Queenslanders Dominate V8 Ute Field in Tasmania

‏Queenslanders, Ryal Harris and Kris Walton, claimed Race 1 and Race 2 respectively at Round 2 of the 2012 Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series - protected by Armor All at Symmons Plains, Saturday, 31st March.

Harris started on pole alongside Monster Energy's Nathan Pretty, and took the Holden under brakes into Turn 1 in his Rexcel Ford FG, and was never headed setting a new lap record on lap 4 in a time of 1:03.2096.

"I'm over the moon at the moment, and we'll just try and make the most of it, while the ute is the best it has ever been," said Pretty.

Pretty held on for a strong second with David Sieders next over the line, from team mate Andrew Fisher who claimed fourth in his Jesus Racing Ford FG.The safety car was deployed mid race, when Danny Buzadzic came in a bit too hot into the hairpin, locking up and making contact with Rookie Daniel Kennedy, forcing the Kennedy Express Ford into the run-off at Turn 4. Buzadzic was handed a drive through penalty for the incident.

After the restart, the battle was on for fifth between Rentco Racing's Kris Walton and Cameron McConville (Bundaberg Racing,) the Melbourne based driver coming in sixth ahead of Kim Jane in seventh and Rhys McNally in eighth. Adelaide's Craig Dontas and Gary Baxter had their own battle for tenth with Dontas claiming the position in his Thirsty Camel Holden, and Baxter rounding out the top ten.

On the second last lap of the race, Peter Burnitt locked up and drove into the side of teammate Sam Walter. Walter was able to finish the race; however Burnitt had extensive damage to the front of his car and was forced to sit out of Race 2.

Chris Pither Scholarship benefactor Jesse Dixon drove well to claim 11th ahead of Workhorse Collision Repairs Racing's Ben Kavich in 12th.The top 12 utes were reversed for Race 2 with Kavich on Pole alongside Dixon, who had a brilliant start cementing himself a great lead. Dixon continued to lead following a Safety Car period after iseek Racing's Jason Gomersall and Warren Millet (Wake-up Racing) ended up in the run-off at the hairpin. Dixon lost his lead in the final laps of the race with a slipping clutch, but still finished the race in 16th.

"When I got in front of Kavich, it gave me time to pull away and when the safety car came out, I managed to pull away again but I could feel the clutch giving way. We're working hard to fix it for tomorrow. It was disappointing as it would have been good to win a race on debut but I'm still happy with 16th," said Dixon.Walton started in eighth position and drove through the field to overtake Dixon and then Kavich for the race lead."Jesse was getting away and lucky for me he had an issue and we got him. We've been struggling a bit this weekend but we finally got it together that race," said Walton.

Kavich drove well for second position, holding out Dontas, McConville and Pretty for his best ever result.

"I would have liked to have won it but I think Kris was just a bit too good for me, but I'm happy with the pace and the position and we're just going to make it a decent round," said Kavich.

There was close racing all through the field with Sage Automations Gary Baxter sixth ahead of Fisher, Harris and Sieders. Rhys McNally rounded out the top ten in his Stratco Racing's Holden ahead of Kim Jane (Bob Jane T-Marts,) who drove well to finish in 11th on bent wheels, after slamming the wall on the main straight following contact with McNally.Ryan Hansford changed a clutch between races and was then caught up in a Turn 4 incident with Wake-up Racing's Warren Millet and Phonsy Mullan (Ripshift). Mullan and Millet were both forced to retire, and Hansford was bought into the pits for a mechanical black flag to fix his rear bumper.Jake McNally was also unlucky after a coming together with Danny Buzadzic. Buzadzic had extensive damage to the ute and didn't finish, while the West Aussie held on to finish the race.

The V8 Utes will hit the track for Race 3 Sunday morning at 11am, which will see a Ford and Holden front row with Kris Walton on Pole next to Pretty. The round will be decided with Race 4 at 2:05pm.