Hidden Valley Darwin Round 4 wrap up
The Porsche PAYCE Carrera Cup is a popular support category to Supercars when they visit Darwin. Fans were treated to some of the best racing in the series this year in round four as the championship reaches its halfway point.
While the field was down slightly in number with 19 teams making the long cross-country trek to the Territory, there was action aplenty in all three races.
The practice sessions saw the series’ two leading drivers on points continue their good form with Dale Wood on top and Jordon Love close behind.
Team PAYCE driver, David Wall was hoping to replicate his great result last year at the track, starting on pole and taking a win in the first race. While he missed out on the top time his best run was good enough for third fastest and showed he was not far off the pace.
Most teams these days treat practice sessions as if they are qualifying and the fast times came courtesy of fresh green tyres and cooler conditions.
As evidence of the closeness of the field, 14 cars were within one second of Wood’s fastest time across the two sessions.
The first race of the round was over 35 laps, which counts towards the Enduro Cup Championship as well as the overall championship.
Qualifying in a good position up front is critical in order the stay away from the midfield pack and competition for pole during the session was intense and resulted in some surprises.
Up-and-coming star, Cameron Hill pulled out all stops on his last lap of the 20 minute session to bag his first-ever Carrera Cup pole position, beating equally determined Michael Almond and David Wall. series leader Dale Wood was close behind with Warren Luff improving over his practice position to take fifth position on the grid.
Proving that his qualifying time was no fluke, Cameron Hill drove a superb race to take out race one, but not before he had to fight to regain his position up front. Cameron was slow off the mark and Mike Almond capitalised by leading into the first corner and holding that position up till a safety car intervention brought the field back.
Cameron made his move soon after the restart with a great inside passing move that put him back in front and never to be headed. His maiden win was a great reward for the small team from Canberra who worked hard to get the result.
Michael Almond battled David Wall for second place until David dropped back with an overheating car, leaving Almond to complete the race with further challenges.
The main battle then shifted to Dale Wood and Jordon Love for third spot on the podium. A coming together on the final lap drew the attention of the officials who determined xxx.
Warren Luff came home in fifth and David Wall brought the #38 PAYCE Porsche across the line in sixth as he shut down the engine to minimise damage.
Race two saw series leader, Dale Wood return to the winner’s circle, with Michael Almond making it a one-two for the Sonic Motor Racing team. Cameron Hill recovered from an off-trackexcursion to take third place.
The race was full of incidents right from the start involving Love, Talbot and Cook. That brought out the safety car and on the restart Hill led as the field approached turn one, only to go wide and hand the lead to Wood.
A second incident had Cook again involved, this time with Sam Shahin on the main straight. Cook came off second-best and left the track at turn one.
Waren Luff managed to stay out of trouble and finish fourth and David Wall in his hastily-repaired car improved one position to finish fifth.