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PROTOTYPE SERIES LEADER SWAPS CARS FOR CRITICAL ROUND

Phil Hughes will swap cars for the remainder of the weekend - Photo: Rhys Vandersyde

Phil Hughes will swap cars for the remainder of the weekend – Photo: Rhys Vandersyde

Australian Prototype Series championship leader Phil Hughes will swap cars for the remainder of this weekend’s racing at Queensland Raceway.

Hughes, who holds a narrow margin at the top of the (uncorrected) APS standings, endured engine dramas in the final practice session yesterday afternoon, forcing him to park his regular Radical SR3.

“Had a brilliant couple of practice sessions in the Radical. Really enjoyed the track, way more than I thought I would. Using some really shabby tyres I did a 1.12.4 for a respectable place in practice,” Hughes wrote on his Facebook page.

“Not sure how bad the tyres were, I chose to fit new ones for practice 3, and the car felt terrific. An easy mid 11 in it for sure, but traffic and a red flag meant it didn’t happen.

“After the red flag I went out to go for a real lap time and coming out of turn 3 at full throttle but only mid rpm the engine let go. No1 cylinder has had a hernia, something horrible, not sure what yet.

“So I came in for diagnosis but it’s terminal – the car is dead and there’s no spare engines around.”

Fortunately, the Melbourne-based driver was able to secure a replacement ride thanks to the generous offer of fellow APS racer, Graeme Cook.

Cook had intended to compete this weekend in his West WX1000 after several years absence from the series – however elected to withdraw from competition following the first practice session due to illness.

The Adelaide-based Cook promptly offered Hughes his car for use this weekend.

“I’ve been absolutely humbled and privileged to be offered Graeme Cook’s orange West as a substitute,” Hughes said.

“Graeme did just a lap or two in practice and didn’t feel well so decided to pull out.

“So please cheer me on in car 65, its McLaren Orange. Beautifully clean car has been laid up for 3 years. I have a million excuses regarding age, spec, engine, tyres, gears, ratios etc etc, but I’m going to give it a red hot go and do what I can.”

Hughes will compete in qualifying and race one today and will decide about competing in tomorrow’s two races at the end of the day.

Catch up with the rest of the action for the Shannons Nationals yesterday with Garry’s Wrap.

Make sure you follow Auto Action on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for updates through out the Shannons Nationals this weekend at Queensland Raceway. We’ll also have a full analysis of the weekend in the next issue of the magazine on sale Thursday.