RITTER LEADS KING OF SANDOWN AWAITS THIS WEEKEND
HE MAY have won the opening round of the 2016 Touring Car Masters at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but to win again this weekend at Sandown Greg Ritter will have to first get past the TCM king of Sandown.
Ritter the 2004 Sandown 500 winner stormed to victory in Adelaide and the suburban Melbourne venue is again expected to suit the strengths of his Chevrolet Monza – however itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Jim Richards who enters the second round of the year (the Shannons TCM Festival) as an early favourite.
A two-time winner (1985 and 1989) of the 500km classic Richards has made SandownÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 3.2km his own in Touring Car Masters competition having won a record eight of the 24 races held at the venue since 2007.
More impressively heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s finished on the podium on 19 occasions there and also has 3 pole positions to his credit Ã¢â‚¬â€œ more even than TCMÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s acknowledged qualifying master John Bowe.
RichardsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ scored pole at Sandown in 2009 and 2010 driving his famous Falcon Sprint before rolling out the Javelin for the top spot in 2012.
And despite retiring his Shannons Insurance AMC Javelin from the second race in Adelaide RichardsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ started this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s title race in red hot form: Qualifying fourth before finishing in the same position in the opening race.
With TCM having missed racing at the popular venue in 2015 this weekend will mark John BoweÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first visit to Sandown in the Wilson Security / PAYCE Holden Torana however thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not expected to slow him down.
Bowe holds both the race and qualifying lap records at the track while ToranaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s have finished on the podium there before Ã¢â‚¬â€œ as recently as 2014 when Jason Gomersall grabbed a third place in his iSeek Racing machine.
Third in the ProMaster class points standings Eddie Abelnica is also another likely contender for round honours this weekend.
The MelbourneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Cheapest Cars driver was in sublime touch in Adelaide Ã¢â‚¬â€œ pressuring Ritter all the way to the line in the second race of the weekend to grab second place. V8 Utes racer Kim Jane drove AbelnicaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s XB CoupeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ at Sandown when the series last visited in 2014 and twice finished on the podium proving the cars pace at the circuit.
Dubbed Ã¢â‚¬ËœThe home of horsepowerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ SandownÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s long straights are expected to favour the cars with big grunt meaning Jesus RacingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Andrew Fisher and Steven Johnson Ã¢â‚¬â€œ back in the Synergy Race Engines Ford this weekend – will enter the round looking for a strong result in their respective Falcon GTHOs.
JohnsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first run in the Falcon at the Clipsal 500 was solid Ã¢â‚¬â€œ he qualified seventh and twice finished sixth in the races Ã¢â‚¬â€œ while Fisher finished second overall in the ProAm division in a strong start to his season.
The big aussie-built Fords tasted success at Sandown as recently as 2012 with Brad Tilley behind the wheel.
Fresh from his win in the WAECO Trophy Race in Adelaide Tassie teenager Adam Garwood will be looking to build on his first TCM race victory while Glenn SetonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Thunder Road Racing Ford Mustang was on pole in Adelaide before finishing third in race one.
This yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s TCM grid is amongst the closest ever and could provide some interesting results at Sandown this weekend Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a circuit predictable for being almost entirely unpredictable for the class.
With plenty of overtaking opportunities the circuit has thrown up a multitude of different winners in the past.
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s only been one round Ã¢â‚¬Ëœclean sweepÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ at the venue when Andrew Miedecke powered his Chevrolet Camaro to all three race wins in a dominant weekend in 2013.
On two occasions (Jim Richards in 2007 and John Bowe in 2011) has one driver won two of the three while on the remaining five occasions three different drivers have shared the three race wins.
This weekend will see the Touring Car Masters return to the Shannons Nationals program for the first time since the 2012 season finaleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ with the round set to be a highlight of the year.
TCM will enjoy its own dedicated paddock area this weekend that will include the Shannons Super Rig and a display of Sunliner RV products.
