AUS Utes: Series Sydney Saturday report

Johnsons exclusion gets Jack Back in V8 Ute title Chase The title for the 2010 Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series & ...

AUS Utes: Series Sydney Saturday report

Johnsons exclusion gets Jack Back in V8 Ute title Chase

The title for the 2010 Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series – protected by Armor All has been given a shake-up after series leader Grant Johnson was excluded from Qualifying and Race 1 today at Sydney's Telstra 500. Post race scrutineering uncovered a front brake line infringement with the series leading Holden.

Johnson will start from the rear of grid tomorrow and is now only 20 points in front of current V8 Ute Champion Jack Elsegood heading into Race 2. Johnson, backed by Brunel Energy this weekend is extremely disappointed.

"We had the wrong couplings on the front brake-lines and in my mind, it wasn't performance enhancing. It was one of those tiny details missed in pre race prep by Hi Tech Motorsport, however the rules are black and white so we have to cop it on the chin."

"The good thing is we have an in car camera this weekend so watch-out cause it will be great vision of me moving through the field," said Johnson.

After a near perfect year for the Perth driver, roll cage and brake line irregularities this weekend have the 2007 V8 Ute Champ back on the ropes, fighting for his series survival.

The race for third outright is now up for grabs with Chris Pither joining Sieders Racing teammates Andrew Fisher and David Sieders in the points tally, after both had a dismal day.

Qualifying kicked off with changing track conditions and it was the most exciting session this year. Eleven of the 31 drivers topped the time sheets at one point during the session including; Gary Baxter, Grant Johnson, David Sieders, Ben Kavich, Gary MacDonald, Jeremy Gray, Craig Dontas, Rhys McNally, Kim Jane, Jack Elsegood and Charlie O'Brien. The touring car veteran timed it perfectly in the last minute to claim the Armor All Pole Award and $500 cash in his Coombabah Plaza backed Ford.

Series contender Jack Elsegood was close to missing the session after he was advised by his Hi Tech team manager of the incorrect starting time. Elsegood flew in from Parramatta road, and went straight to the top of the time sheets after losing half the session. The former NRL star was pipped by O'Brien in the last minute.

Rockstar Energy drink driver, Jeremy Gray, clamed third and Gary Baxter fourth ahead of Series leader Johnson in fifth (one of his worst qualifying results this season). Rookie Rhys McNally put in a great effort to walk away sixth fastest ahead of Ice Break Racing's Chris Pither. Ben Kavich drove his "Red Lea Chickens" backed Ford home in eighth for his best result for the year. Japanese driver Ryo Orime claimed ninth fastest in a V8 Ute while experienced driver Gary MacDonald rounded out the top ten in his Ice Break Racing Holden.

Sieders Racing teammates David Sieders and Andrew Fisher qualified 15th and 17th fastest, not a good result for the two who were within reach of the Series title.

Charlie O'Brien led the field away for Race 1, however within half a lap, Orime clouted the wall hard at Turn 8 after understeering on oil, setting off a chain reaction that claimed Sieders, Fisher, Kim Jane, MacDonald and Nandi Kiss.

Orime's Holden was totally destroyed, Jane suffered damaged to the front and rear along with Sieders who will take his car to a panel shop to get worked on overnight.

O'Brien claimed the win under safety car from Elsegood and Gary Baxter. Pither was the big point's winner and is now a podium chance.

"It's exciting to know that I'm in with a chance now. With 2 races to go after coming here I expected to maintain 5th unless the unexpected happened and it has, so it's good. Its motorsport so it always can. Bring on Sunday!" Commented Pither

O'Brien pulled out number 15 in the reverse grid ballot draw giving Wollongong driver Gary Carson pole his second pole of the year (his first at Winton Raceway.) Carson will join CNW Electrical driver Peter Burnitt on the front row and Randy Corners and Ben Dunn on second.

The drivers will hit the track at 9:05am tomorrow for the top 15 reverse grid followed by Race 3 which will be televised LIVE on Network Seven at 12:30pm.

Make-A-Wish® Australia is the official charity of Australian V8 Ute Racing who will endeavour to assist the foundation with their mission, which is to "To grant the Wishes of Children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope strength and joy."

-source: aus utes

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