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Round 4. Sandown – Race 1

14 cars fronted for Race 1 at Sandown Raceway after the demise of  Mark Taubitz’s car in qualifying, and Jim Gallagher also unable to front for Race 1.

Cameron Beller was able to make the most of his pole position to get the jump off the line to lead into turn 1, with Vince Misuraca slotting into second position. Brad Winter got a good start from fifth position to slot into third, ahead of Paul Crocitti up to fourth position with Codey West slipping back into fifth position. Chris Lewis-Williams moved up two spots on the first lap to sixth, ahead of Dick Howe and Lyndon Watson, who unfortunately got a bad start and dropped back from his fantastic third position in qualifying.

The Westaway brothers followed in ninth and tenth for Tony and Michael, with Andrew Jackman next from Rob Holding, Jim Mitchell and John Vainoras rounding out the field.

Under brakes for Turn 1 at the start of lap 2 Paul Crocitti unfortunately spun and dropped himself back all the way to twelfth position behind Holding, while Lewis-Williams benefitted from Paul’s spin and a pass for position on Codey West to move up into the fourth position.

Jim Mitchell encountered mechanical issues and retired on lap 3 of the race, moving Vainoras up to thirteenth as the field settled themselves down as Lewis-Williams set his fastest lap as he chased after Brad WInter in third position.

Beller meanwhile, set the race’s fastest lap on Lap 4 as he opened a gap up on Misuraca in second, while Codey West had a wild moment, dropping him back to ninth position and promoting Howe up to fifth, with Tony Westaway moving up to sixth after passing Watson, who remained in seventh, with Michael Westaway up to eighth with West behind him.

Holding moved up into the top ten on Lap 5 when Andrew Jackmans pace slowed, while the following lap Lewis-Williams moved himself into third position after a pass on Brad Winter which relegated him to fourth. Behind them, Watson moved his way back past Tony Westaway to go back into the sixth position, as Crocitti continued his recovery drive, moving up to eleventh past Jackman, and then into the top ten the following lap ahead of Rob Holding.

Misuraca had improved his pace up front as he started matching pace with Beller up front, but the damage had been done as Beller now held a 5 second lead in the closing laps, with Lewis-Williams a further 5 seconds behind him in fourth. Misuraca set his fastest lap of the race on his final lap while Beller took the chequered flag, with Vince second from Lewis-Williams, Winter and Howe rounding out the top 5.

Watson was next ahead of the Westaways, Tony from Michael, with West in ninth ahead of the recovering Crocitti rounding out the top ten. The final finishers were Rob Holding, Andrew Jackman and John Vainoras.

Could Beller keep his streak running on Sunday? Two races to find out!

         

Round 4. Sandown – Qualifying

Qualifying for Round 4 of the 2017 944 Challenge was held late in the morning with 16 cars taking to the track, after the #4 of Ken Rowland unable to complete car preparation to be able to compete on the weekend.

As the field completed their warm up laps and commenced their first flying laps, the red flag waved as the car of Taubitz had gone off at Turn 1 – the car pitched sideways into the guardrail in the braking zone for Turn 1 in a strange accident that would put him out for the weekend with too much front end damage to repair at the track.

The resultant delay caused some delays with the rest of the field with their times, with confusion reigning with the remaining time showing in the session changing, and catching out some of the front runners.

Once the field resumed again once the track opened up it was Cameron Beller who set the fastest first flying lap, a 1:25.5717 ahead of Vince Misuraca who was second fastest with a 1:26.4694.

Paul Crocitti was an impressive third with a 1:27.1913, just ahead of Dick Howe fourth fastest with a 1:27.2760 – with neither driver able to improve on those times in the shortened session.

Fifth quickest was Lyndon Watson on a 1:27.4507, ahead of Codey West in sixth with a a 1:27.6486, with Brad Winter next on a 1:28.2212.

Tony Westaway was eighth fastest with a 1:28.2578, ahead of Chris Lewis-Williams with a 1:29.4717, and Michael Westaways 1:30.0790 rounding out the ten fastest times after the first timed laps.

Rob Holding was eleventh quickest on 1:30.8654, ahead of Andrew Jackman with 1:31.5477, Jim Mitchell with 1:36.4692 and John Vainoras’ 1:38.8267.

Beller cemented Pole Position on his next lap as he ran 1:24.9221 to lock down the top spot, while behind him Watson & West both lowered their times with 1:27.3010 and 1:27.4942 respectively, though neither improved on their positions. Chris Lewis-Williams ran a 1:27.6365, but this was his last lap of the session, which left him languishing uncharacteristically back in the pack, while Michael Westaway moved to eighth with a 1:27.9245, Tony Westaway to ninth with a 1:28.1335.

Rob Holding set his fastest time for the session with a 1:28.6136 to go eleventh fastest, as Jackman also improved with a 1:30.0542, as well as Mitchell dropping down to a 1:34.5083 and Vainoras with a 1:35.5675, in what would be his fastest time for the session to land him in fourteenth.

Vince Misuraca lowered his time the following lap but could not get close to Beller, though his 1:26.0399 was enough to earn the second front row start, as Brad Winter moved up to fourth with a 1:27.2296, and Codey West again improved slightly with a 1:27.4425.

