Rookie Kris Walton continued his winning form claiming race three and taking out Round 1 of the Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series - protected by Armor All at the Clipsal 500, Sunday, 4 March.
Walton's Rentco Ford started on the front row, alongside Jesus Racing's Andrew Fisher and the two sprinted to the first corner, with the Rentco Ford taking the lead in a spectacular air-born flyover the curb.
Fisher wasn't going to give up lightly and took the lead by the end of lap one, however the rear of the Jesus Ford stepped out at Turn 5, letting Walton and Ryal Harris through. The battle for the top spot continued in a three way tussle, with Walton setting a new lap record on the way (1:36.361) to take the chequered flag first, and cementing the Rookies first podium and first round win.
"We can't ask for anything more, first time here, first time in a new season, new car, new team, everything is going great. The car might not look this good after every weekend but we'll take it while we can," said Walton.Harris walked home with second for the race in the Rexel Ford, and second for the Round with Fisher 3rd overall.Truckline Racing's Ryan Hansford started in position 3 on the grid, and held on to claim fourth for the Race and for the Round.
Hansford's father, former motorcycle champion and Bathurst winner Gregg Hansford, passed away 17 years ago today in a racing incident at Phillip Island and although the Queenslander would have loved a podium finish, is just happy to be racing.
"It was a good result to get fourth for the weekend, I'm a little bit emotional, but it's great I'm out there having a go now. I was trying to run with the front runners, but I did fall off the back a couple of hundred metres, but hopefully I can keep improving and take home a better result," said Hansford.
In fifth was two time Clipsal winner David Sieders, who managed ninth for the round after a disappointing result in Race 1.
"I really would have loved to have kept the lap record, we had the speed to take it, however dealing with the traffic in the last race kept me from taking it back from Kris Walton," said Sieders.
Nathan Pretty was the first Holden over the line in the Monster Energy VE, and did well to claim fifth for the weekend. Stratco Racing's Rhys McNally came home in sixth for the Race and the Round. Auto One Wildcard driver Warren Luff posted the second best result for the Wildcard entry, walking away with seventh for the round, ahead of local Gary Baxter in eighth and Bob Jane T-Marts driver Kim Jane rounded out the top ten.Coopers Clear Racing's Jack Elsegood didn't start after breaking an axle on the warm-up lap.
Iseek Racing's Grant Bromley lost 10 championship points after contact with Noel Edge at Turn 4, Troy Dontas was also penalised for contact with Gerard McLeod, also losing 10 championship points. McLeod also had a massive moment through the fast Turn 8 sweeper in the McMahon Mining and Construction Holden, spinning the George Elliot owned ute at high speed and clouting the wall.Gary Baxter claimed the Champion Spark Plugs Hole Shot Award and $500 cash for the best race start. Ben Kavich won the Armor All Best Presented Award in his Workhorse Collision Repairs baked Ford and Peter Burnitt took out the Masters Award placing 14th for the weekend.
Kris Walton now leads the series by 2 points from Ryal Harris, with Andrew Fisher a further 4 points behind, as all teams prepare to head to Tasmania for Round 2 of the Series at the end of March.
To re-cap on all of the action from Round 1 tune in to Network Seven Saturday, 24th March at 12:30pm.