Round 4. Sandown – Race 2

Round 4. Sandown – Race 2

There was some overnight rain again on Saturday night but by the time the 944 Challenge hit the track for the longer 10 lap race at lunchtime the track was dry… on the racing line at least – with some wet patches to be found if you strayed off it in the northern end of the circuit.

19 cars fronted up for Race 2 with the return of Marius Catrina after replacing a head gasket, and Pedr James after going home to do an engine change overnight – a great effort from both crews and helpers to get the cars back on the grid. Unfortunately, Paul Greer put his car on the trailer, unable to solve his persistent issues.

Cam Beller again got the best start and was able to clear the pack in order to set himself up for the first corner, while behind him there was a battle for second as Vince Misuraca and Tony Westaway both also got a great start to challenge Chris Lewis-Williams who was slightly slower with his getaway. Vince was able to move into 2nd through turn 1, while Westaway settled for fourth behind Lewis-Williams, with Mark Taubitz into 5th place.

Brad Winter was 6th, ahead of a fast starting Robert Lange who jumped up to 7th from his 10th place starting spot, with Michael Westaway, Jim Gallagher and Dick Howe rounding out the top 10 through turn 1. Ross Millar was 11th losing a couple spots off the line, ahead of Peter Doherty.

Moving up well was Ken Knight in 13th from Marius Catrina and Pedr James, who both got great starts from the back row of the grid after missing race 1, ahead of Ben Raphael, John Goddard and Keith Marriner. Andrew Jackman was the big loser at the start, missing the start and bringing up the rear of the field.

Beller began to open up a small gap up front while the next 4 cars, with a small gap back to the battle for 6th with Winter and Lange. James and Goddard moved up to 13th and 14th respectively while Jackman moved his way back to 17th passing Raphael and Marriner.

On Lap 2 Lange moved his way up to 6th place past Winter, while Millar moved himself back into the top 10 by getting past Howe, while Goddard continued his move forward passing James, then Doherty to be up to 12th at the end of Lap 2 after his Race 1 DNF.

Howe re-passed Millar to get back into 10th on lap 3, while Catrina repassed James for 14th, and Jackman passed Knight for 17th.

Beller worked himself a small gap while Lewis-Williams searched for a way past Misuraca, with Westaway and Taubitz following – that was until Taubitz made an error coming out of Dandenong Road corner, missing a gear and dropping 2 seconds back off the trio in front. This put him in the clutches of Lange, but entering the final corner, the car hit a small wet patch and this was enough to gyrate car #74 out of 5th position. Lange who was right behind by this stage did a great job avoiding Taubitz, taking to the grass on the outside of the final corner while Taubitz turned the car around behind the battle between Winter, Westaway and Gallagher, which was now for positions 5 to 7, then Lange, Howe and Goddard with Taubitz in 11th once he got up to speed down the straight ahead of Millar, and Catrina who got past Doherty.

Unfortunately for Lange, his problems returned as he slowed down the back straight to retire car #6 while Millar past Taubitz down the back straight for 10th.

Lap 6 and alarm bells for Vince Misuraca – literally – as car #15 showed no oil pressure. Vince’s experience helped him deduct that it was most likely a failed or loose sensor connector as the car was still running fine, nevertheless, he backed off slightly allowing Lewis-Williams through to 2nd, although by this stage, Beller was 7 seconds up the road… Michael Westaway also passed Winter down the back straight to move up to 5th while Taubitz moved back past Millar down the back straight also to move back to 10th.

Tony Westaway moved into a podium position the next lap as Misuraca was still being wary of the oil pressure situation, while Millar moved back around Taubitz into 10th as when slowed briefly exiting turn 3. The lap later, Michael Westaway also rounded up Misuraca for 4th, while Keith Marriner pulled out, unable to get the car out of 3rd gear, which would unfortunately end his weekend.

Taubitz moved his way back to 10th again past Millar down the back straight on Lap 9 while the rest of the top 10 maintained position to the finish, with Beller taking another commanding win to continue his perfect Sandown weekend, ahead of Lewis-Williams, the Westaway brothers in 3rd and 4th, with Misuraca consolidating for fifth, just ahead of Winter and Gallagher. A small gap back to the battle for 8th between Howe and Goddard, with Taubitz rounding out the top 10 just in front of Millar.

Catrina was 12th, ahead of James who passed Doherty for 13th on the last lap, witha  gap back to the close battle for 15th with Jackman and Knight, with Raphael behind them.

One race remained, more rain on the way… what would happen for Race 3? Could Beller sweep both Sandown rounds?

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