Tony Westaway improved with a 1:28.0760, though that was as fast as he would manage in the session down in tenth position, while Andrew Jackman improved with his fastest time for the session with a 1:29.6922 – as did Jim Mitchell with a 1:33.9038.

Disappointment for Crocitti on the final laps as he was pushed back from third on the grid to sixth, as Lyndon Watson (1:26.6121), Codey West (1:27.1344) and Brad Winter (1:27.1848) all eclipsed him on their final laps – in the case of West & Winter, by less than half a tenth of a second!

Michael Westaway was the last of the drivers to improve his speed on the last lap, though it didn’t push him up the order as he ran a 1:27.7015 and remained in ninth.

So it was the #1 car of Cameron Beller who took a commanding pole position by over one second from Vince Misuraca. A pair of rookies on row 2 as Lyndon Watson would line up alongside Codey West, while fifth fastest was Brad Winter  just ahead of Paul Crocitti.

Seventh was Dick Howe who would line up alongside Chris Lewis-Williams, uncharacteristically back in eighth position, while rounding out the top ten were the Westaway brothers, with Michael on this occasion coming out on top over Tony.

Eleventh fastest was Rob Holding, just edging out the returning Andrew Jackman, ahead of Jim Mitchell and John Vainoras in fourteenth position.

Not recording a time was Jim Gallagher who had a major engine issue onboard car #13 and prevented him from turning a lap, and also Mark Taubitz, who brought out the early Red Flag with an incident at Turn 1 on his first timed lap sent the #74 car into the Turn 1 wall – the resulting damage causing him to sit out the rest of the weekend.

Rest assured that the results wouldn’t be quite so one sided in the races as Misuraca would surely mount an attack, while Lewis-Williams and the Westaways would no doubt move through from the back of the top ten! Race 1 @ 3:35pm.

   

2017 Round 4 Preview – Sandown Raceway

The fourth round of the 2017 944 Challenge is looming, and a field of 17 drivers are getting prepared for a big weekend of action at Sandown Raceway this weekend.

Here is a quick preview of who to look out for..

#1 Cameron Beller – A clean sweep for Beller at Winton marks him as the favourite for this weekend at Sandown, but Sandown is a very different circuit to Winton – he might not have things all his own way this time around..

#15 Vince Misuraca – A great points haul for Vince at Winton, though was unable to break through on Bellers’ dominant performance at the last round. He will have his eyes set on turning that around at Sandown!

#50 Tony Westaway – Another great solid points weekend with a hat trick of podiums sees Tony third outright in the points. Can he move up another step or two on the podium this weekend??

#45 Michael Westaway – Michael was a last minute entry to the Winton field, something he no doubt was glad for as a trio of fourth place finishes proved to be a worthy exercise! Now into fourth outright in the series pointscore, Michael will need more strong results this weekend to maintain that position and challenge the top 3!

#37 Chris Lewis-Williams – Disaster for Lewis-Williams with an engine letting go before completing one racing lap, has put him virtually out of contention for the State Series Title for 2017, unless some drama affects those ahead of him in the points. He will need a strong showing at each remaining round for the year  to be able to drop the Winton round from the pointscore to put him back in the running for the 944 Title for 2017.

#74 Mark Taubitz – Mark missed race 1 at Winton, but recovered strongly to record a pair of fifth places on Sunday to give him some strong momentum heading to Sandown this weekend.

#22 Brad Winter – Brad was a last minute cancellation for Winton, and like Lewis-Williams, needs to now not have a bad round for the rest of the year for the 944 Challenge Series pointscore.

#5 Lyndon Watson – Lyndon had another great weekend at Winton Raceway, knocking on the door of a Top 5 finish at various points over the weekend. His debut at Sandown will be another learning experience, one he will no doubt adapt to strongly!

#8 Dick Howe – Dick yet again showed great pace, but suffered with DNF’s at Winton with a DNF and a DNS. His final race was a cracker though, as he moved up to sixth from the last position after going off road and spinning to the back on the opening lap. Dicks car was very quick at Sandown in Round 1, and he will be hunting a Top 5 finish this weekend.

#32 John Vainoras – John returns to Sandown and will be looking to close the gap to the cars in front with some recent testing on board his car at Sandown, and will be looking to set some personal best times over the weekend.

#46 Jim Mitchell – Jim will be hoping to have solved his gearbox issues in his 944 as he returns to Sandown, where he showed some good speed at Round 1, and will hope to string together some reliability over the weekend.

#13 Jim Gallagher – Jim returns to Sandown after missing the Winton round, on the back of a good showing at the previous visit to Sandown at Round 1 – up until his cross country excursion in Race 3 cut his weekend short. A solid weekend of three finishes will be on his agenda for this weekend!

#97 Rob Holding – Rob also missed the Winton weekend due to an overseas trip, which he cut short to return in time for Round 4 at Sandown! His first return visit to a circuit, Rob will no doubt be finding an increase in speed over his first race earlier this year and will look to add to his first top 10 finish at the last round at Phillip Island!

#4 Ken Rowland – Kens car is repaired and ready to race after his Race 2 mishap at Phillip Island kept him away from Winton as repairs were carried out. Ken has also shown some fantastic speed in the last 12 months, and will also have his eyes on some top 10 results this weekend.

