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!