Utes: Series Hidden Valley Saturday notes

Johnsons Grove Holden Takes Darwin V8 Ute win Grove Fruit Juice Racings Grant "Grunta" Johnson blitzed the 32 full Ute field in Qualifying and Race 1, Round 4 of the 2009 Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series - protected by Armor All at Hidden Valley ...

Utes: Series Hidden Valley Saturday notes

Johnsons Grove Holden Takes Darwin V8 Ute win

Grove Fruit Juice Racings Grant "Grunta" Johnson blitzed the 32 full Ute field in Qualifying and Race 1, Round 4 of the 2009 Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series - protected by Armor All at Hidden Valley Raceway, Darwin.

The Western Australian stepped behind the wheel with no practice behind him and landed the fastest qualifying time in 1:22.71 and the Armor All Pole Award.

Johnson, Gary Baxter and Adelaide's Charlie Kovacs dominated qualifying with George Miedecke the best of the Fords only 2/10ths off pole. Glenn McNally and Scott Jennings also had solid top 10 qualifying runs.

"I felt comfortable in the first race and I always do well at the Darwin Circuit. It was pretty warm out there but the Grove Holden felt quick," said Johnson.

As a result of Johnsons win today he will start from 16th position tomorrow in Race 2, which is a reverse of the top 16 finishes from Race 1.

The Perth based driver also broke his 2006 lap record in a time of 1:23.19 however Gary Baxter who finished second had a faster time of 3/100ths of a second in 1:23.16. Third place in Race 1 was Charlie "Handlebars" Kovacs who continued his Darwin success after dominating both practice sessions yesterday.

It wasn't an easy run to the chequered flag for Kovacs as George Miedecke managed to overtake him in turn one lap 5, however Kovacs wasn't having any of it from the young-gun and reclaimed his place in the same spot in turn one, lap 6.

"George was always in there; I got him on the brakes in turn one so I was pretty happy about that," said Kovacs West Coast Racings, Glenn McNally claimed another top ten finish and came in fifth ahead of Hi tech Motorsport teammate Jack "The Hustler" Elsegood.

The Coopers Pale Ale driver did well to keep Holden driver Kim Jane off his tale after Jane passed the Darwinian Layton Crambrook at turn four on lap 11 and put pressure on Elsegood all the way to the flag.

NT Shippings, Scott Jennings had his best result for the year finishing in ninth position "The cars great, unfortunately Jane and Crambrook got me when I missed a gear early in the race but I am looking forward to Race 2," said Jennings.

Queenslander Kurt Wimmer did well to move up six spots off grid to round out the top ten. Caveat Loans Racings Yanis Derums will start on Pole for Race 2 tomorrow with Ben Kavich alongside him.

Kavich hasn't started on the front row since Indy 2007 and will have Steve Hodges behind him starting from third who is also posting one of his best results.

In the Rookies, Brock Race Engineering's, Paul Williams made up seven points on Gary Carson who finished four spots behind him in 23rd and is only trailing by four points on the rookie leader-board.

Rob Jarvis failed to finish due to a flat tyre, the Nandi Kiss JFTA/Protec Holden suffered overheating, David Turner also failed to finish after hitting the back of George Elliot's Vittoria Coffee Holden, while Noel Edge's Ford suffered a tail shaft centre bearing failure.

Race 2 will commence at 10:20am Sunday, 20th June and will be televised live on Network Seven at 12:30pm (EST).

Race 3 will cap off the weekend at 1:20pm at Hidden Valley Raceway, Darwin.

-credit: utes

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