#77 Codey West – A very impressive debut for 2nd generation Porsche driver Codey West at Winton, saw him qualify fourth with plenty of speed onboard car #77. His first race at Sandown will present some new challenges which he will no doubt quickly adapt to and be in the thick of the action this weekend!

#16 Paul Crocitti – Paul has missed the last two rounds since he was last seen at Sandown for Round 1, where he showed strong speed and personal best times in his car as he tested the new 944 Challenge Control Suspension package and put it through its paces in March this year. Paul will look to further lower his benchmark time and replicate his top 10 results this weekend.

#20 Andrew Jackman – Andrews car was last seen on track Friday for practice for Round 1 where a mishap ended his weekend and involved repairs to the Poolmaster 944. Andrew used the opportunity to update the car with a fresh drivetrain combination, and a sharp new paintscheme for car #20 – if it goes as fast as it looks, Andrew should win the races comfortably!  He will look to have a solid drama free weekend for his return and putting a straight car back on the trailer on Sunday afternoon – with a Top 10 in his pocket will be the plan!

A number of regulars will unfortunately be missing this round for various reasons – but we expect to see a good turnout for the following round at Mallala Raceway, South Australia in August as the 944 Challenge visits SA for the first time in 6 years!

#98 Pedr James – Pedr is traversing the country and will be meeting the series at Mallala in August for Round 5, and will hope to turn around his recent bout of bad luck!

#64 Keith Marriner – Keith will also miss this round with some work commitments but will be also returning for the Mallala round.

Other notable drivers who we hope to see at Mallala include #29 Ben Raphael, #6 Robert Lange,  #12 Marius Catrina, #53 Peter Doherty, and #18 Ross Millar – along with the returning Ryan Woods in #17, and the expected debut race for Toni Andreevski aboard the ex-John Goddard #27!

But first – we have an exciting weekend to be had at Sandown!

Qualifying commences at 14:45pm on Saturday with Race 1 at 3:25pm.
Sunday will see the 11 lap feature held at 11:35, before a 9 lap race at 3:40pm. Come on down!

By |July 19th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

Round 3. Winton – Race 3

A lovely Winter sunshine greeted the field as they lined up for the final race of Round 3 of the 2017 944 Challenge, after a delay for a clean up through turns one and two after a car from the previous race broke a rear end as they crossed the finish line! This meant that the race line through one and two was still extremely slippery as the field found out on the warmup lap.

At the start it was Cameron Beller who again won the start and led the field through the quickdry mix lining the first corner complex, followed by Vince Misuraca, the Westaway brothers Tony and Michael and Mark Taubitz in fifth position.

Lyndon Watson followed through in sixth position followed by Keith Marriner, Sam Rofe, Pedr James, Dick Howe, Jim Mitchell, John Vainoras, with Codey West dropping to the rear after missing the start.

The field tippy-toed through turns 1 and 2 fine,  before it went wrong for Howe and James as the two were side by side through turn 3. The cars slid through the slippery surface, which resulted in Howe being forced off into the weeds on the exit of the corner, resuming in last place.

West and Howe moved quickly back up to tenth and eleventh positions on the next lap disposing of Vainoras and then Mitchell on Lap 2 as the remainder of the field settled into a rhythm for the 10 laps.

Howe continued moving up the field and benefitted from a coming together between West and James as the pair exited Turn 7 which caused James to spin, moving Howe up to ninth, with West remaining tenth ahead of James who dropped to eleventh by the time he resumed.

Howe continued to surge forward moving up to seventh the following lap passing Rofe and then Marriner, and set his sights on Watson up ahead.

Up front Beller held a comfortable small margin over Misuraca, while Tony Westaway had fallen adrift of the top two, and maintained a small gap to Michael Westaway in fourth, who was now under pressure from Taubitz. Watson had fallen off the the battle in front of him as Marriner and Rofe were running together, and then dropped behind West and James on lap 7, with Mitchell and Vainoras rounding out the field.

Howe caught Watson on lap 8 and moved up to the sixth position, but with 18 seconds to the Westaway/Taubitz battle, would have to settle for that position unless dramas befell one of the top 5 runners. On lap 9 James had another drama as he again had an off track excursion, dropping him back to eleventh again behind Marriner and Rofe, where he would ultimately finish the race – but took some consolation in recording a full race distance!

Up front it was Beller who recorded a near perfect weekend with Pole and three wins, only failing to secure the fastest lap for the weekend. Misuraca crossed the line for his third second position with Tony Westaway racking up a hat-trick of thirds for the weekend.

Michael Westaway also had a three-peat of race finishes with his third fourth place finish, this one hard earned to keep Taubitz behind him, who recorded a pair of fifth places from the two races he gridded up for – and ruing missing Saturdays action and a chance to record a stronger result.

Howe was sixth in his only finish for the weekend, another good drive through the field, ahead of Codey West who nabbed the seventh position on the last lap with a pass on Lyndon Watson in an impressive debut weekend for the rookie driver.

Watson had another strong and impressive weekend with eighth in the final race, ahead of Marriner and Rofe who also both had good weekends.

James was an unhappy eleventh in his only race finish – though relieved to put the car on the trailer in better condition than the previous round. Mitchell was twelfth ahead of Vainoras who continued his perfect finishing record with a thirteenth place finish.

