The seventh and final round of the 2019 Porsche 944 Challenge is set to be held this weekend at the picturesque Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit as part of the historic Island Magic event this weekend
17 cars are entered for the round, which will see the possibility of the first time there could be a family lock-out of the podium. Returning to the circuit for the first time since the 2018 Island Magic event is 2018 State Series Champion Jamie Westaway.
Jamie returns to take the wheel of Keith Marriner’s Seat Time Race Solutions backed 944 for the weekend, alongside regular season competitors, Uncle Michael Westaway, and father Tony. Tony returns to the track fresh from his GT3 Cup Car experience at Queensland Raceway thanks to series sponsor Porsche Cars Australia.
Here is a run – down of the entrants for this weekend:
#1 Cameron Beller – Having clinched the 2019 CAMS Victorian State Race Series Championship at the previous round, club championship leader Cameron Beller will again be the man to beat after his recent perfect round at Phillip Island in September, and only needs to finish one of the races on the weekend to secure his fourth consecutive 944 Challenge Championship.
#28 Tony Westaway – Tony sits solidly in second position in the points and actually can’t be beaten for the position due to his consistent points run over the year. – his aim will be to take wins this round, or at least be top Westaway…
#4 Ken Rowland – Ken is leading the battle for third position in the 944 Challenge pointscore heading into the final round, with a small 3 point gap ahead of his closest pursuer. The battle for third will surely go down to the final race of the season..
#27 Toni Andreevski – returning after missing the last round of the series is Toni Andreevski – Toni is only 3 points behind Ken and has the enviable record of finishing every race he started this year – had he made the last event, Toni would likely be a shoe-in for third outright in the season. As it stands now, he has to chase Rowland, and also defend from the next tow drivers to take the spot..
#99 John Kennedy – John has been the revelation of the season and one of only 6 drivers to have led a race this year when he took the lead in the final race at the last round of the series at Phillip Island. John could also have been sitting in a stronger position in the points had he not missed two rounds of the year, the first of the year before he acquired the car, and the Shannons round where he was unable to attend. John will have his eyes set on getting onto the top step of the podium as he plans an assault of the 2020 title.
#31 Adam Brewer – Adam has moved mountains to get his car repaired after the unfortunate shunt in the wet race last round with Mark Taubitz – and returns to the circuit fresh from a Fiji holiday to recharge his batteries and to re-focus on the weekends racing. Adam sits only 4 points behind Kennedy in the points, only 19 points behind Rowland in third place. With 26 points up for grab in each of the three races, a DNF in any of the events would be disastrous for any of these four drivers vying for the final championship podium position.
#66 Tim Wolfe- Tim has had a solid introductory year to the 944 Challenge this year, and with consistency finds himself in seventh place in the points heading to the final round. Tim will look to get himself into the top ten this weekend and be ready to capitalise if poor luck falls the way of any of the season podium protagonists ahead of him in points.
#8 Dick Howe – Dick had a great start to the round at the last event at Phillip Island, qualifying on the front row and recording a second place finish in race 1. He sits only three points behind Wolfe for seventh position in the series points and will look to take the battle to the guys at the front of the pack with a repeat of the speed from a few months ago.
#98 Pedr James – Pedr had some great speed in the first race last round at Phillip Island, and despite a spin/crash and DNF in the wet race 2, returned to score a top 5 finish despite starting from the rear of the grid in the final race. Tied for points with Michael Westaway, Pedr will be looking to outscore Michael for the weekend and secure a top ten for the season and look for a great springboard to start 2020 off from.
#45 Michael Westaway – Michael was again at the pointy end of the field at last round, gathering a good collection of points for the round – but mired back in eleventh position after 6 rounds due to missing two rounds and leaving round 2 with a zero. Hopefully we will see Michael embark on a full season campaign in 2020 to see how high he can finish in the points score!
#32 John Vainoras – John had his best ever round last event at Phillip Island, pedaling his car markedly quicker around the circuit than he had previously, and ran as high as sixth position early on in the final race. John will look to continue his improvement to allow him to mix in with the cars in the mid pack as he pace continues this weekend.
#46 Jim Mitchell – Jim returns after missing the last round and will have some competition around him as the battle around the mid pack of the field heats up – keep an eye out for his traditional John Force mimicking start line getaways this weekend as Jim is sure to gain places off the start line!
#33 Andrew Jones – Andrew also found some improvement on his times last weekend, and will look to find the same gains as John Vainoras did last time to stick with the purple machine – and join the battle in the second half of the field which is starting to heat up nicely!
#12 Marius Catrina – Marius returns for the final event for the year after missing the last two rounds at Phillip Island and Winton – hopefully a good clean weekend will be a good way to end the season and prepare for the 2020 season for Marius where he showed some very strong pace at Sandown in qualifying – a top ten in qualifying would be a good way to start the weekend for him.
#85 Daniel Petselis – Returning after making his debut with the series last round is 16 year old young gun Daniel Petselis in the Melbourne Performance Centre backed 944. Daniel acquitted himself well and also turned some laps last weekend at Winton as he gets himself more acclimatised to the car. He will look to be getting into the top ten this weekend with some more miles under his belt and some good times at Winton.
#64 Jamie Westaway – Rounding out the trio of Westaway’s for the weekend will be the 2018 State Series champion in 944’s, Jamie Westaway. Jamie returns behind the wheel of Keith Marriner’s 944 after some medical issues prevented Keith from running this weekend. Will Jamie be able to run up the pointy end this weekend and challenge Beller, Kennedy, Howe – and of course his Dad & uncle for the top spot?
#15 Andy Tudor – Joining the grid for the first time will be West Australian Andy Tudor, who is joining his compatriot Tim Wolfe in making the journey over from the West Coast to compete this weekend in the ex Leno Natoli Porsche 944.
Missing this round will be Mark Taubitz after his crash last round, along with Peter Doherty who is also undertaking some upgrades in preparation for 2020.
Also absent behind the wheel, but at the circuit will be Keith Marriner, with Andrew Jackman also in attendance, but without his car as he prepares for the 2020 season with his race car.
The weather at this point looks like it will be fine all weekend, head on down for qualifying at 11:15 on Saturday morning!