Defending Champion Tony Ricciardello won the battle however it was Kerry Baily who won the Kerrick Sports Sedan series war at Wakefield Park Raceway in Goulburn, at Round 8 of the Shannons Nationals presented by Hi-Tec Oils.
The Tasmanian-born Queenslander sealed a stunning sixth Sports Sedan title today with a consistent three-race performance that did everything he needed and nothing more to ensure another title.
Ricciardello was in crushing form today: winning all three races and beating Baily’s existing lap record at the circuit in race two; but it wasn’t enough to overhaul the Aston Martin DBR9 that has led the title since the opening round at Mallala back in April.
Hossack had race-winning potential all weekend however a fuel pump circuit breaker issue in race one sidelined the Audi and took him out of ultimate round-winning contention.
He stormed to second in race two and then challenged Ricciardello early in the finale’ – re-setting the lap record in the process – before ultimately finishing second and dropping to third in the standings, behind Ricciardello.
After a classic and unpredictable season, the final race of the year was this year’s Kerrick series in a nutshell; the three fastest drivers racing at lap-record pace for the entire distance.
“I haven’t won it since 2003 and as one gets older it feels good to be able to run with the younger fellas,” Baily said.
“It was with a new car and with a car I always loved. We built this damn thing and it’s been good to us! But we can see it has so much more potential. We were only two-tenths off Darren’s new lap record but there are areas to improve. If we can improve them next weekend then we’ll be damn good.
“Darren (Hossack) and Tony (Ricciardello) were unfortunate early in the season but we were also unfortunate at Queensland where we missed a race when we had to change an engine so, it’s been back and forth all season.
“It is very satisfying to race with them and the competition has been very good. In the past there would have been panel damage but there wasn’t this year. Every person puts in a massive effort and it’s been a great year.”
The Kerrick Sports Sedans broke lap records at four of five rounds (Wakefield Park, Queensland Raceway, Sydney Motorsport Park and Phillip Island) this season and showed their resurgence with the closest title fight seen in years.
More new cars are expected next year as the series continues to grow. Simon Tabinor need only score a handful of points in the final round of the Dial Before You Dig Australian saloon Car Series at Sandown in November, after winning the penultimate round of the series this weekend.
Harley Phelan and Josh Kean took the battle up to Tabinor all weekend however the British-born Englishman was too dominant all weekend, winning two of the three races and taking the round.
Josh Kean was the only driver to beat the series leader, pressuring him all race before slipping past to take the race three victory. Phelan and Kean completed a Holden sweep of the top three positions. Allan Jarvis’ comeback towards defending his Hi-Tec Australian Swift Racing series title took a blow when his car broke its rear suspension in the final race, sending him off the road at high speed and forcing him to the pit lane and out of the final race of the weekend.
Reece Murphy assumed a clear championship lead, whilst Damien Ward took both races held today to win the round in his Hi-Tec Oils sponsored car. Murphy finished second overall and Jarvis, despite his race three issues, third.
Chris Delfsma looked set to sweep all three races in the V8 Touring Car Heritage Round – at an event where it was the cars, rather than the racing itself, that drew most of the attention.
The Blue Mountains-based driver won race two this morning in his AU Ford and looked to take the third - but slipped up two laps from home with a mistake that allowed the Budweiser Ford of Aaron Tebb to take the third race.
Delfsma was still able to take the round victory ahead of Tebb and Bathurst driver Steve Ingwerson, driving an ex-Russell Ingall VT Commodore.
Continuing his dominant season, Adam Beechey went lap record chasing at Wakefield Park en route to winning round five of the V8 Commodore Cup this weekend.
The only blot on the Tasmanian’s copybook was race two, when he was penalised for jumping the start. Beechey took a pit-lane penalty for that infraction, whilst a five-second penalty was imposed for not being correctly in the grid box; handing the win to Chris Stevenson.
Despite the dramas he still was able to win the race and left with the round win and a new lap record.
The ninth and final round of the 2012 Shannons Nationals presented by Hi-Tec Oils will be held at Melbourne’s Sandown Raceway on November 23-25.
Competing categories will include the Touring Car Masters, Australian Manufacturers Championship, Kumho V8 Touring Cars Series, Dial Before You Dig Australian Saloon Cars, Hi-Tec Oils Australian Swift Racing series and V8 Commodore Cup.
For more information head to www.thenationals.com.au