Round 2 of the V8 SuperUte Series has seen the largest field in the dual-cab era of the category race at Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend (July 28-30, 2023).
After a three-month gap in the calendar since the season-opener in Perth in late April, a record 21 entries took to the western Sydney circuit for the first time in two years.
After a short practice session on Friday morning, the full field took to qualifying just as the clouds covered the circuit to see a record-breaking qualifying session in the dual-cab era. Reigning champion Aaron Borg (#1) clocked the fastest ever time in a V8 SuperUte at Sydney Motorsport Park with a lap time of 1m43.7227s; a personal and category best.
Sieders Racing Team teammate David Sieders (#3) also clocked a time in the 1m43s bracket to line up alongside Borg for Race 1 on Saturday morning.
Borg started off pole position but it was Sieders who took the jump into Turn 1 and lead from lights out to chequered flag. Ryal Harris (#58) was handed a 5-second time penalty for jumping the start but was able to finish the race with just 0.1-second gap over the next competitor behind, Adam Marjoram (#15), to maintain third place at the chequered flag.
Having started from rear-of-grid due to electrical issues on Friday, George Gutierrez (#19) charged up to 14th position by the end of lap one.
Jaiden Maggs (#96), starting from a best P7, spun off at turn one to race fall to the rear after being the receiver of an oil spray coming from the Triton of Harry Gray (#33) in front. Lap 4 saw a three-wide battle between George Gutierrez, Chris Formosa (#49) and John Steffensen (#99) into Turn 1. Lap 7 saw Craig Woods (#64) off into the Turn 1 gravel trap, before a battle between Gerard Maggs (#68) and newcomer Lachlan Gardner (#707) saw the latter squeezed off the track and into the concrete fence, ending his first race in V8 SuperUtes prematurely.
The final lap saw a tighter battle between Sieders and Borg, however they finished in that order ahead of Harris in third and Marjoram in fourth.
Round 2 has seen the introduction of a new “lotto” system to decide how many cars would be reversed from the Race 1 results for the Reverse Grid race on Saturday afternoon. Race 1 winner Sieders was given the honour of pulling a number out of a hat with the 9 cars confirmed to be reversed for the second race of the weekend.
After penalties were applied, newcomer Holly Espray (#777) found herself with a P9 result in Race 1 and therefore on pole for Race 2 alongside WSM’s Craig Woods.
As the lights went out, Jimmy Vernon (#50) flew up the inside of Espray but it was Woods who lead into Turn 1. Teammate Ben Walsh (#8) was also in the front battle pack however was sandwiched between Marjoram and Woods and ended up off the track at Turn 2 with front-end damage.
On Lap 2, the battles creating excitement included Harris up the inside of Espray, Vernon battling with Woods while Harris maintained a charge towards the front after starting P3. Vernon took the lead momentarily before Woods squeezed past on lap Lap 5.
Smoke from the rear of Gerard Maggs got worst halfway through the race while also battling with Steffensen. Ellexandra Best (#76) and Richard Mork (#77) came together on Lap 8, with the stalwart spinning off towards the infield with an overheating engine.
Despite Vernon’s tyres fading, “The Phantom” was able to hold onto a top five finish while it was Harris out in front scoring his first win since the Gold Coast finale last year with a 3-second gap over Borg in second and and Sieders third.
Prior to Race 3, Richard Mork withdrew from Sunday racing due to an engine overheating issue sustained from Race 2 yesterday afternoon.
Borg (#1) wasn’t on pole for long as Sieders (#3) got the better start heading down to Turn 1. Behind the Sieders Racing team duo, multiple battles occurred as Marjoram passed both Harris and our polesitter.
The race saw two main incidents, the first being between Walsh and Vernon on lap 2. Going into Turn 2 Walsh clipped the back of Vernon’s car resulting in a spin from car #50, causing an early race end for “The Phantom”.
On Lap 7, a second clash occurred between Marjoram and Harris, resulting in Marjoram losing multiple positions as he spun after the contact coming out of Turn 2.
Other highlights include a three-wide battle on Lap 5 down Brabham Straight between Adrian Cottrell (#41), Espray and Gutierrez which kept the action going into the later stages of the race. Gutierrez dropped out of the battle for ninth position prior to entering Turn 1, whereas Espray and Cottrell continued to fight; Espray held on for an eighth-place finish with Cottrell behind the newcomer.
Sieders led all laps of the race to win what was his 40th V8 SuperUtes race start. Borg followed to take second after closing the gap to his SRT teammate, and Harris took third.
With the starting grid for Race 4 determined by the morning’s race results, polesitter Sieders maintained the lead into Turn 1 despite Borg getting a better start of the line. The top three of Sieders, Borg, and Harris battled at the front of the field until Borg took the lead on the second lap, with Harris following soonafter to push Sieders back into third.
Power steering issues with Gerard Maggs meant smoke out of the back of the #68 Ranger was a concern to watch. John Steffenson (#99) lost the rear into Turn 1 causing him to run through the gravel trap and join the back. Like the former Olympian did, Dean Brooking (#52) also went off track before Maggs did the same through the middle of Turn 1 on Lap 7, resulting in retirement.
Ben Walsh attempted an overtake on Jaiden Maggs (#58) but was unsuccessful, resulting in the Fat Freddy’s HiLux dropping from ninth to 14th position after spinning.
A last lap battle for 12th between Lachlan Gardner (#707) and Chris Formosa (#49) remained until a last minute overtake from Gardner right before the finish line.
Borg took the Race 4 win and the overall points for Round 2, resulting in his second round victory of the 2023 season. Harris finished second in Race 4 but third for the round, while Sieders finished third for the race but runner-up overall on points.
The V8 SuperUte Series next heads to The Bend Motorsport Park on August 18-20, 2023.