So with three wins from three for the weekend, Beller is looking to be the man to beat for 2017 as his win tally goes to 7 – though with 7 podium finishes for Misuraca, one bad result for Beller could throw the points battle wide open again..

5 weeks until the series return to Sandown Raceway – could we see a new name on the top step of the podium??

         

Round 3. Winton – Race 2

A very frosty and chilly Winters morning at Winton as the 944 Challenge field prepared for the second race of Round 3 on Sunday morning saw the teams and drivers thawing out their race cars prior to their 9:10 race start for a 7 lap hitout.

A victim of the cold weather was Dick Howe – who actually overheated his car (!) in preparation for the race prior to pre-grid and would watch from the sidelines. Chris Lewis-Williams was also out for the weekend after his Race 1 engine drama, though making the trip up to Winton to start Race 2 from the rear of the grid was Mark Taubitz after missing out on Saturdays action.

Cameron Beller was able to get the jump on Vince Misuraca at the start and lead into Turn 1 from Tony and Michael Westaway behind in fourth and fifth positions. Lyndon Watson got the jump into fifth position ahead of Codey West, with Sam Rofe behind in seventh. Moving up to eighth position from the back of the grid was Mark Taubitz with a great start, with Keith Marriner in behind ahead of Jim Mitchell and John Vainoras. Not going more than a few metres from the start line was the luckless Pedr James, while this time he was at least able to take the starters orders, a driveshaft failure meant he rolled to a stop at pit exit.

The midfield battle was where the closest battle was and Sam Rofe provided the first bout of excitement as he locked a brake entering turn 11 for the first time, spinning to the apex of the corner and forcing the following cars of Taubitz, Marriner, Mitchell and Vainoras to take the long way around as he recovered in eleventh and last position.

West was looking for a way past Watson for fifth position, while Taubitz quickly closed the gap to them to make it a three way tussle, as Rofe moved his way back past Vainoras into tenth position.

On lap 3 Watson made a small mistake and picked up an inside wheel on the exit of turn 9 which pushed his car wide, allowing West to pull alongside with Taubitz looking for a way through also. Watson on the inside braked early for Turn 10 allowing West and Taubitz to follow through for position and slotted in behind them both. One corner later, West slowed exiting Turn 11, and Taubitz moved to the inside, however there was contact at the apex, which spun the #77 car around and forced Taubitz to the grass with some steering damage. Watson also took to the grass to avoid West though unfortunately spun on his return to the track, allowing the following Marriner through between the spinning Porsches into sixth position. Watson recovered to resume behind him in seventh, ahead of Rofe, Mitchell, and West down to tenth with Vainoras in eleventh.

The top four was largely spread apart with Beller aiming to try to retake back his lap record with Misuraca a few seconds back, with larger gaps to Tony, and then Michael Westaway. Taubitz was next nursing his wounded car and maintaining the gap to Marriner, with Watson closing on the back of him. West meanwhile moved back up to ninth on lap 4 with a pass on Mitchell, and then eighth the following lap at the expense of Rofe who had a drama, slipping to ninth.

Beller was unable to dip into the 33’s to take back the lap record he held previously, falling two tenths of a second short as he raced to his second victory from Vince Misuraca, Tony Westaway and Michael Westaway with Mark Taubitz in fifth position.

Lyndon Watson moved into sixth position on the final lap with a pass on Marriner, with Marriner just holding on to seventh place crossing the line a bumper ahead of West in eighth position. Rofe reconciled in ninth place ahead of Mitchell and Vainoras rounding out the field in eleventh.

With the top two having a pace advantage over the rest of the field, could Misuraca gain the advantage for Race 3, or could the Westaways or one of the others move up to challenge for the final 10 lap race?

         

Round 3. Winton – Race 1

As the cars gridded up for Race 1 on Saturday afternoon, the field was reduced down to 12 as Pedr James​ encountered issues with the ECU in his car and he stopped out on track as the rest of the field completed their warm-up lap – gut wrenching after securing his highest qualifying position of his career.

When the lights went out it was Cameron Beller who got the best start as he led into the first corner, ahead of Vince Misuraca in second position with Chris Lewis-Williams in third place.

Tony Westaway slotted into fourth from Dick Howe in fifth, Michael Westaway in sixth and Lyndon Watson in seventh.

Codey West dropped down to eighth from his second row start position, ahead of Sam Rofe and Keith Marriner rounding out the top ten, in front of Jim Mitchell and John Vainoras.

As the field came to the end of the first lap, disaster struck for Lewis-Williams, with a major engine failure ending his race, and his weekend prematurely. With the points so close this would put a major dent in his State Series Title aspirations for this season.

Howe unfortunately also stopped on lap 2 as the third retirement from the race, allowing Michael Westaway up to fourth, ahead of West, who also overtook Watson to move into fifth position, with Watson sixth, then Rofe, Marriner, Vainoras and Mitchell – who would also retire on the next lap with some gearshift issues.

The remainder of the race was a relatively straight forward affair, as Beller was able to hold the lead for the duration of the eight laps to record his fifth win of the season, ahead of Vince Misuraca, who was able to take some consolation in securing the Lap record as he ran a 1:33.9848 on the fifth lap to take the lap record away from Beller.

