Round 4. Sandown – Race 2

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Round 4. Sandown – Race 2

Race 2 of the weekend was held as the longer 11 lap feature race for the weekend, which involved higher points for this race. Jim Mitchell was a no show for this race but would return for the final race of the weekend.

Wanting to make the most of his Pole position, Cameron Beller leapt away from the start with Jamie Westaway being slowed as he encountered issues finding third gear, allowing Taubitz and Watson to stream past, dragging Dick Howe and Michael Westaway along for the ride. With Beller clear in front, Watson and Taubitz were side by side under brakes for Turn 1, with Watson holding tough around the outside to take the second position with Taubitz slotting in behind him. Behind the top 6, Pedr James was alongside Keith Marriner into turn 1, with James also taking the position around the outside with Toni Andreevski and John Vainoras rounding out the field.

Jamie Westaway wasn’t in the mood to mess around and quickly dived inside his Uncle Michael to take back second position under brakes for turn 2, while Taubitz had a small moment in turn 4 which allowed Howe to comfortably move past into third position as the pair moved through the kink onto the back straight. Jamie Westaway continued his recovery as he moved past Taubitz under brakes for turn 1 to begin the second lap, with Taubitz then dropping back a further spot after clipping the kerb on the inside of turn 4, fortunately not looping the car, but costing him another spot as Michael Westaway also drove past by the time they got to the kink on the back straight.

Beller had cleared out up front with Watson on his own while Howe was defending the podium position from Jamie Westaway. Michael Westaway had a second gap on Taubitz with James a similar distance behind in seventh position, Marriner was right behind him in eighth, with Andreevski on his tail while Vainoras had dropped back slightly.

As the field commenced the fourth lap the Safety car boards came out due to one of the E30 BMW’s that slipped off the circuit on the turn 4 exit, neutralising and bunching up the field.

The lights were out on the safety car on lap 6, and the field resumed racing at the end of the lap. Controversially, it was deemed that Beller resumed back to racing speed too early, and was handed a 5 second penalty. Watson was doing his best to stick with Beller while Jamie Westaway passed Howe down the back straight to take the third position. Vainoras meanwhile had a spin at turn 1 once racing resumed, dropping him behind the remaining E30 runners by the time he resumed.

Beller worked on trying to create a gap that he needed to retain the lead after his post race penalty would be issued, while Jamie Westaway closed on the back of Watson. The trio of Howe, Michael Westaway and Taubitz remained in close proximity while James wasn’t able to keep up and slipped off the back of this little pack, though he was able to gap Marriner who was dealing with Andreevski on his bumper.

Westaway moved himself up to second position on lap 9 when he passed Watson down the back straight, which left him three seconds behind Beller as he crossed the line. The battle for fourth was still on in earnest between Howe Michael Westaway and Taubitz – though this became for third position when Lyndon Watson encountered gearbox issues as he exited turn 4 on the final lap – cruelly preventing him from collecting points as he was unable to cross the line and recorded a DNF.

Up front, Westaway was able to peg the gap between he and Beller so while Beller crossed the line first, he would be demoted to second with his 5 second post race penalty. He had a big enough gap over third placed Howe to retain the second position though, with Michael Westaway able to resist the pressure from Taubitz on the final lap to hold him out for fourth place.

James was unable to challenge Taubitz and dropped back after the safety car came in, and was followed across the line at the end of the race by Marriner with Andreevski staying on his tail, the trio crossing the line covered by only a second – with Vainoras the final finisher a little further back after his spin.

With the penalty issued to Beller effectively resulting in an 8 point swing in the State Series points, and only four races remaining, every race for both he and Jamie Westaway would be crucial in deciding who would win the State Series Championship! What would happen in the final race for the weekend?