI in recent events and will also look to feature around the top 5 results throughut the weekend.
#22 Brad Winter – Brad returns to the track for the first time in Sandown whichhas dropped him downthe points order, he will look for a good comeback round in preparation tochallenge for the 2018 season.
#12 Marius Catrina – Marius had some dramas last time out at PI, and will be chasing a good solid weekend to finish his 2017 season off strongly.
#16 Paul Crocitti – Paul returns to the track after some engine woes at Mallala, and will be another who will be ooking to get well inside the top ten this weekend..
#46 Jim Mitchell – Jim had a weekend to forget last time at Phillip Island also, but an encouraging outing at Sandown for the Historic Invitational round will put an extra spring in his step as he looks to close in on a top ten result for the weekend.
#98 Pedr James – Pedr returns to the series after his Mallala engine woes, and subsequent gearbox issues at Sandown. A clean reliable run throughout the weekend will be what Pedr is looking for, and hope to emulate the speed he had back in April when battling just outside of the top 5 before being involved in a crash that was none of his doing!
#53 Peter Doherty – Peter returns after a solid round at Sandown for the Historic round, and will also look to mix it up with the back of the top ten runners this weekend.
#27 Toni Andreevski – Toni is entered for his first rae weekend at PI after giving the engine a freshen up after his debut race weekend at Mallala. Toni will no doubt be looking to mix it up with those around him as he comes to grips with the PI layout.
#88 Ken Kinght – making a welcome return to the series all the way from NSW is Ken Knight, hopefully we will see him as a more regular fixture on the entry lists next year!
A few regulars such as Lyndon Watson, Rob Holding and Andrew Jackman will be absent this round, and we look forward to seeing them return for 2018!
But first – there was an exciting weekend ahead of us to close out the 2017 Season!
Qualifying was bright and early at 9:10am on Saturday with Race 1 at 1pm, with Sunday welcoming another early start with race 2 held at 9:10, before the final feature race at 11:35pm.