David Sieders has had a storming run at Symmons Plains Raceway for Round Two of the Auto One V8 Ute Series this weekend, 30 March – 1 April, driving his Team Tradequip FG V8 Ute from tenth to fifth in the Enzed Drivers’ Standings.
Finishing in the Top Five in four of the five Championship sessions, Sieders picked 145 points this weekend, narrowly missing the Round Podium by three points, but moving up five places in the standings.
“We’ve never been outside the Top Five of the Championship other than after this year’s opening round, so I’m very pleased to be back where I should be in the standings,” said Sieders.
“In the past two seasons, we’ve lead after Adelaide, so my first goal for this weekend was to work my way back inside 'The [Top] Five', and I’ve done that.”
Finishing fourth overall for the weekend, Sieders’ was more than pleased with his result, considering there was a real possibility of not even making the round due to a knee injury a few weeks ago.
“My knee’s felt fine since the second day after I twisted it, and it should have been right to compete normally,” said Sieders, “but I didn’t want to take any chances of aggravating it more, so I’ve kept the knee brace on, which was an inconvenience, but didn’t have too much impact on my racing other than the starts”.
Having not raced on the track since the 2004 Lotus Cup Series, Sieders plans to get onto and refamiliarise himself with the Symmons Plains circuit didn’t go as planned, braking a tyre on the first flying lap of the first session, and withdrawing from the second at the scheduled mid-session pit stop.
“In the first Practice session, I just touched the outside sawtooth curb at turn six, and was sucked onto it and cracked the rim and couldn’t continue,” said Sieders, “in the second session, I was travelling alright for pace, but I was uncomfortable in the car, so I decided not to go back out when I came in for our mid-session checks”.
Sieders was off to a flying start in Qualifying, setting the first sub 1:03 time of the category on his first flying lap, and sat in first place when he returned to Pit Lane after ten minutes to regroup, but was bettered three times over and couldn’t get back to speed at the end of the session, finishing in fourth, but only 75 thousandths of a second off the Pole Time of Ryal Harris.
“The top of the timesheets was extremely close,” said Sieders, “I was on target to better my best lap on my next flyer, but stuffed a gear change and couldn’t get it done, and the car just wasn’t as good for our second stint...we probably should have had a couple more laps whilst it was hot before coming in”.
In Race one on Saturday, Sieders was able to capitalise on a mistake by fellow Sieders Racing-prepared entry of Andrew Fisher at Turn Six and moved into third position on lap two.
After setting a time quicker than the previous lap record on lap four, Sieders’ movement through the field was halted by a mid-race safety car period, and finished in third place.
“The car was building nicely through the race, it’s a shame about the safety car,” said Sieders, “I was catching [Nathan] Pretty, and ultimately [Ryal] Harris, with exception of Lap 4, when we both ran under lap record, and I ran out of laps at the end to get the job done on Pretty who seemed to be falling off under brakes at the end of the race”.
With the Top 12 finishing positions from Race One inverted for the afternoon race, Sieders started from tenth and couldn’t capitalise a second time with a mistake by Fisher at Turn Two, finding himself on the outside and side-by-side with Harris through the hairpin and down the back straight before being forced onto the sawtooth curb at Turn Six on Lap 11, giving up a place and finishing up in ninth.
“[Nathan] Pretty was able to find his way through the slower cars, but I just couldn’t find a good line and was hung out wide, and only able to improve by one place,” said Sieders.
In Sunday morning’s race, Sieders started from fifth place on the grid, but lost a spot to Craig Dontas off the start, only to reel it back out of the hairpin on the final lap to finish in fifth.
“I was only using my ankle for the clutch off the start, so wasn’t getting the best jump,” said Sieders, “I was pressuring Dontas throughout the race and he finally missed a gear out of the hairpin on the final lap and I was able to get through for another Top Five finish”.
In the fourth and final race, Sieders started from his Race Three finishing position, and took the fight to the front-running Holdens of Nathan Pretty, and Cameron McConville.
Passing Kim Jane for third at the final turn of Lap Four, Sieders quickly reeled in the Bundy Ute of McConville at the same spot three laps later for second, and despite cutting down a +1.6s gap to Pretty to under one second, had to settle for second place and the fastest lap for the session.
“That car is definitely a rocket, and I’m glad we were able to finish off the weekend with the quickest lap of the session,” said Sieders.
The next round of the Australian V8 Ute Series takes place at Barbagallo Raceway in Western Australia in five weeks’ time, 4 – 6 May 2012.
“We came here to grab some needed Championship points and move into the Top Five of the field, but I’ll be hitting the track next time with no impairments and will be looking to get back on the podium and keep chjpping away at the top spot of the Championship.”