Utes: Series Symmons Plains Saturday notes

Ford takes V8 Ute Championship lead at Symmons Plains Layton "Leadfoot" Crambrook continued his attack on the 2009 Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series blitzing the field by over 5 seconds to win Race 1, Round 3 of the series at Symmons Plains Raceway, ...

Utes: Series Symmons Plains Saturday notes

Ford takes V8 Ute Championship lead at Symmons Plains

Layton "Leadfoot" Crambrook continued his attack on the 2009 Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series blitzing the field by over 5 seconds to win Race 1, Round 3 of the series at Symmons Plains Raceway, Tasmania.

The former V8 Supercar driver was the fastest in qualifying, from the Gold Coast driver Stephen Robinson who surprised many with a sensational front row time followed by Craig Dontas, Jack Elsegood and Andrew Fisher to give Ford the first three rows of the grid.

In Race 1, Crambrook lowered former V8 Ute driver Marcus Zukanovic's lap record, set in 2005 with a time of 1:03.30 and is looking set to re-claim his 2007 Symmons Plains title.

Whilst the reigning champion climbs the point's ladder, current Series leader Gary "Chuckie" Baxter is left to deal with the realities of the sport and was unable to finish the race due to engine failure.

After shocking qualifying and practice sessions, Baxter started from 16th and managed to move up into 10th position before his engine let go and he was forced to retire half way through lap 8 in Race 1.

"It's a shame but what do you do, this is what happens in motorsport. We noticed the engine was failing after qualifying it was chewing up one and a half litres of oil each session," said Baxter.

With only one point separating Baxter and Elsegood on the Series leader board coming in to the Symmons round, "The Hustler" passed Baxter's Holden on the side of track to take the Series lead.

"I'm not getting too excited, just taking it round-by-round. I hope to continue this for the weekend - at the moment I am just focused on the next race. This is motorsport and anything can happen," said Elsegood.

Although the Coopers Pale Ale driver looked fairly safe in second, he had Tusker Beer's Stephen Robinson close behind with Fisher, George Miedecke and Grant Johnson.

Robinson wasn't able to catch Elsegood but held on to claim third overall, his best ever result, although post race hearings are yet to determine the outcome of Elsegood and Robinson both passing under yellow flags.

Jesus All About Life driver Andrew Fisher did well to overtake Thirsty Camels Craig Dontas early in the race and managed to hold Miedecke to finish ahead of him in fourth. The first Holden over the line was Grant "Grunta" Johnson with a solid drive in the Grove Fruit Juice Commodore up one spot from qualifying into sixth.

Dontas still managed a top ten finish and kept veteran Kim Jane at bay to claim seventh in an impressive time of 1:03.55, second fastest around the track behind Crambrook. 2008 Rookie of the Year, Glenn McNally did well to hold his top ten position and had a fierce battle with Kurt Wimmer who rounded out the top ten.

In the Racer Industries Rookie of the Year pointscore, Paul Williams had to retire late into the race (lap 11), due to an overheated radiator and Brisbane's Jason Gomersall starting from an impressive 17th lost 11 spots to end in 28th. Gary Carson dropped back one spot from his 18th Grid start to finish in 19th overall, which will push him a lot closer to Williams on the Rookie ladder.

Brad Patton who was on a confidence high with his top ten grid start was unlucky going into Turn 1 on the third lap and hit the brakes too late causing him to spin back into oncoming traffic. Charlie Kovacs did well to dodge the #14 Big Gun Racing Ute and pushed his way through the field to finish in 14th position.

The Global Trading Schools team did a good job to repair Ryal Harris's Holden VE engine after qualifying following an oil pressure sensor failure which gave him a 28th position start for Race 1 where he forged his way through the field 10 spots to end the race in 18th overall.

The V8 Utes will take to the chilly track at 10:05am for Race Two and 4:00pm for Race Three.

-credit: utes

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