Dave "Sideways" Sieders has narrowly missed out on his first podium result on the streets of Townsville this weekend, 4-6 July 2014, for round four of the Australian V8 Ute Racing Series - fuelled by Hog's Breath Cafe.
The 30 year old from Londonderry in Sydney's West was well placed in the round standings going into the final day, however, the final grid allocations worked against him, leaving him four points short in fourth.
"I love Townsville, I love the people, and I love the circuit, but I just keep getting caught out in the races and missing out on the podium," said Sieders, "considering we didn't get a lap in for practice one, to then turn it around to be 'P2' in the second session and then to finally take pole I was pretty keen for a good weekend, but it obviously wasn't to be...again."
"Heading into the final race, we were second for the round, but needed to finish in front of Ryan [Hansford] or Rhys [McNally] for a podium, but started three and four places back because of contact in the reverse grid race, which always meant getting to that podium was going to be tough".
With Kris "Killa" Walton taking out his second round win of the season, the battle at the top of the Armor All Drivers Leaderboard has opened slightly, with Sieders trailing in second place by just 18 points.
"To be honest, I'm not sure I would have felt much better having simply made the podium, not with [Kris] Walton getting 16 points on me this weekend with the round win," said Sieders, "I'd rather be making the gap smaller than larger, so we'll keep pushing for the next four rounds to get it done".
Sieders started his weekend from pole for the first time at Townsville, but contact with Walton down the first straight at the wrong time cost him two places in the opening lap, and later dropping to fourth place following a missed gear on the penultimate lap.
"I had a good jump and run down the straight holding my line, and was just going for third when there was a small bump with Walton and I missed the gear and dropped a few spots," said Sieders, "I seemed to have Hansford's measure in the race, but I made a mistake on the second last lap which let him past".
A Top 11 inversion set the grid for race two, with Sieders starting from seventh, and after avoiding the lap one incident, Sieders was cannoned into on the restart, which allowed Walton to skip down the inside and left Sieders crossing the line in ninth (later promoted by two post-race penalties to seventh place).
"On the restart, I had a good run down the inside George [Miedecke], and covered for Hansford a little more, then I got a massive shunt as [Craig] Dontas went into the back of Hansford, and I had nowhere to go but into Wayne Wakefield," said Sieders, "I managed to keep it out of the wall and salvaged some points, so I know it could have been much worse".
With combined race points determining the grid for the final race on Sunday, Sieders was starting in sixth position, just seven points adrift Walton (on pole), and holding only one point over Ryan Hansford and three points on Rhys McNally (starting P3 and P2 respectively), but was unable to progress any further through the field.
"That's two rounds now where the podium places have been only a couple points apart going into the last race, but here we were five points behind the eight ball from the start just from our grid position, and we didn't quite have the car to move through and challenge for the podium like I needed to".
Coming off a tight turnaround from Darwin only two weeks ago, the V8 Ute Series are again set for a moderate break, before returning for a three-round stint starting with Sandown Raceway 12-14 September 2014.
"We've managed to get through two of the rounds that usually cause us some drama, so hopefully we can have a really solid run to the end of the year and look to better Walton from here to Homebush."
V8 UTES TOWNSVILLE SERIES POINTS – TOP 5
P. DRIVER (CAR #) MAKE POINTS
1 Kris Walton (#68) FG FORD UTE 498
2 David Sieders (#8) FG FORD UTE 480
3 Ryan Hansford (#6) FG FORD UTE 396
4 Nathan Pretty (#56) VE HOLDEN SS 394
5 Rhys McNally (#26) VE HOLDEN SS 387
V8 UTES TOWNSVILLE ROUND POINTS – TOP 5
P. DRIVER (CAR #) MAKE POINTS
1 Kris Walton (#68) FG FORD UTE 132
2 Rhys McNally (#26) VE HOLDEN SS 120
3 Ryan Hansford (#6) FG FORD UTE 120
4 David Sieders (#8) FG FORD UTE 116
5 Elliot Barbour (#57) VE HOLDEN SS 108