Nathan Pretty holds onto the Series lead after a nail-biting finish to Round 3 of the Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series – protected by Armor all, which saw Kim “The Assassin” Jane claim the Round, Kris Walton win Race 2, and Ryal Harris Race 3 at Barbagallo Raceway, Sunday, 6th May.
This is Jane’s first Round win since Darwin last year and the veteran couldn’t be happier.
“We’ve been struggling to a degree, I’ve been a bit conservative and there has been a bit of team comment that I’m driving around like a bit of a girl – maybe the old man should hang up his helmet – So it was time to step up and see if I’ve still got, it or get out – so I was a lot more aggressive, which probably upset a few of my mates that I race with, but that’s bad luck, I’m back,” explained Jane.
Jane took the round after a fierce battle with Ryal Harris in Race 3. Harris started on Pole alongside Series leader Nathan Pretty, and whilst the Monster Energy driver led off the start, Harris soon caught him in his Rexel Electrical backed Ford FG. Harris made a break until Jane moved through the field, setting a new lap record in a time of 1:07.81, and catching the Queenslander under brakes at Turn 7 on lap 8. Harris fought back and dived down the inside of Jane at the next corner, reclaiming the top spot and finally crossing the line only two thousandths of a second ahead of the Bob Jane T-Marts Holden.
The win gave Harris second overall for the weekend and pushed him into third in the ENZED Drivers Championship.
“I did all I could within the rules to keep him (Jane) at bay, I had to try and outsmart the Old Fox I guess you could say, and I was happy to see the chequered flag. We were really happy to win race 3. I knew that he didn’t have to pass me to win the round, but I knew he wanted the race win. We were side by side under brakes coming into the final corner, I’m glad we got it and I’d like to thank the Tafe kids (West Coast Institute of Training), Big Gun Racing, Get Approved Finance, Illuminated Industries and SS Inductions,” said Harris.
Pretty came home third overall, which secured third for the Round. Race 2 winner Kris Walton and West Aussie Rhys McNally pushed him all the way. McNally secured fourth for the Race after a great start, giving the Stratco Racing’s driver the Champion Spark Plugs Hole Shot Award and $500 cash for his efforts.
Walton came home in fifth, which has kept him in second overall for the Series and Thirsty Camel Racing’s Craig Dontas did well to come home in sixth, ahead of young-gun Jesse Dixon in his Ice Break Holden. Dixon had a great drive from ninth position to cross the finish line ahead of Jesus Racing’s Andrew Fisher in 8th, West Aussie Veteran Rick Gill in 9th, and 2010 Rookie of the year David Sieders tenth.
West Aussie Grant Johnson made up 7 spots from 18th to finish in 11th; he did the same earlier in the day in Race 2 overtaking 15 Utes, which gave him the SS Inductions Hard Charger Award and $500 cash.
Fellow West Aussies, Paul Williams and Allan Letcher started on the front row for Race 2, which was a reverse of the top 20 from Race 1.Letcher had the better start and led until the final laps, when Rookie Kris Walton caught him in his Rentco backed Ford FG. Walton passed 15 utes to get to the top spot, and was already in eighth position before a safety car period was triggered after Jake McNally overshot at turn 1, burying him in the sand-trap.
Only seconds earlier, Andrew Fisher had contact with the Bundaberg Holden of Cameron McConville on Lap 2 in the bowl, which sent Fisher off the track in spectacular fashion and into the in-field.
“I’ve respected Cam throughout his whole Supercar career and given he is a supposed Driver Standards to Carrera Cup, he is the last person I’d expect to serve me up. He just nailed me and kept the boot in until I was sideways and flying off the track,” Fisher stated. Race officials obviously agreed and McConville was penalised 10 places in the final race result.
On the restart, Walton caught Glenn McNally on lap 8 and on the final lap made the move on Letcher to take the win.
“It was a good fun race. I made a few up in the first few laps. I think that is the key with reverse race is to make the moves as soon as possible. The car is great, the guys have done a great job on it, from where we started on the weekend to where we are now, I couldn’t have asked for anymore,” said Walton.
Glenn McNally came home in third ahead of Letcher, Walton’s Teammate Ryan Hansford, and McNally’s brother Rhys in fifth.
Jesse Dixon secured seventh, ahead of Ryal Harris and Sage Automations Gary Baxter, Paul Williams, with McConville rounding out the top ten.
Peter Burnitt claimed the Masters Award for the best performing driver over 45 years of age, Ben Dunn, the Armor All Best Presented, and the Teams Awards went to Murphy Racing for Dontas and Pretty’s consistent results.
Pretty now leads the ENZED Drivers Championship by 13 points from Kris Walton, and 35 points ahead of Ryal Harris in third.
The 2012 Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series – protected by Armor All will head to the top end in Darwin next round, 15 – 17 June but to recap on all of the action from Round 3, tune into Network Seven, Saturday, 12th May at 12:30pm.