The street fight is on for the title of the 2011 Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series - protected by Armor All at the Sydney Telstra 500, with Queenslander Ryal Harris taking out the combined practice sessions today (Friday 2nd , December.)
Currently second in the ENZED drivers Championship, Harris posted the fastest time in both practice sessions. He was the only driver to crack the 1minute 45 mark, posting 1:45.95 in the second session in his V.I.P Pet Foods/Howards Concreting backed Ford.
"We're a long shot for the title, I'm the first one to admit I threw it away at Sandown in Race two. I should have been a bit more patient. We've moved on with it now and I am happy to wrap up the year with the most race and round wins and finish on a high. The car is the fastest out there and thanks to our data this round, I've been able to go out and post a good lap right off the bat, we've never been able to do that," explained Harris.
Currently third in the ENZED Drivers Championship, David Sieders came home second fastest in the combined sessions, ahead of Series leader Chris Pither in third (who rushed off after the race to catch an M&M Concert.)
"We are happy with our speed, we are just aiming to stay out of trouble this weekend and keep putting points on the board," said Pither.
Reigning Sydney Round winner, Charlie O'Brien, was fourth fastest in his Future Assist backed Ford ahead of Grant Johnson in fifth.
Cameron McConville was sixth fastest in the combined sessions in his Bundaberg Racing Holden, in front of young-gun Rhys McNally who drove well to claim seventh.
Superstar Rookie Kris Walton is back and still in good form posting eighth fastest for the sessions, sporting his new Rare Spare's livery, ahead of Sydney star Jack Elsegood who bought the Coopers Clear Falcon XR8 home in ninth in front of Andrew Fisher who rounded out the top ten.
Auto One Wildcard driver Adam Macrow was lucky to come out of the first session unscathed after a close call with Danny Buzadzic's Ford. The former V8 Supercar development series champ is having his first steer in a ute and his first look at the Homebush street circuit.
Five minutes into Practice Two, Ben Dunn overshot Turn 6 and his Red Ass Mexican Food backed Ford made contact with the Tyre Wall.
Later in the session George Elliot stopped on track with the gearbox locked between 3rd and 4th, and as a result will make a gear box change overnight.
The V8 Utes will be back on track for Qualifying tomorrow Saturday, 3rd December at 10:55am followed by Race 1 at 5:45pm.
On Sunday the Utes will kick off the day with Race 2 right before Race 3 (the series decider) at 11:15am, which will be televised live as on Network Seven at 12pm.
Below top ten results from combined practice sessions
1 58 VIP Petfoods Ryal Harris Ford Falcon XR8 1:45.95 2 8 Australian Industrial Supplies David Sieders Ford Falcon XR8 1:46.88 3 42 Ice Break Racing Chris Pither Holden SS 1:46.98 4 15 Future Assist Group Charlie O'Brien Ford Falcon XR8 1:47.04 5 1 Car Hart Grant Johnson Holden SS 1:47.07 6 61 Bundaberg Racing Cameron McConville Holden SS 1:47.33 7 26 STRATCO Racing Rhys McNally Holden SS 1:47.40 8 68 Rare Spares Kris Walton Ford Falcon XR8 1:47.63 9 11 Coopers Clear Racing Jack Elsegood Ford Falcon XR8 1:47.80 10 9 Jesus Racing Andrew Fisher Ford Falcon XR8 1:47.94
See below top five results for the ENZED drivers championship
1 Chris Pither 838 2 Ryal Harris 792 3 David Sieders 783 4 Grant Johnson 776 5 Nathan Pretty 730