This coming weekend will see a return to Winton as part of the Victorian State Race Championships for the first time in a long time – and a strong field looks set to attend again for the 944 Challenge to mark the occasion, with a continuation of the streak of weekends of drivers making their first run behind the wheel of their 944 for the first time continuing!
Lets check out who is making the trip to Benalla in the hope of claiming some silverware for this round..
#55 Cameron Beller. Cameron Beller leads the points after four rounds, and after tow successful rounds at Sandown, he will be looking to continue his success streak at Winton after 5 wins from 6 races at Sandown. He may not have things all his own way however…
#15 Vince Misuraca. Vince will arguably be the favourite for Round 5 at Winton after clean sweeping the first round in the searing Northern Victorian heat back in March, and he will be looking to claw some points back on Beller as he vies for his first 944 series crown.
#50 Tony Westaway. Tony has continued to show his consistent speed at all tracks, and his ability to recover even from a mishap and gather some strong points sees him in 3rd in the series points. He will be hoping to pounce on any opportunity that presents itself to gain points on the top two.
#37 Chris Lewis-Williams. Chris secured his first race win of the year in the last race at Sandown in July, and will be looking to improve on the two second place finishes from the March Winton round, and strengthen his position in the 944 series pointscore in his attempt to take another series crown.
#45 Michael Westaway. Micheal sits fifth in the series points after two solid rounds at Sandown, although they didn’t quite match his efforts at Winton in March where he was snapping at the heels of the leading trio most of the weekend. He will be hoping history repeats itself as far as his pace goes, and that he can capitalise and get himself onto the podium this weekend.
#13 Jim Gallagher. Jim has had a very strong first half of the 2016 season so far, and would be even higher in the points if not for having to miss a race at Sandown due to other commitments. Winton was a solid weekend for him in March, he will also be looking to replicate these efforts.
#3 Jason Miller. Jason missed the second Sandown round due to work commitments, and is trying to juggle again to coordinate how he can get onto the grid for this round. He may miss qualifying due to having to come from the other end of the country on Friday night, but will make every possible effort to be on the grid for Race 1! With a win and 2 second places from his last 4 race starts, momentum is still on Jason’ side if he can get himself into the car by the time the lights go out on Saturday afternoon!
#98 Pedr James. Pedr unfortunately missed the first race at Sandown after a blown engine in qualifying, but a magnificent effort to change the engine overnight saw him able to score some valuable points on Sunday to enable him to stay inside the top 10 in the series standings. Pedr had a good weekend at Winton earlier in the year and will hope to have a less hectic weekend this time around!
#74 Mark Taubitz. Another strong weekend at Sandown with a 5th position qualifying and a 4th place with some good speed onboard car #74 after some updates. After only getting to run 1 lap around the new Winton surface in May before suffering gearbox issues, Mark will hope he can get in a full weekend of racing this time around!
#12 Marius Catrina. Another driver who suffered engine woes in qualifying, but was also able to repair them for Sunday, Marius showed some more good speed at Sandown, but Winton remains his best round so far for 2016 – so a return visit to the rural track will no doubt be an event Marius is looking forward to.
#8 Richard Howe. Dick Howe was another who didn’t have an enjoyable weekend at Winton in March, with car #8 having persistant engine issues – all thankfully now sorted, Dick will be looking to make amends for the lost points and get himself into the top 10 in series points.
#18 Ross Millar. Back in the 944 series for the last two rounds at Sandown was Ross Millar, with the little blue car making the trek up the highway to Winton this round for the first time since 2014, Ross enjoyed some good pace at Sandown and is excited to try out the new surface on the Winton layout.
#29 Ben Raphael. Ben improved greatly with his second round behind the wheel of his newly acquired 944 at Sandown, and will be looking forward to his first race at the tight Winton track, as he looks to continue to shrink the gap to those at the front of the pack.
#4 Ken Rowland returns to the Winton track for the first time in 18 months, and his first meeting in the new car and first meeting on the new surface after missing the last round at Sandown – Ken is counting the sleeps to get back onto the track..
#20 Andrew Jackman. Andrew had his debut outing with the 944 Challenge at the last round at Sandown and acquitted himself well, keeping the car largely clean and unscathed, save for a minor incident in the greasy Friday conditions, and was able to mix it up with some of the seasoned veterans on track. Andrew will be one of a number of drivers having their first hit out at Winton this weekend.
#64 Keith Marriner. Another driver making his Winton debut, Keith showed some good speed at Sandown but suffered Gearbox issues in Race 2 which ended his weekend early. He will be looking to be top of the Winton debutantes this weekend!
#88 Ken Knight. Ken’s return to the 944 challenge at Sandown last round wasn’t without issues – but fortunately they were mainly contained to before the races themselves, as he managed a solid weekend of results on his return to the track, and first time on the new tyres. Winton should be a good outing for car #88.
#53 Peter Doherty. Another long time stalwart of the 944 series who returned at Sandown last round, Peter had good pace but his weekend also was not without incident, with some mechanical issues preventing his from qualifying or from making it out for Race 3. With said issues resolved, Peter will be back to Winton for his first outing in a couple of years.
#27 Lee Partridge. Having stolen the keys for car #27 again, the 2015 Rookie of the Year and third Place series placegetter, Lee Partridge slips himself behind the wheel again in an attempt to tick off the one thing he didn’t manage to accomplish last year – and thats win a race outright, after he managed to snare a Round win at Phillip Island. As the rest of the drivers up front will be battling for series points, Lee will have his mind set purely on a race win…
#19 Greg Woods Making his 2016 debut will be Greg Woods, with car #19 making the trip across to Benalla for the first time in a couple of years to complete a healthy field of 20 entries for the second race in succession.
Another fantastic weekend of racing is promised this weekend, come on down and enjoy the sights, smells, and the sounds of some fantastic close racing as the 944’s are joined at Winton along with the rest of the State Series brigade!