Round 4. Sandown – Race Preview

Round 4. Sandown – Race Preview

Round 4 of the 2016 Season for the 944 Challenge is this weekend and some adverse weather is on the forecast, however that hasn’t stopped the largest field of drivers entering for this round in almost 2 years!

With more cars due to return the track for the first time in 2016 in the hands of both new and existing owners, the signs are that the 944 Challenge continues to show more and more signs of strength in the series!

Lets have a look at the drivers that entered for this weekends round at Sandown – the third consecutive round for the 944 Challenge boasting another new member having their first weekend racing a 944, and a few drivers having their first hitout for 2016.

#55 Cameron Beller.  Cameron was unstoppable at Sandown for Round 3 taking a clean sweep at Sandown with Pole Position and 3 race wins, and now leads the series pointscore. Can he be stopped this weekend?

#15 Vince Misuraca. Vince sits second in the points after stringing together three consistent rounds to sit just behind Beller in the points after 3 rounds of the series, and will be hoping to get back on top of the table after Sandown.

#50 Tony Westaway. Tony had a good weekend at Sandown and despite a spin at the start of race 3 still managed to recover to finish 3rd for the weekend – a result that sees him in 4th position in the outright points. Another good result will be on the agenda for Tony this weekend.

#98 Pedr James. Pedr’s consistency so far in 2016 continued at Sandown, a result which sees him in 5th in the overall series points. All signs point to continuing that sequence in the PKJ Rural Fencing 944.

#45 Michael Westaway. Micheal’s Sandown round was a lot more like his Winton weekend after a troublesome PI event – a result which netted him a 5th outright for the Sandown weekend, and moves him back into 6th outright in the series points.

#22 Brad Winter. A breakout weekend for Brad at Sandown at which he was rewarded with a strong 3rd place finish in Race 3, although a DNF in Race 1 cost him for overall round points. He will be hoping to get back onto the podium this weekend if he can continue from where he left off.

#37 Chris Lewis-Williams. Chris missed his first 944 weekend in what seemed like decades at Sandown with Commitments with the clashing Winton V8 round keeping him away. Two strong weekends to start the 2016 series see him still holding 8th position in the outright pointscore, and still in contention for the series once the dropped round is taken into consideration – though a bad weekend points wise could prevent a chance of that.

#13 Jim Gallagher. Jim unfortunately had to miss Race 1 at Sandown, and had to come back through the field in the following two races, but showed good speed and progress to be in a strong position in Race 3 before an off track excursion hampered his final race result. He will be hoping to continue the showing of speed at the return to Sandown.

#12 Marius Catrina. Another consistent weekend for Marius again at Sandown, and Marius sits in 10th position in the outright pointscore, he will be looking to keep that pattern up with another solid weekend in car #12.

#74 Mark Taubitz. A strong weekend for Mark at Sandown with 2 5th position places at in Races 1 & 2, Mark was on track to solidify that before late race contact in Race 3 resulted in a DNF. Mark will be looking to improve on the potential showed last round and string together 3 good finishes this weekend and hope to move into the top 10 in points.

#8 Richard Howe. Dick Howe recovered from a suspension failure which left him starting Race 1 down the back, and progressed forward strongly before dropping back after taking to the grass to avoid the late race altercation at turn 1 in Race 3. He will be hoping to put together a weekend without any dramas to gather a solid points weekend.

#27 John Goddard. One driver who returned to the 944 series for the first time since 2014 was veteran John Goddard. John clearly enjoyed the updates and progress made to car #27 last year while Lee Partridge was behind the wheel, and despite a Race 1 spin, recovered to finish Race 3 in 4th place, and 6th outright for the weekend. John will no doubt be battling up the front again this weekend!

#18 Ross Millar. Another driver who returned last round was Ross Millar – the Blue car has had a freshen up, and Rossco performed strongly to collect two Top 10 Race results in a strong showing – he will be back this weekend and looking to continue that strong showing!

#29 Ben Raphael.  Ben missed last round after making his debut at Phillip Island, and has done some testing in between, coming acclimatised to the car and shaving a big chunk of time from his fastest laps from the PI race weekend. Making his debut at Sandown, Ben will be looking forward to a great weekend of racing this weekend.

#64 Keith Marriner. Another driver having his second Race weekend this weekend after debuting at Sandown last round, Keith performed well and made no mistakes as he improved and got used to the challenges of 944 racing. With a good variety of experienced and rookie drivers at Sandown this weekend, Keith will be mixing it up with them as he looks to move up the grid.

#14 Paul Greer. Paul was last seen at the Phillip Island round shared with the IROC series in 2015, and will be rolling out the newly liveried 944 – hoping he has resolved the gremlins that hampered his weekend last year at a track where he has earned some very strong results on his racing resume.

#53 Peter Doherty. Another long time stalwart of the 944 series who was also last seen at the 2015 Phillip Island Shannons Nationals event, Peter will be returning and hopes he has resolved the gearbox woes in his 944 and will be looking for solid weekend of racing in car #53.

#6 Robert Lange. Returning to the track for the first time in 3.5 years is 4 time 944 Challenge Champion Robert Lange. With those credentials, Robert will no doubt be a force to be reckoned with despite the lengthy time spent away from the track.

#88 Ken Knight. Another driver returning from a lengthy time away from the track, Ken will be back in car #88 for the first time since the Rennsport event in 2013. Ken will be making the trip down from NSW to join the field of 944’s this weekend at Sandown.

#20 Andrew Jackman. This weekend introduces another debutante to the 944 Series, as Andrew Jackman takes to the wheel for his first race weekend onboard the #20 Poolmaster Bayside 944. Andrew brings some extensive karting experience to the table, and has completed a few test sessions in preparation for this weekend, and is looking forward to mixing it up with the other 19 cars on the grid for Round 4 of the 2016 944 Challenge.

No shows at Sandown will be Jason Miller – the Round 2 winner unfortunately unable to get around a date clash means he had to cancel his entry for Round 4 at Sandown. Missing for this round will also be John Stanic who had a great return to the 944 series at PI, and will hopefully wheel out the #47 again soon.

Ryan Woods will be missing the Sandown event also as he works on some updates to car #17, while Ken Rowland will also be absent for this weekend, but hopes to be back behind the wheel at Winton.

Paul Crocitti, after hurting an engine in race 3 at Winton while having his strongest weekend to date, Paul is avoiding rushing the completion of the car and will return soon.

Unfortunately, Overall 2015 944 Series winner Adam Mills is still undergoing repairs to his car from the heavy incident back in October, but will hopefully return soon, along with Tim Petrusic, with some repairs to his car after a shunt at Phillip Island in 2014 nearing completion, Tim is rumoured to be returning for next round at Winton.

Before that though – a fantastic weekend at Sandown beckons – come on down and enjoy the sights, smells, and the sounds of some fantastic close racing!

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