Top field for V8 Ute Top End Appearance‏ at Darwin

The V8 Ute Racing Series is pumped up, primed and ready to rock Darwin’s Hidden Valley for the seventh year running, in Round 4 of the Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series – protected by Armor All at Hidden Valley Raceway, 15 – 17 June.

Last year’s winner Kim Jane (Bob Jane T-Marts) will return for his seventh year in a row, and coming off a round win in Perth is eager to keep the momentum going.

“At the start of the year, if I’d pencilled two events that I was confident I’d do well at, one would be Perth and one Darwin. They are two tracks that we’ve done well at over the years with a win in Darwin last year and Perth, the ute is quick and the teams confidence is back up so I don’t’ see why we couldn’t be pushing for a great success in Darwin. Our success in the past came from the reverse grid race, which puts a lot of pressure on that race, so as long as we can have a good reverse grid race, we should be in with a good shot,” said Jane.

Jane is chasing Series front-runner Nathan Pretty (Monster Energy), who currently leads the ENZED Drivers Championship by 41 points ahead of Rexel Electrical Supplies Ryal Harris in third. Harris switched to a Ford last year, won his second race for the Blue Oval, and is feeling confident Darwin will be a great round for him.

“I really like the track at Darwin, we had our second race win there last year and I’m hoping to have a few more but I’m just going to drive safe this time round. I’ve got a lot of local support in Darwin with Ducks Nuts Bar and Grill and we’d love to post a great result for them.  We got a few points back at Perth, so if we can keep getting consistent results we’ll hopefully move up a spot or two,” said Harris.

Truckline Racing’s Ryan Hansford will also be out to prove himself with Teammate Kris Walton currently sitting second in the Series. Hansford has the advantage over the new Rookie, having won Race 2 last year, which led to third overall for the round. Walton leads the Rookie point score however hasn’t raced in Darwin before.

“I’d love to post a good result for Truckline. We drove really well there last year, and it would be great to repeat that. I need to do well this round and it’s about time I beat Kris (Walton),” Hansford said with a grin.

Two time Series Champion (2007 and 2010), Grant Johnson, will make a return to the top-end, with the best track record at the event boasting five out of six possible podiums. Three wins (2006, 2009, 2010), one second (2007) and one third (2005) will give the West Aussie confidence going into the round, following a disappointing result on his home-track in Perth.

Current lap record holder David Sieders will be another one to watch, claiming second for the round last year after taking out the Armor All Pole Award and Race 1.

New to the field this round is Colin Bradley, who will join Hayley Swanson in a two car Bay Point Development Team. Bradley is driving Yanis Derum’s Holden, whilst the Sydneysider will nominate this as his return to the series after a year away, and will steer the Sieders Racing Ford BF. 

Ezeatm Racing’s Todd Zani and Rick Gill will also make a return to the field. Zani debuted at the last round in Perth, whilst this will Gill’s second time driving a V8 Ute at Darwin.

The drivers will hit the track for two practice sessions on Friday, 15th June followed by;Saturday, 16th June    Qualifying     8:40amSaturday, 16th June    Race 1        11:30amSaturday, 16th June    Race 2         2:20pmSunday, 17th June      Race 3        10:30amSunday, 17th June      Race 4         1:25am

Race 2 will be televised as Live as on Network Seven (Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne) and 7Mate (Adelaide, Perth and Darwin) at 2pm (AEST) Saturday, 16th June and Race 4 will be televised Live As also on Network Seven (Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne) and 7Mate (Adelaide, Perth, Darwin) at 2pm (AEST) Sunday, 17th June.

The 2012 Series consists of 32 V8 Utes 16 Fords and 16 Holden’s who battle it out through 26 races over eight rounds raced throughout Australia covering six states and one territory and is televised nationally through-out Australia on Network Seven and 7 Mate and internationally through Motors TV Europe, TV3 New Zealand and SPEED online in the USA.

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