Qualifying for Round 5 of the 2017 944 Challenge held at Mallala Raceway was going to be an unknown quantity with no recent form to go by at the Mallala circuit.
It was Chris Lewis-Williams jumped to the top of the time sheets early on with a 1:20.7648, just edging out Cameron Beller with a 1:20.8520. Tony Westaway moved into third quickest with a 1:21.3722 ahead of Paul Crocitti with a 1:22.0231. Michael Westaway was fifth fastest with a 1:22.5203, with Mark Taubitz sixth on a 1:22.6499. Ken Rowland was seventh (1:23.5848) just ahead of Keith Marriner (1:23.5964)
Marius Catrina was next with a 1:23.8525 ahead of Dick Howe with a 1:24.2414. Jim Mitchell was next (1:26.8225) followed by John Vainoras (1:26.8375) with Pedr James next with a 1:27.2440.
Beller jumped to the top of the time sheets as he dipped into the 19’s with a 1:19.9278, as Crocitti improved with a 1:21.6777, which he would not beat for the remainder of the session. Ken Rowland jumped up to fifth with a 1:21.8418, ahead of Taubitz who improved with a 1:21.9136 but remained sixth, ahead of Michael Westaway who slipped to seventh despite improving with a 1:21.9620.
Marius Catrina moved up to eighth with a 1:22.7783, with James up to tenth with a 1:23.7488, just ahead of Howe who set a 1:23.7740. Mitchell also improved in twelfth with a 1:25.9727.
Beller improved marginally with a 1:19.9004, as did Lewis-Williams with a 1:20.5021, with Tony Westaway setting a fantastic 1:20.5432 for his fastest time for the session to be just behind Lewis-Williams. Howe improved to ninth with a 1:23.5349, just ahead of James who improved with a 1:23.5595.
Lewis-Williams lowered the gap to Beller as he set a 1:20.2902, but he was unable to improve on that and would settle for second on the grid behind Beller. Rowland improved further with a 121.7839, a time he was unable to improve on also. Howe lowered his time by half a second as he ran a 1:22.9285 though would remain ninth, while Vainoras improved with a 1:26.4561.
Taubitz moved up to fourth on the next lap as he recorded a 1:21.1775, ahead of Michael Westaway who moved up to fifth with a 1:21.5144. Howe moved up to eighth with a 1:22.5526, with Marriner into tenth with a 1:23.5147, just ahead of James who set his best lap of 1:23.5349 – as he struggled with a lack of power onboard car #98.
Taubitz lowered his time slightly with a 1:21.0912 on the next lap which would stand as his fastest time, as Howe did the same and with a 1:22.1434 Keith Marriner moved up to ninth with a 1:22.6850, as Mitchell improved slightly with a 1:25.9371
Howe and Marriner both improved the next lap with a 1:21.9250 and 1:22.6460, but they would remain in eighth and ninth positions respectively, while Mitchell improved again with a 1:25.1516.
Beller wasn’t finished up front however as he found a further two tenths of a second to underline his pole position with a 1 :19.7068. Michael Westaway found some time with a 1:21.3278, as Mitchell again improved with a 1:24.5734, as did Vainoras with a 1:25.7447.
The grid seemed set until Michael Westaway improved on his very last lap to run a 1:20.6957, up onto the second row of the grid again beside Tony Westaway, pushing Taubitz back to fifth position.
Not mentioned throughout, were the cars of the returning Ryan Woods and rookie Toni Andreevski.- both cars ran well in qualifying, with Woods actually running a time that was quick enough for fifth on the grid – however both cars were found to be underweight following qualifying – and their times were disallowed, and they would be starting from the rear of the grid for race 1.
Race 1 of 4 coming up – a quick 6 lap blast scheduled for 1:50pm!