The 2021 NSW Production Touring Car season kicked off with the Night Blast at Sydney Motorsport Park on Saturday. The short-fire meeting featured a 15-minute qualifying session, followed by three sprint races over the same duration.
Many took up the option of the new open tyre rule for 2021 using Yokohamas, Hankooks, Nankangs etc while some chose the MRF as a shakedown to the Bathurst 6 Hour.
Whilst it was not a round of the state championship, the event did count for the club pointscore. Duane West (X), Jason Miller (A1), Daniel Oosthuizen (A2), Tony Virag (B2), Chris Sutton (C), and Edan Thornburrow (D) were the class winners.
In the outright contest, Oosthuizen and his HSV R8 Clubsport were the winners, triumphing in a thrilling last race over West in his supercharged HSV GTS. Both had victories in the lead up races and were never more than a car length apart.
In their wake, Matt Holt (Clubsport) was third, at the head of a race-long scrap that involved Virag (Holden Commodore SSV), Dimitri Agathos (A1 Subaru Impreza WRX STi) and Miller (Mitsubishi EVO 9). Fourth ultimately went to Agathos from Virag and Miller before Virag was relegated a spot with a five-second penalty.
Cary Morsink (A2 HSV GTO Coupe) carded with two eighths and seventh, Dylan Thomas (in Anthony Soole’s Class X BMW M4) had two eighths and a ninth, and Dean Campbell (A1 EVO X) in his second outing in the category, scored a 10th, an 11th and eighth in the last.
Jimmy Vernon (EVO X) was testing only and started race one from pitlane. He made his way to 15th before packing up. In Class C Sutton’s nearest rival was Soole in races one and two, driving the Chris Reeve VW Scirocco R, but was a non-starter in the third.
Class D produced good competition where Michael Sherwell (Toyota 86) was second to Thornburrow in race one as Ollie Shannon (Toyota 86) and Michael Ferns (VW Polo GTi) were two seconds apart in their battle for third. Unfortunately, the latter pair were first lap casualties of race two which was later to finish behind the safety car after Adam Brew’s Audi TT lunched its engine at turn two.