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GARRY’S SHANNONS NATIONALS WRAP

Auto Action’s Garry O’Brien has provided a daily wrap of what has happened over the course of the weekend’s opening round of the Shannons Nationals at Sandown. If you missed any of the action, Garry has you covered.

Friday:

The first round of the Shannons Nationals began with practice sessions for what is a very sporty feel to the season opener with four sports car categories and one open wheeler group competing at Sandown Raceway.

The second tier of Porsches, the GT3 Cup Challenge put together two sessions with Jordan Love leading the way, and the Professional Class, in the Sonic entry, ahead of Brenton Grove.

Anthony Gilbertson was third fastest and the best of the Elite Class entries ahead of Sam Shahin while Michael Tsigeridis headed up Class B.

In the Australian GT Trophy Series it was an Audi R8 LMS Ultra one-two in their single session with Steve McLaughlan leading the way from team mate Rio Nugara with Richard Gartner third debuting his Lamborghini LP600.

Among the MARC V8s it was tight between Keith Kassulke and John Goodacre for top honours, the gap between them less than two tenths of a second.

The new Australian Prototype Series seen Kim Burke (Radical SR3 RSX) edged out the West WX10s driven by Mark Laucke, Jason Makris and John-Paul Drake.

It was a bad, and then good, day for the Cranston brothers with crashes for Adam (RFR F1000) and Josh (West WR 1000). But the positive is they are now fast-tracking their Wolf GB08s for track debut.

Well credentialed drivers Karl Reindler and James Winslow who will be sharing drives with others in the Radical races, were the fastest overall, ahead of Kim Burke who is doing double duties this weekend.

Qualifying took place for the double-header round one and two of the Australian Formula 4 Championship where AGI Sport’s Nick Rowe head the timesheets for race one of round one.

Rowe took the premier spot by just 0.02 seconds from New Zealander Liam Lawson (Team BRM) while Ryan Suhle racing for the Zagame outfit, came in third another 0.14 seconds away. The top ten are covered by 0.59 seconds.

For Sunday’s second round Suhle figured best over Lawson and Team BRM’s Simon Fallon. The 13-car field is spread over 1.3 seconds.

Saturday:

Lawson won the opening round of the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championships which was headlining the first meeting of the Shannons Nationals at Sandown Raceway today.

The Team BRM driver followed through on two second places to win the last race and take the major points ahead of his team mate Josh Denton and AGI Sport’s Rowe. Rowe took out race one, before Denton came out on top in an extremely competitive race two.

The first race for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge was marred by a four-car crash just after the start which took out the fancied Love, Gilbertson, John Karytinos and Rob Woods.

In the re-run, Brendon Grove was an all-the-way winner ahead of a four-way tussle for second, which ultimately went the way of Nick Karnaros over Shahin, John Morriss and Michael O’Donnell. Former Olympian John Steffenson was sixth in his debut.

In the debut race for the new Australian Prototype Series Laucke (West WX10) led all the way to defeat Mark Short (Prince LSR) and Burke (Radical SR3 RSX). The latter was later excluded for a post-race indiscretion which elevated Peter Paddon (SR3) to third.

The event marked the debut of two Wolf GB08 Tornados in the hands of the Cranston brothers which only landed in the country on Friday.

The opening 50-minute race for round two of the Radical Australia Cup was called six and a half minutes early due to thunderstorms and heavy rain. Peter Paddon held a commanding after early leaders James Winslow/Michael Whiting retired, and won ahead of Oliver Smith and David Crampton.

GT Trophy featured in two qualifying sessions for the first 50-minute race tomorrow where Nugara and Fouracre will start pole in the Audi R8 LMS Ultra they will share. Second on the grid will be Richard Gartner (Lamborghini LP600) ahead of Steve McLaughlan and Rod Salmon in Audis. With points allocated across both qualifying sessions, Gartner leads the series from McLaughlan.

Sunday:

Wet weather didn’t help the form guide for the second day of racing at the Shannons Nationals first round today.

Sandown Raceway was awash for the most part of Sunday where the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship staged its second round.

Lawson won the first race before Rowe claimed the top spot in the second and third races, as well as the top step on the podium. Lawson was second overall and Cameron Shiels was third after two charges through from the back of the field.

In the GT Trophy Series, a win in race one set the stage for McLaughlan (Audi R8 LMS Ultra) to take the round overall ahead of Salmon (Audi) and Jinadasa (Lamborghini LP560). Another Audi driver in Rod Smith, the defending title holder, was fourth after winning race two. MARC V8 honours went to Kassulke over Jake Camilleri.

For the first time since July 2013 an Elite Class entry has won a round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge. Consistency gave Shahin round one overall points ahead of race two and three winner Jordan Love, with Grove third.

In the Australian Prototype Series, the wet weather played into the hands of the heavier Radicals with them filling the top seven places in race two. Phil Hughes won that race and backed up to win race three, taking overall victory ahead of Crampton (Radical) and Laucke (West WX10).

For the second race in a row the Radical 50-minute event was called ahead of time because of heavy rain. It didn’t affect Peter Paddon who was well ahead and scored victory ahead of Kim Burke and David Crampton.

Photos by Rhys Vandersyde