JACQUES PICKS UP WHERE DANIEL LEFT OFF

OOSTHUIZEN MOTORSPORT VICTORIOUS ON OPENING DAY OF SCHOOL FOR 2017.

Wakefield Park – Round 1, 1 April 2017

REPORT BY ZAK CABAN | PHOTOS FROM RICCARDO BENVENUTI.

After a four-month break from racing, the Shockwave Signs Production Touring Car Championship burst back into life last weekend at Wakefield Park in Goulburn.

With the event being held just two weeks out from the Hi-Tec Oils 6 Hour at Mount Panorama, series organisers were incredibly pleased with a 34-car grid for the three-race program.

Unusually, there were no Class C or Class S competitors at this round of the series. James Herrington’s saloon car was missing from the grid, while his mate Jonathan Fishburn has moved into a Class B2 Holden VT Commodore, that he debuted at the last round of the 2016 season at Winton.

Meanwhile, the main protagonists from Class C, the Aubin Brothers Racing team of Blake and Kyle Aubin were notable absentees from Round 1 – they’re continuing their preparation for the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour, and will return to the Shockwave Signs Production Touring Car Championship grid for the MoComm Cup portion of the season, which will commence at Lakeside on the opening weekend of June.

Clay Skinner was a late withdrawal following mechanical dramas on Friday. He was due to compete in an A1 class Mitsubishi Evo that he acquired during the off-season, but ongoing dramas delay his debut in the outright class.

In response to the huge numbers entered for the weekend, Officials made the decision to separate the field into two groups for Saturday Qualifying – Class A1 and A2 would take part in the first session, with Classes B1, B2, D and E taking to the circuit in session 2.

The split had little to no impact on the layout of the grid for race 1.

There were two surprises in the opening qualifying session of the year, as Barry Graham got the better of Jacques Oosthuizen in the battle for Class A1 and outright pole. Graham clocked a 1:05.9861, and was 2-tenths clear of Oosthuizen and the rest of the pack.

Class A2 went in favour of Rodney Thorpe, ahead of the 2016 champion, Matthew Holt and Mark Caine in the new Showtell Racing Clubsport.

Class B1 was taken out by Tom Muller in his Mitsubishi Evo, while Class B2 saw Adam Gosling comfortable ahead of his competition.

The bigger surprise came in Class D, where Jimmy Vernon was outdone by series newcomer Dan Smith. Smith took the class honours in his Honda Integra, by 8-tenths of a second. It wasn’t just a surprising result, but a comfortable one as well.

Kurt Metcalf was the best of Class E with 25th outright.

Race 1 would be contested over 15 laps, and Jacques Oosthuizen got the better of Barry Graham right from the start, with a terrific launch off the line, and once they got to turn 2, Jacques was off, and never challenged on his way to his first victory at Wakefield Park, and an emphatic one at that.

Eight seconds was the margin from first to second, as Oosthuizen cruised to victory lane, from Graham and Rodney Thorpe, who claimed Class A2 honours in the process. Matthew Holt had to settle for fourth, while Tom Muller rounded out the top five.

Tom Muller won Class B1, while Adam Gosling started his season with a victory in Class B2, ahead of Geoff Kite and Paul Pearson.

Dan Smith’s qualifying efforts in Class D were no fluke, because he easily won Class D in Race 1 as well. Jimmy Vernon was forced to settle for second – the position he relegated Chris Reeves to for much of 2016.

In Class E, Kurt Metcalf continued his run of form – winning from Finley Hills, James Goldsbrough and Nick Hough.

The day belonged to CXC Global Oosthuizen Motorsport and Jacques Oosthuizen – continuing CXC’s love affair with the Goulburn venue in the absence of Dylan Thomas and Daniel Oosthuizen, and he’ll be look to continue this success in Races 2 and 3.

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