The 20-strong field includes nine local drivers fan favourites like Cameron Tilley (Valliant Pacer) the return of Greg GarwoodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ford Capri Perana and the TCM debut of Queenslander Allen Boughen and his Ford Mercury Comet.
SundayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s racing will be streamed live on the internet via Nationals TV and the MotorsportsTV app for Android and iPhone platforms.
Round two of the 2016 Touring Car Masters is presented by Shannons TOTAL and Rare Spares.
CLASS LEADERS Ã¢â‚¬â€œ AFTER ROUND 1
1. Greg Ritter 170
2. John Bowe 158
3. Eddie Abelnica 151
1. Paul Freestone 128
2. Jason Gomersall 110
3. Andrew Fisher 95
1. Adam Garwood 104
2. Nigel Benson 95
3. Greg Garwood 89
John Bowe (Ford Mustang 2014) 1m15.8319s
John Bowe (Ford Mustang 2014) 1m15.2388s
Friday 1 April
Practice One = 10:50 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 11:10
Practice Two = 14:10 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 14:30
Practice Three = 16:15 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 16:35
Saturday 2 April
Qualifying = 11:10 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 11:30
Race One = 13:45 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 14:05
Sunday 3 April
Race Two = 11:50 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 12:10
Race Three = 16:40 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 17:00
|ENTRIES||CAR #||SPONSOR/TEAM NAME||DRIVER NAME||STATE||VEHICLE||CC||COLOUR|
|1||2||Shannons Innsurance||Jim Richards||Vic||AMC Javelin||5000cc||White/Green|
|2||4||Skye Sands||Rusty French||Vic||Ford Mustang Fastback||5800cc||Black|
|3||5||Overdrive Media||Bruce Williams||Vic||Holden Torana S/LR 5000||5000cc||Yellow|
|4||9||Jesus Racing||Andrew Fisher||NSW||Ford Falcon XY GT||5800cc||Grey/Red|
|5||10||Sunliner RV||Greg Ritter||Vic||Chevrolet Monza||5800cc||White|
|6||12||Giraffe Civil Contracting||Adam Garwood||Tas||Holden Torana S/LR 5000||5047cc||White|
|7||17||Synergy Race Engines||Steve JohnsonÃ‚Â||Qld||Ford Falcon XY GT||5800cc||White|
|8||18||Wilson Security / PAYCE||John Bowe||Vic||Holden Torana S/LR 5000||5047cc||White/Red|
|9||21||Giraffe Civil Contracting||Greg Garwood||Tas||Ford Capri Perana||5000cc||Light Blue|
|10||22||Aussie Muscle Car Run||Graham Stewart||SA||Holden Monaro GTS CoupeÃ‚Â||5800cc||Silver/Orange|
|11||25||Freestones Transport||Paul Freestone||Vic||Chevrolet Camaro SS||5800cc||Maroon|
|12||30||Thunder Road Racing Team||Glenn Seton||Qld||Ford Mustang Coupe||5000cc||Black/Gold|
|13||35||iseek Racing||Jason Gomersall||Qld||Holden Torana S/LR 5000||5000cc||White/Red|
|14||46||THD Motorsport||Leo Tobin||Vic||Ford Boss Mustang||5000cc||Orange|
|15||48||Melbournes Cheapest Cars||Eddie Abelnica||Vic||Ford Falcon XB Coupe||5800cc||Red|
|16||60||Glennan Transport||Cameron Tilley||NSW||Valiant Pacer||4390cc||Blue|
|17||74||Lyndways Builders||Wayne Mercer||Vic||Ford Falcon XY GT||5800cc||Blue|
|18||85||Whiteline Racing/King Springs||Mark King||Qld||Chevrolet Camaro RS||5800cc||Red|
|19||88||TIFS Warehousing & Distribution||Tony Karanfilovski||NSW||Ford Mustang Fastback||5800cc||Orange|
|20||97||John’s Furniture Removals||Allen Boughen||Qld||Mercury Comet||4736cc||Black/Blue|