Unable to keep up with the top two was Tony Westaway, but delighted with a third place finish for the race in the Westbon Porsche, finishing ahead of Michael Westaway in fourth position a couple of seconds adrift of his brother.

Rounding out the top 5 in his first 944 Challenge race was the impressive Codey West, right behind Michael Westaway but unable to find a way past.

Watson was next in a relatively lonely race on his way to sixth position, after West past him Watson consolidated the spot with a large gap either side of him to the finish.

Seventh was Sam Rofe in his return race with a gap back behind Watson, with Keith Marriner finishing in eighth position a few seconds adrift on Rofe.

The ninth and final finisher of the race was John Vainoras, in a relatively lonely race also on his way to his best position to date.

Would the attrition keep up over the two Sunday races? An early start for a quick 7 laps on Sunday at 9am!

         

Round 3. Winton – Qualifying

A smaller entry field for Round 3 of the State Race Series with 14 cars entering for the weekend held under some very chilly, but clear skies – although only 13 cars would hit the track for qualifying early on Saturday morning:

In the pit paddock, but with no driver to be seen was the #74 Zantek car of Mark Taubitz – work commitments keeping him away from the circuit on Saturday, but he would make his way to the circuit on Sunday to line up from the back of the grid for Race 2.

Chris Lewis-Williams topped the time sheets as the first competitive laps were run with his 1:34.8293 edging out Cameron Bellers’ 1:35.0494 and Vince Misuraca in third with a 1:36.6437.

Debutante Codey West was an impressive fourth fastest with a 1:37.0399 ahead of Tony Westaway with a 1:38.9010, with Dick Howe sixth on a 1:39.9971.

Sam Rofe returned to the track for the first time in 18 months and was seventh quickest after his first lap, his 1:41.2786 edging out eighth fastest Pedr James with a 1:41.6161, and Michael Westaway ninth with a 1:42.3007

Tenth was Jim Mitchell with a 1:44.2406, just ahead of Keith Marriner in eleventh with a 1:44.3324. John Vainoras was twelfth with a 1:48.3947 with Lyndon Watson last with a 1:51.4660.

Beller moved to the top of the order on his second lap with a blistering 1:33.9777, dropping Lewis-Williams to second as he ran a 1:34.6199, while Misuraca improved to a 1:35.6636.

Tony Westaway improved to a 1:37.4348 but stayed fifth behind West, as Howe also stayed sixth despite his improvement with a 1:38.5776. Michael Westaway moved up to seventh with a 1:39.5082 ahead of Rofe and James, while Marriner moved to tenth with a 1:42.4199, just ahead of Mitchell now on a 1:43.0596 in eleventh.

Vainoras and Watson both improved with 1:47.4284 and 1:51.0829 laps respectively to hold their positions.

Beller improved by half a tenth of a second on his third fast lap with a 1:33.9229, while Misuraca moved to second as he ran a 1:34.2331 to displace Lewis-Williams who was now on a 1:34.6199.

Tony Westaway moved to fourth with a 1:35.5491, dropping West to fifth with a 1:36.4509. Michael Westaway found two seconds to move into sixth with a 1:37.4958, pushing Howe back to seventh after running a 1:37.8645.

Lyndon Watson vaulted into eighth with his first quick time, a 1:38.0233 to be just ahead of James, ninth with 1:38.0797. Rofe was tenth after turning a 1:39.2142, with Marriner improving to a 1:40.3842 in eleventh. Mitchell and Vainoras both continued to improve with respectively laps of 1:42.9377 and 1:46.6867.

Beller lowered his fastest time by a further two tenths of a second next time around with a 1:33.7195, while Misuraca also went quicker with a 1:34.0343, as did Lewis-Williams – only a hundredth of a second behind with a 1:34.0457. Lewis-Williams wasn’t able to improve on this time however, and would line up third on the grid for Race 1.

Tony Westaway and Codey West both lowered their times as they recorded 1:35.2279 and 1:36.0324 laps to retain their positions in fourth and fifth, while James moved up to sixth with a 1:36.8428.

Michael Westaway was now seventh, but improved his time with a 1:37.0503, with Howe also improving to a 1:37.2436, as did Mitchell (1:42.3077) and Vainoras (1:45.6726)

Next time around, Tony Westaway ran his fastest lap of the session with a 1:35.0373, while West improved to a 1:35.3891 in fifth. Rofe moved up to ninth position with a 1:37.5091 in what was his fastest lap for qualifying, as Mitchell again lapped a second quicker with a 1:41.2723.

Beller cemented his position at the front of the field as he lowered the marker by another half a tenth, a 1:33.6549 was enough to secure him the pole position spot for Race 1.

Michael Westaway recorded his fastest lap for the session as he went a further six tenths of a second quicker with a 1:36.4030 to move ahead of James to sixth, Howe improved marginally with a 1:37.2021, and Watson improved by half a second and secured his tenth position on the grid with a 1:37.5653 in his fastest time for the session.

Mitchell also improved again with a 1:41.0540, and the following lap moved to eleventh as he ran his fastest time for the session with a 1:39.6769, just ahead of Marriner who also dipped into the sub 1:40 bracket to be right behind Mitchell with a 1:39.6877, while Vainoras also further improved by another second with a 1:44.6769.

