Round 4. Sandown – Qualifying

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.


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