West Aussies Grant Johnson and Rhys McNally dominated the time sheets today (Friday, 15th June) with the two fastest practice times for Round 4 of the Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series – protected by Armor All at Hidden Valley Raceway, Darwin.
Johnson was the fastest in the first session and McNally claimed the second, however Johnson was quickest overall in the combined practice times.
The Holiday Inn backed driver has the best record at this track, having claimed Pole twice, posted five out of six possible podiums including three wins (2006, 2009, 2010), one second (2007) and one third (2005.)
“Hopefully history repeats itself and we’re on pole. The ute was really good in the first practice on old tyres, we were faster than a lot of guys going out on new boots,” said Johnson.
McNally has been disappointed with his run this year, and is keen to make his mark this weekend.
“It’s great to finally be up the pointy end and consistent in both practices. It’s been a huge effort with Terry, Patrick and the whole team. We haven’t started the year off as fast as we’d liked, we were a bit slow in the first three rounds. We tested before Darwin, so at this stage its working out alright, and I’m looking forward to a good weekend,” said McNally.
Queenslander Kris Walton was third fastest in combined practice ahead of New Zealand V8 Ute Champion Andrew Waite who made his Aussie V8 Ute debut.
“We didn’t’ quite make the most of it in the second session, but I know we’ll be quick tomorrow when we get some new tyres on. I just didn’t make the most of the second session when the tyres were a bit colder but we’ll be ok tomorrow,” said Waite.
Next fastest was Ryal Harris, who will take a 5 grid spot penalty, (which will come into affect for Race 1), after making contact with Thirsty Camel Racing’s Craig Dontas in the first session. Dontas had extensive damage to the front end of his car and was lucky to make it back on the track for the second session, while Harris bent the diff in the Rexel Ford.
Cameron McConville (Bundaberg Racing) was sixth fastest ahead of Ben Dunn (Red Ass Mexican Food,) Truckline Racing’s Ryan Hansford posted eighth in the second session; after sitting out the first session due to a holed radiator.
Series leader Nathan Pretty was ninth fastest in his Monster Energy Holden, and held out reigning Hidden Valley Champion Kim Jane who rounded out the top ten.
Andrew Fisher didn’t manage a lap in the first session due to diff failure, and then electrical gremlins plagued the Jesus Racing Ford to be only 16th fastest overall. Sieder’s Racing will replace the wiring harness and Motec loom overnight in an effort to cure the problem before qualifying. Wake-up Racing’s Warren Millet copped a fine for speeding in pit lane.
The V8 Utes will be back on the track tomorrow for Qualifying at 8:40am followed by Race 1 at 11:30am and Race 2 at 2:20pm.
Sunday sessions are as follows: Sunday, 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.