Codey West moved himself onto the second row of the grid on the following lap with a superb 1:34.8601 lap to put him into fourth, Howe moved up to seventh with a 1:36.4984 as James improved slightly with a 1:36.6693, though was pushed back to eighth, while Marriner also improved with a 1:38.9337.

Misuraca hadn’t given up on trying to snatch the pole spot from Beller, but while he improved with his fastest time on 1:33.9909, it wasn’t enough for the #1 spot and he would line up alongside Beller on the front row.

James also hadn’t given up, and improved to a 1:36.2504 to put him into an excellent sixth position, a great return after the unfortunate collision which sidelined him in Race 2 at Phillip Island, as Vainoras ran his fastest lap of qualifying, with a 1:43.6491.

The final couple of improvements by James and Marriner didnt change their positions in the order, as James recorded a 1:36.2247 and Marriner ran a 1:38.5017.

Race 1 would be 8 laps held on Saturday afternoon,with Beller and Misuraca on the front row ahead of Lewis-Williams and the impressive West. Who would take the first race win for the weekend?

   

2017 Round 3 Preview – Winton Raceway

A smaller field of drivers are getting some rest tonight in preparation for Round 3 of the 2017 944 Challenge with Qualifying and Round 1 tomorrow, followed by two further races on Sunday at Winton Motor Raceway.

Here is a quick preview of who to look out for..

#1 Cameron Beller – The Defending 944 Challenge Champion is fresh off of two wins and a third at Phillip Island, and will be looking for a solid weekend to try to increase his small points lead after two rounds..

#37 Chris Lewis-Williams – Chris finished Phillip Island with a strong win in Race 3 to put him right on Beller’s tail in the points battle, which he will be looking to shrink even further at his home (well… ‘work’ ) track…

#15 Vince Misuraca – Vince made a great start to his 2017 season with a victory in Race 1 at Sandown, but didnt quite have the pace of the two cars in front at Phillip Island. But Vince is renowned for his Winton speed…

#50 Tony Westaway – Tony was again consistent at Phillip Island, with two fifths and a sixth to show for it. He will be looking for some podiums at Winton if the cards fall his way and to move up to 4th in the points standings.

#74 Mark Taubitz – Mark will unfortunately miss the Saturday action at Winton, and will be starting rear of grid in Race 2 on Sunday morning. A good run in the final two races will make the one day trip worth coming up for!

#45 Michael Westaway – A last minute entry to the Round 3 field, Michael was originally unable to make the round, but has made sacrifices to attend and look to move into the top 5 in series points, at a track where he also has a history of good results at.

#8 Dick Howe – Dick again showed great pace, but not great reliability at Phillip Island with two DNF’s Three finishes at Winton will see him move up the points ladder if he carries forward the speed shown this season so far.

#46 Jim Mitchell – Jim enters his first race weekend at Winton and will no doubt enjoy the tight circuit, as he will continue to score his solid points tally after his first two weekends in his Porsche 944.

#98 Pedr James – Pedr is a welcome sight on the entry list after being the luckless victim at Phillip Island while running in a great sixth position.in Race 2. With repairs having been affected, he will want a solid weekend of reliability and no more work to do before the fourth round!

#32 John Vainoras – John has continued to improve with his first entry at Phillip Island and will no doubt be looking forward to his first return visit to a track he has competed at after making his debut at Winton last year, and should be lowering his lap times from his previous round here.

#5 Lyndon Watson – Lyndon had a great debut with the series at Phillip Island, placing tenth outright for the weekend – he will be looking for just as impressive a performance this weekend at Winton Raceway!

#64 Keith Marriner – Keith returns after missing the Phillip Island round due to overseas commitments – he will be looking to crack into the top ten this weekend in the striking Black and Gold 944.

#68 Sam Rofe – A welcome return to the 944 series, Sam Rofe has his first outing since Island Magic 2015 after taking a break from racing. Hopefully we will see him back regularly the rest of the season!

#77 Codey West – Another debutante to the 944 series, Codey has been testing his newly acquired car to get accustomed to it around the Winton layout for his first 944 round – don’t expect to find him at the back of the field this weekend!

A number of regulars will unfortunately be missing this round for various reasons – but expect to see the majority back at Sandown in July!

#22 Brad Winter, #97 Rob Holding, #29 Ben Raphael, #6 Robert Lange, #4 Ken Rowland, #12 Marius Catrina, #53 Peter Doherty, #13 Jim Gallagher, #16 Paul Crocitti, #18 Ross Millar and #20 Andrew Jackman will hopefully all be seen there!

But first – we have an exciting weekend to be had!

Qualifying commences at 12:10pm on Saturday with Race 1 at 4:20pm.
Sunday will see a 6 lap screamer held at 10:45, before a 10 lap final at 3:35pm. Come on down!

By |June 16th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

Round 2. Phillip Island – Race 3

The final race for the weekend was a 10 lap affair on Sunday afternoon, with reigning 2016 Champion Cameron Beller having his sights set on making it 3 wins from 3 races.

Beller made the best start from pole position as he attempted to repeat his race 1 performance, with Vince Misuraca again getting the jump on Chris Lewis-Williams to move up to second, with Lewis-Williams back to third.

