THE REV-UP: WINTON RACEWAY
WELCOME TO the third round of the 2016 Touring Car Masters.
The now annual hit-out at Winton Motor Raceway should be a compelling weekend of racing given the competitive start to the year weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve experienced to date.
Five winners from the first six races is a record for the category and thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plenty of big names Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Glenn Seton and Steven Johnson amongst them Ã¢â‚¬â€œ who havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t yet troubled the top step of the podium.
Winton marks the 72nd TCM round however it will be just the sixth time that the series has visited the venue.
TCM first visited the Benalla circuit in 2008 where John Bowe took pole driving Tony HunterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Sunliner Camaro. Bowe also won race one before eventual champion Gavin Bullas won races two and three to take the round.
Gavin Bullas won the 2009 round without winning a race Ã¢â‚¬â€œ one of only three times thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s occurred in TCM history.
That year Bowe and Drew Marget won the races however BoweÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s race three DNF and a trio of second-place finishes to Bullas enabled him to take the glory.
The series returned in 2010 with Bowe clean-sweeping his way to victory that round notable for Leanne TanderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s third place finish in race three Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and the round Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in the XA Falcon GT. She would later go on to win at Bathurst that season.
2014 would mark the only time Winton has seen three winners from three races: Bowe Tony Karanfilovski and Jim Richards each grabbing the win. Richards would win the round on countback Ã¢â‚¬â€œ itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s only happened twice in TCM history Ã¢â‚¬â€œ by virtue of his race three win.
WINTON: TORANA TOWN AGAIN?
LIKE most tracks on the TCM schedule Winton is and has been the domain of John Bowe.
Though the Melbourne-based Tasmanian has Ã¢â‚¬ËœonlyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ won two of the five rounds held at the venue he has taken 10 of the 15 races at the venue and every pole position available.
Last year he won all three races in the debut of Garry OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢BrienÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars Torana SL/R 5000 got pole and also the lap record.
Others will be hopeful of success however because both Tony Karanfilovski and Jim Richards have recent winning form at the venue: they both won races at Winton in 2014.
Glenn Seton finished third in each of the three races last year and in the round to show the potential of his Thunder Road Racing team five-litre Ford Mustang coupe.
ANDREW FISHERÃ¢â‚¬â„¢S victory in the final race of SandownÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s recent second round of the season was also the first for Ford this year Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a brand with more than double the TCM race victories than its nearest rivals Chevrolet.
More remarkably itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s now been a long time since FordÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s dominant Mustang has tasted a TCM victory Ã¢â‚¬â€œ you have to go back to Steven JohnsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s victory in the final race of the 2015 season to find the iconic Pony Car at the top of the charts.
And while six races without no wins might not seem that many Ã¢â‚¬â€œ itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s near to unprecedented in TCM history: Only twice in the 213-race history of the Touring Car Masters has the series gone longer without a Mustang winning a race!
ChevroletÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Camaro won 7 races straight Ã¢â‚¬â€œ thanks to Steve Mason Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in 2007 while in 2013 a run of seven races in a row were won by PorscheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 911 Andrew MiedeckeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Camaro and a Falcon XB CoupeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ driven by Glenn Seton.
As you may suspect the Mustang has the record for most wins in a row by a single model: between them Gavin Bullas and John Bowe won 12 straight races in the 2012 season.
104 races TCM races have been won by the iconic Ã¢â‚¬Ëœpony carÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ in either 64/65/66 coupe or 1969-72 Boss or TransAm specifications.
ChevroletÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Camaro Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in 1969 or 1970 specifications Ã¢â‚¬â€œ has 50 victories.
A BREAKTHROUGH FOR EDDIE A?
IT has been a while between drinks for popular Victorian driver Eddie Abelnica.
The MelbourneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Cheapest Cars Falcon XB Coupe driver has won races six times in his TCM career and continues to be in strong form.
However his last race win came in 2013 when he stormed to victory ahead of Adam Bressington and Jason Gomersall in a chaotic half reverse-grid affair at Mount Panorama.
Since then heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s featured in the top three of 17 different races Ã¢â‚¬â€œ six of those in second place Ã¢â‚¬â€œ without troubling the flag man first.
EddieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lone TCM round victory came a little longer ago Ã¢â‚¬â€œ he won the seriesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ second ever round contested way back in early 2007. That Barbagello triumph was 71 rounds ago and since then heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been on the podium 14 times without quite grabbing another round victory.
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lot of TCM fans that would love to see the bright red Falcon back on top of the podium this weekend at Winton.
Meanwhile MelbourneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Cheapest Cars won an award for Ã¢â‚¬ËœBest Used Cars DealershipÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ at the recent VACC industry awards Ã¢â‚¬â€œ well done to the team!
Friday 20 May:
Practice 1: 9:30am – 9:50am
Practice 2: 12:20pm – 12:40pm
Saturday 21 May:
Qualifying: 10:10am – 10:30am
Race 1: 14:20pm – 14:40pm
Sunday 22 May:
Race 2: 12:10pm – 12:30pm
Race 3: 16:00pm – 16:20pm