Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint – Preview
The Symmons Plains round in Tasmania always provides exciting tight racing around the 2.4 kilometre track, although teams would be hoping for less incidents than last year. Wet and wild conditions over the weekend made it difficult for drivers and engineers to get the best out of their cars and crashes caused lots of grief to many teams.
A huge pile-up involving 12 Supercars in the Saturday race was both costly and disappointing for fans and teams alike.
The PAYCE supported Supercars of Garth Tander and James Moffat sustained damage in that crash that put them out of the race, which ultimately was declared a non-race due to just one lap being completed before race end after nearly an hour’s delay.
Most teams were able to carry out repairs overnight, as was the case with the two GRM cars, with the team working tirelessly into the early hours. Sunday’s race was run in wet and drying conditions and to Garth’s credit he was able to pick up 10th place with a mammoth effort after starting 16th on the grid.
In the Super2 round of four races, all three Team PAYCE drivers were involved in crashes at one point or another, with Macauley Jones’ hit from behind in race 2 the worst, putting him out for the weekend.
Three Team PAYCE drivers, Mason Barbera, Macauley Jones and new recruit, Chris Pither, will be racing this weekend for points in the second round of their championship.
Returning to Tasmania after an absence since 2015 is the PAYNTER DIXON Touring Car Masters series, with hometown legend, John Bowe, looking to hold on to his lead in the championship.
This weekend is the third round of Supercars with Garth Tander behind the wheel of #33 and James Golding in #34. With a podium finish already achieved at the opening round in Adelaide and two top ten finishes at Phillip Island, Garth seems to have settled very quickly into the new ZB Commodore.
In an interview this week he said the car feels a little bit different, but not dramatically different. The ZB Commodore is the eighth generation Holden that Garth has raced since he made his debut in Supercars in a VS Holden in 1998, so no-one is better qualified to pick the differences between the Holdens of the past.
James Golding is quickly coming to grips with his move full-time into Supercars and needs to just coax a few more tenths out of his qualifying time to get himself further up the grid and out of the cut and thrust that always happens towards the rear of the pack.
James is still a rookie, but as the season progresses his determination and talent will start to show more positive results. His performances in Super2 stamp him as a future Supercars frontrunner in time.
Current championship standings have Garth in 12th place and James in 25th.
Supercars on-track action gets underway on Friday with two practice sessions, the first for 20 minutes and the second for 45 minutes.
Saturday morning the field is back for a third practice session of 20 minutes, before they split into two groups for two qualifying sessions of 10 minutes each to set the grid for race 1 over 50 laps later in the day.
Sunday is a similar format of a practice session and two qualifying sessions to set the grid for race 2 over the longer distance of 84 laps.
Team PAYCE drivers, Chris Pither, Mason Barbera (Wilson Security Racing GRM) and Macauley Jones (Brad Jones Racing) will be keen to get behind the wheel of their cars after a break of five weeks since Adelaide.
Macauley had the best start of the trio to the 2018 season, starting with fastest time in practice 2 and bagging three top five placings over the weekend.
Chris Pither was impressive in his first outing for the GRM team and he was never lower than 9th throughout practice and qualifying sessions and the three races. A 6th place and two 7th placings indicate he will be a front-runner through the season.
Mason Barbera continues to improve as he gets to terms with the #99 VF Commodore that he first stepped into last year. Adelaide was a mixed bag for him with a DNF in race 1, but he recovered well with an 11th place in race 2 and continued to move up with a 10th placing in the final race of the round.
Current championship standings are Macauley in 5th place, Chris in 7th and Mason 21st.
The Super2 field has two practice sessions on Friday the two short qualifying sessions on Saturday to set the grid for race 1 later in the day and race 2 on Sunday and then a final race 3 to follow with the grid decided on finishing order in race 2. All races are over 30 laps.
PAYNTER DIXON Touring Car Masters
The PAYNTER DIXON Touring Car Masters series got off to a great start in Adelaide, where a strong field produced some of the best racing in recent times. New cars and drivers spiced up the field that was dominated last year by Team PAYCE driver John Bowe and Steven Johnson.
From the outset it was clear the two leading drivers would be hard to beat and each of the three championship races were closely fought – at least until Steven Johnson lost a wheel on the Mustang in race 4.
The weekend finished with JB back on top of the leaderboard, albeit with only one round down. His tally for the round was two wins and a second, putting him at the head of the standings.
Expect to see Steven hot on his heels this coming weekend, especially as the circuit’s long straights and few corners traditionally favour the bigger-engined six-litre V8s.
Hometown motorsport legend, John Bowe is sure to get a wild reception from the local fans who come out in big numbers every year to support the event. JB missed the last time the TCM was on the program in 2015, but over his long career he has had many successes at the circuit.
The Tasmanian round will be over four races of 15 laps each – three counting for the championship and the fourth, the reverse grid race, for the Dometic Trophy.
The 15 TCM cars entered for this round will have a practice and qualifying session of 20 minutes each on Friday, two races on Saturday and the final two races on Sunday.
Contact: Bill Smith 0412 446