Brad Winter tucked in for fourth again ahead of Tony Westaway in fifth, Robert Lange in sixth, then Michael Westaway in seventh and Dick Howe in eighth. Mark Taubitz was up to ninth after a good start, ahead of Jim Gallagher, who didn’t get a good start dropping down to tenth position. Ben Raphael was into eleventh ahead of Marius Catrina who also got a bad start and dropped back to twelfth with Rob Holding, Lyndon Watson, Jim Mitchell and John Vainoras in sixteenth position rounding out the field.

Unfortunately missing was Peter Doherty, with his car again suffering from the starting issues on pre grid as in Race 2, although this time was unable to make the race start at all.

Lewis-Williams was shadowing Misuraca on lap one looking for a way past before Beller could pull out a gap, and he again made his move under brakes for MG corner on lap 1 to move back into second position.

On the exit of MG corner, Howe’s car went around in a cloud of tyre smoke as he attempted to keep the car facing the right way, but it went around dropping him back to last position. Following behind, Taubitz was slightly baulked and made a small mistake, allowing Gallagher to pass entering the final corner to move into eighth position.

Robert Lange moved into fifth position around Tony Westaway to start lap 2, as Taubitz closed back onto Gallagher with ideas of moving back up from ninth position. As the paid approached MG the rears locked on the #74 Zantek car and Taubitz moved the car onto the infield grass, sliding at a 90 degree angle to the corner before he drove on from the slide before coming to a stop, but dropped behind Raphael, Catrina, Holding and Watson, back into thirteenth position. Behind him, Howe had moved up to fourteenth after re-passing Vainoras and Mitchell.

Marius Catrina got a good run on Raphael down the front straight to end Lap 2 and moved himself into ninth position, while Holding also passed Raphael into Turn 2 to move into tenth. Raphael got a bad run onto the main straight which allowed Watson to pass as they crossed the line for the third time, while Catrina had a huge brake lock up into Honda corner which gave an invitation for Holding to move up to ninth. and Watson to tenth. Catrina recovered to eleventh as Raphael tried to take the spot back, the two cars side by side leading to Hayshed, with Taubitz immediately behind. Catrina held the spot but again locked up into MG, compromising Raphael as he rounded turn 11, allowing Taubitz to pounce and take tewelfth position.

Catrina was struggling with his right front tyre now and he again locked up into Honda on lap 5, allowing Taubitz alongside on the run to Siberia. The two cars rounded Siberia side by side before Taubitz backed out entering Hayshed corner. Under brakes for MG Catrina again locked up, this time sending him into a spin and dropping him back to fourteenth behind Howe and Raphael who had just swapped positions also.

There was action up front as Lewis-Williams was hounding Beller, and was able to make a move past for the lead of the race, the first time Beller had been headed in any of the races.

Watson was able to pass Holding on Lap 6 to move him into ninth position, while Howe got a good enough run on Taubitz after Catrinas spin to help him sail past into eleventh. That would be short lived however as Howes car started encountering an issue, and Taubitz moved back past exiting Honda corner.

In the lead pack, Brad Winter made his move into a podium position as he passed Misuraca on Lap 7, while Tony Westaway also moved back past Robert Lange for fifth, while Taubitz moved himself back int the top ten passing Holding down the main straight to begin Lap 8.

The troubles Howe was experiencing became too much to persevere with as he retired his car, as did Catrina, both on lap 8.

The following lap and Winter was able to harass Beller and take the second position as Beller was struggling with the feel of his car, and he conceded the position, while Taubitz moved back up to ninth with a pass on Watson under brakes for Honda corner.

Across the line it was Chris Lewis-Williams who ended Bellers winning streak with his first victory of the year, which combined with two second place finishes enabled him to take the honours for the Round in the State Series Pointscore for the weekend.

Brad Winter scored his best ever race result in second, a fantastic effort in which he also recorded the fastest lap of the race, crossing the line two seconds behind Lewis-Williams.

Cameron Beller was able to consolidate for third position, and hung on to the round win in the 944 Challenge points by one point due to his two race wins

Finishing in fourth, just unable to push Beller off the podium was Vince Misuraca, crossing the line only a tenth of a second behind Beller.

Rounding out the top five was the ever consistent Tony Westaway, with Robert Lange right behind him in sixth position. Michael Westaway was 10 seconds adrift in seventh position for the race, as well as the round after a lonely race, with a 20 second gap back to Jim Gallagher, also a lonely race after Lap 2 on his way to eighth position for both the race and round.

Next across the line was Mark Taubitz, but was handed down a 1 minute post race penalty due to speeding in the pit lane on the formation lap after getting blocked in the pre-grid by the non firing car of Doherty, and frustrated after a good recovery from his early slide. The penalty dropping him to twwlfth, though still enough to be classified ninth outright for the weekend.

Elevated to Ninth was Lyndon Watson, a strong result in his first foray in the 944 Challenge which helped him to tenth outright in series points for the weekend – a great effort!

Tenth position was Rob Holding, very happy to earn a top ten result in his first visit to the Phillip Island circuit, and only his second 944 event, another great result.

Moving back up to eleventh position was Ben Raphael, ecstatic after having his best showing to date with some great battles throughout the weekend at the return to the round he made his debut at last year.

