Race Report, Round 2 Sydney Motorsport Park 2-3 May 2015

Thomas, Searle, Oosthuizen claim race wins at Sydney Motorsport Park

Dylan Thomas, Luke Searle, and Daniel Oosthuizen shared the outright race victories in Round 2 of the Shaw Vineyards NSW Production Touring Car Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Thomas held out a fast-finishing Searle to see the chequered flag first in Race 1, Searle made up for an early error to run away with Race 2, and D. Oosthuizen lead all the way for a maiden win in the finale.

Qualifying was held on a wet track after Saturday morning rain. Adam Proctor banked a competitive time just before Kelly Simpson necessitated the red flags as she bogged her Toyota Celica at the top end of the circuit.

Thomas was the only man to go faster when the 15 minute session resumed and would share the front row with the sole class B1 entrant and his Subaru WRX.

Similar conditions greeted the 26-car field for Race 1 in the afternoon, Proctor launching well as D. Oosthuizen likewise jumped from the third row to third position.

Thomas nevertheless led by the time he crossed the control line for the first time and D. Oosthuizen soon held second, while Searle spent the opening laps on the hammer of fifth-placed Matthew Holt after dropping three positions at the start.

The BMW M135i driver, standing in for ill father-in-law Barry Graham, made the pass on Lap 3, then ran down Proctor off the back of a succession of fast laps as Jacques Oosthuizen pitted from fourth with a loose wheel.

Searle passed D. Oosthuizen on the penultimate lap and very nearly nabbed the lead on the tenth and final circuit as the leaders negotiated traffic but Thomas held his nerve.

That pair made an even start from the front row in Sunday morning’s Race 2, Thomas prevailing on the inside line and D. Oosthuizen moving to second by lap’s end after Searle dropped a wheel off and got sideways at the last corner.

Searle passed the front-running Lancer Evos on Laps 3 and 5, with D. Oosthuizen ultimately second and Thomas third.

Matthew Holt prevailed over Steve Hodges, Adam Proctor, and Brian Anderson in a race-long fight for fourth, while J. Oosthuizen drove from 23rd to eighth.

  1. Oosthuizen used his four-wheel-drive grip to nail the Race 3 start and Thomas similarly moved to second but the field was soon under the control of the safety car due to an opening-lap incident between Shane Otten and J. Oosthuizen.

Otten got onto the wet grass rounding Corporate Hill, lost control, and backed into the #16 Lancer Evo at high speed, ending both drivers’ races and making for a very much mixed weekend for the Oosthuizen household. Both were thankfully unharmed.

Racing resumed on lap six with an intense battle for the win for the remaining four laps, and while Searle usurped Thomas late on he could not unseat D. Oosthuizen.

Post-race, Thomas lamented the behaviour of his car but was pleased to still finish strongly, and Searle expressed enjoyment at his first sprint outing. Oosthuizen was understandably most pleased with his efforts, taking his first race win in his fourth meeting in the championship

“When I saw the last lap board I was really excited, and when I was coming down the main straight and saw the chequered flag I was ecstatic,” he said.

“I was shaking in my chair saying ‘come on! Come on! Let’s go!’”

The three outright race winners were all from class A1, with Matthew Holt winning class A2 in all three races. Shane Otten twice took B2 honours and stablemate Geoff Kite once, debutant Simon O’Donnell was the sole class C runner, Chris Reeves topped class D each time, and Barry Black was the lone class E entrant.

The Shaw Vineyards NSW Production Touring Car Championship continues with another sprint round at Goulburn’s Wakefield Park Raceway on 20 to 21 June.

– Daniel Herrero






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