Round 1. Sandown – Race 2

Round 1. Sandown – Race 2

Sunday morning brought cooler temperatures as the 944 Challenge field set off for their second race for the weekend on Sunday morning for the second 8 lap shootout.

The battle off the front row was a carbon copy of race 1 with Cameron Beller and Jamie Westaway side by side on the run to turn 1, with Beller again holding the lead as the field entered the corner. Lyndon Watson held on to third position behind them, with Dick Howe initially getting a good start before slowing on the run to Turn 1, and actually pulling off the circuit instead of taking the first corner. The car was back on the trailer and off for some quick exhaust repairs before returning in time for Race 3.

Behind Watson therefore was Mark Taubitz after getting a good start from sixth position, with Jim Mitchell and Marius Catrina side by side on the run to Turn 2, with Mitchell emerging in front with the fifth position. Behind them there were dramas as Pedr James, eager to make up from his Race 1 issues got a great start from twelfth on the grid, but then looped the #98 car on entry to turn 1, causing the field to scatter around him. Andrew Jackman was next in line once everyone recovered, ahead of Jim Gallagher, Keith Marriner, John Vainoras and Rob Holding in eleventh, with James resuming at the back of the pack. Holding moved his way around Vainoras during the first lap to move into tenth position.

Beller was able to pull a gap up front, while Watson was able to stay in touch with Westaway in the battle for second. Taubitz was next in fourth position and begun pulling away from the battle for fifth between Mitchell and Catrina, while Gallagher passed Jackman and moved into seventh position.

The weekend ended for Jim Gallagher on lap 2, as the #13 car lost an engine down the back straight, a big smokescreen making things interesting for the cars behind him! A large hole in the engine block ended proceedings, with a missed gearshift the cause of the failure, a disappointing end to the weekend for the team.

Up front Beller continued to open his gap to Westaway, who had Watson hanging with him, while Taubitz settled in for a lonely race in fourth position, with a large gap developing behind him to Mitchell, with Catrina unable to find a way past him. On lap 3, Holding was able to move up to eighth position with a pass on Marriner, while James moved into the top ten when he caught onto the back of Vainoras and made the pass for position.

The cars battling for seventh managed to catch the fifth and sixth placed cars of Mitchell and Catrina, with Jackman moving past Catrina for sixth on Lap 4, with Holding making his way past Catrina the next lap to move up to seventh.

Beller had an even larger gap this race as Westaway had to concentrate more on looking in his mirrors than out of his windshield with Watson taking up his attention behind. Watson shadowed Westaway until the last lap when he successfully pulled off a pass for the second position under brakes for Turn 1, which he held to end of the race with Westaway crossing the line in third. A gap back to Taubitz who cruised around for fourth position, with a huge gap back to Mitchell, who held on for a fantastic fifth position.

Crossing the line behind him was Andrew Jackman for sixth on the final lap, with Rob Holding filling up the mirrors of the Poolmaster Bayside car as he crossed the line in seventh position, with Catrina right behind Holding in eighth.

Keith Marriner was a couple of seconds behind the battle in front as he crossed the line in ninth position, with Pedr James rounding out the top ten, ahead of the final finisher in John Vainoras.

Beller’s pace would be difficult to overcome, could someone throw a challenge down to him for the last, longer 10 lap race?


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