Race 3 of the Mallala race weekend was a 10 lap event held at 10:30 on the Sunday morning, with Cameron Beller and Chris Lewis-Williams on a win apiece after the two Saturdays races.
Sadly there would be only 12 cars taking the start, as Paul Crocitti encountered engine issues during his morning warm up, which would prevent his from taking the start from his well earnt fourth starting spot – a cruel blow.
Cameron Beller yet again led into the first corner with Chris Lewis-Williams behind, ahead of Tony Westaway, with Ken Rowland jumping up to fourth position, aided by the empty grid slot in front of him thanks to Crocitti. Ryan Woods was next through ahead of Dick Howe, Michael Westaway, Mark Taubitz who slipped back after missing the start, Marius Catrina, Keith Marriner, Toni Andreevski and John Vainoras.
Howe moved up to fifth position with a pass on Woods down the back straight, Woods clearly suffering from a shortage of horsepower onboard car #17.
The top two yet again pulled a gap on the third place Tony Westaway who himself pulled a small gap of Rowland in fourth, who also found himself comfortable ahead of fifth placed Howe.
The battle for fifth is where all the excitement was, as Woods was trying every trick in the book to move back ahead of Howe, while Taubitz managed to take the seventh position from Michael Westaway under brakes for the final hairpin on lap 3, and set about after Howe and Woods.
Woods made a move on the inside of Howe at turn three on lap 4, but Howe was able to power past down the back straight to hold the position. The following lap Howe suffered the same fate though this time went off at the exit of the corner, allowing Woods, Taubitz and Westaway to all pass. Westaway was looking for a way through to move past either Woods or Taubitz as the pair battled, which left him compromised against Howe who made a pass back for position into the final hairpin corner to close lap five.
Taubitz had his sights set on Woods, and got a great run onto the back straight and pulled alongside under brakes on the outside of the corner. He was able to hold position with Woods and completed the pass as the pair ran side-by-side through the fast left hand sweeper. A small mistake in turn two on lap seven allowed Woods to nose ahead on the run to turn three. The two cars ran side by side through turn three before Taubitz was able to pull ahead down the straight, while behind them, Westaway made the pass back against Howe into turn three to take back seventh position.
As the pack came to cross the line for the seventh time, Woods had a moment and drifted into the Mallala dust, regaining control but the loss of momentum costing him two positions as Westaway and Howe both moved through for sixth and seventh respectively. The battle with Woods and Howe continued on in earnest, as Howe would exploit the speed advantage and move clear, only for Woods to close up under brakes, as the pair diced for the entire lap before Woods got ahead at the final hairpin to end lap 7.
Lap 9 saw dramas for Beller as he again experienced brake dramas at the turn 5 hairpin, going off and allowing Chris Lewis-Williams through for the lead of the race, with Beller again resuming in front of Westaway, while Howe turned the tables on Woods yet again, and was back through for seventh position.
Lewis-Williams was able to cross the line first at the end of the ten laps, though the celebration was short lived however, as he was deemed to have crept on the grid before the start of the race, and was handed a 5 second post race penalty – giving the win to Beller, and relegating Lewis-Williams to second place points for the race.
Third position yet again went the way of Tony Westaway, who was a lot closer to the front pair this morning crossing the line 4 seconds behind Beller, but not close enough to capitalise and be elevated to second position with Chris’ penalty.
Fourth position went the way of Ken Rowland with a great result although a fairly lonely race ahead of the dicing group behind him.
Making the pass for fifth position was Michael Westaway, who didn’t relent on the pressure and passed Taubitz under brakes for the hairpin on the final lap, dropping Taubitz back to sixth position.
Dick Howe was able to hold on to finish in seventh position, with Ryan Woods right behind him in eighth after some great racing between the four drivers for positions 5 through to 8, with no panel rubbing at all – great to see!
Ninth position went to Marius Catrina, which he held from start to finish of the ten laps. He was kept on his toes for the duration of the race by Keith Marriner who was behind him from the start of the race all the way through to turn 7 on the final lap, where Marriner slipped wide and allowed the following Toni Andreevski through to steal the tenth position, with Marriner recovering to cross the line just behind Toni in eleventh position.
The final finisher was John Vainoras as he was enjoying his most competitive weekend to date on his way to twelfth position, with the lap speed gap to the rest of the field having decreased significantly.
3 down, 1 to go! A final 12 lap race to close out a fun weekend, would it be Beller or Lewis-Williams in the final race?