The final two finishers were Jim Mitchell and John Vainoras who were together for the first few laps before Vainoras had a small mistake which dropped him off the tail of the #46 944, but noth happy to record three finishes for the weekend.

As Round 2 closes, its clear that its shaping up to be another season that will go down to the final round! With 6 weeks to the third round at Winton, the drivers and teams will all be working hard to see who can gain the advantage at the tight country track!

         

Round 2. Phillip Island – Race 2

The rain clouds stayed away on Sunday morning as the field prepared for a quick six lap blast that was Race 2 of the second round of the 944 Challenge at Phillip Island.

Cameron Beller was again quickest off the start and led into turn 1, with Vince Misuraca running in his tyre tracks with a great start to follow him into Turn 1. Brad Winter also got a good start and was third, ahead of Chris Lewis-Williams who didn’t get a good start, and dropped back to fourth place.

Robert Lange was next ahead of the inseparable Westaway brothers, with Michael this time getting the better start and leading Tony through turn 1. Ken Rowland followed in eighth position, ahead of Pedr James in ninth, and Mark Taubitz in tenth after completely missing the start and lucky not to drop further back.

Jim Gallagher was next ahead of a fast starting Ben Raphael, with Rob Holding behind him. Marius Catrina remained in fourteenth with Dick Howe in fifteenth after his rear of grid start. Peter Doherty was in sixteenth after being forced to start off the rear and had Lyndon Watson behind him in seventeenth position with Jim Mitchell and John Vainoras behind them.

Gallagher locked a brake into Honda corner and lost two spots to Raphael who moved up to eleventh, and Holding up to twelfth while Lewis-Williams moved back up to third position with a pass on Winter under brakes into MG corner.

At the front of the field, the positions were status quo as Beller was able to slowly increase his gap to Misuraca and Lewis-Williams while Winter also just slipped off the tail of the top 3. Meanwhile, all of the position changes were happening in the second half of the field!

Gallagher was able to get back to twelfth position with a pass on Holding as they crested the top of Lukey Heights, and then back to eleventh with a pass on Raphael into turn 1 at the start of lap 2, and Catrina moved up to thirteenth with a pass on Holding under brakes for Honda corner. although he left the circuit just after and dropped back to seventeenth position again behind Holding, Howe, Watson and Doherty, while Howe then passed Holding and Raphael down the front straight to end the second lap.

Catrina moved back ahead of Doherty for sixteenth before Taubitz – who was battling a very loose car, spun entering Honda corner, dropping him back to seventeenth position. This elevated Gallagher to tenth and Howe into eleventh position, while Raphael was now twelfth with Holding still on his tail, and Watson in fourteenth ahead of Catrina and Doherty. Watson would have a moment in turn 11 however, dropping to seventeenth position behind Catrina, Doherty and Taubitz.

Lap 4 and Pedr James was able to make a move for eighth position on Ken Rowland, while Howe moved himself into the top ten with a pass on Gallagher.

The following lap and Lewis-Williams was able to get back to the second position with a pass on Misuraca, and there was further action at Honda corner, as Michael Westaway made a move on Lange which unfortunately ended in a spin for both cars. This elevated Tony Westaway to fifth position, with James now up to sixth with Rowland seventh.

Unfortunately for the latter two, their race – and weekend came to a close a few corners later. As Rowland was attempting to retake the position from James his car slipped off the track on the outside of Lukey heights as they crested the hill. With the wet grass from the rain across the weekend the car slid down the hill and entered the track again on the exit to MG corner – backwards.

As James rounded MG, he was struck in the rear by the rear of the sliding car of Rowland, putting both out on the spot as the two right rear corners of their 944’s made contact. A testament to the strength of the cars is that both will be repaired and expected on the grid at Winton for Round 3.

This elevated Michael Westaway back into the sixth position that he started the lap in, with Lange seventh, Howe to eighth position, with the rest of the field also moving up two positions also.

Beller was able to hold station out front and take a strong second victory for the weekend, with Lewis-Williams and Misuraca rounding out the Race 2 podium in a repeat of the Race 1 results.

Winter was again fourth, from Tony Westaway, Michael Westaway, Lange, and Gallagher, able to move back into eighth after Howe encountered some shifting issues on the final lap, but recovered to finish ninth just behind him.

Holding moved up to tenth position as he started the last lap dropping Raphael to eleventh, which became twelfth when Catrina also made a move past Raphael on the run to Honda corner. Holding unfortunately made a mistake at Honda and spun off, dropping him back to fourteenth position behind Taubitz, which moved Catrina up into the tenth position which he was able to hold to the end.

Doherty was able to capitalise when Holding had his moment also, and moved past Raphael into eleventh position into Siberia, pushing car #29 back to twelfth, where he finished the race.

Thirteenth was Taubitz, who was not able to run to his usual pace in the race with some car stability issues, with Holding and Watson crossing the line in fourteenth and fifteenth.

Sixteenth was Mitchell, crossing the line a few seconds clear of John Vainoras, both drivers improving substantially on their Race 1 laps times as they continue to find pace aroung the fast Phillip Island layout.

Beller had now won four races in a row – would he be able to make it five in a row at Race 3?