MASTERS HEAD TO PHILLIP ISLAND FOR HIGH SPEED CHALLENGE
THE FASTEST track on the Touring Car Masters calendar awaits when the field assembles at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit for the Shannons Tourist Trophy this weekend.
The series returns to the Shannons Nationals program for the second time this season with the 2016 trip to the Island the sixth in the history of the category.
The closely poised Pro Master title fight has John Bowe just 59 points ahead of local hero Eddie Abelnica while Thunder Road Racing Team Mustang ace Glenn Seton sits a further five points further back in third.
Whiteline RacingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mark King sits fourth in the Pro Master championship while – after a disastrous round at Queensland Raceway – Steven Johnson slipped to fifth after failing to score in the Sunshine state.
He still however remains in championship calculations 167 points from the series lead.
While Bowe has asserted himself at the top of the standings in the most recent two rounds Eddie AbelnicaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s consistency has seen the MelbourneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Cheapest Cars XB Falcon Hardtop continue to climb up the order.
As well as having already scored three podium finishes from the five rounds to date Abelnica also finished on the podium in each of the three races held at Phillip Island last year.
His Falcon XB coupeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ should also be a strong contender Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the famous Ford model has twice won at Phillip Island in the hands of Keith Kassulke. In fact both times Kassulke won Abelnica finished second in his XB.
The high average speeds and challenging nature of the Phillip Island circuit has made it one of the most diverse in terms of race results across the five previous TCM visits Ã¢â‚¬â€œ four different round winners and eight different race winners (from 15 races) filling the circuitÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s record books.
A side effect of the varied results means that the circuit has also never produced a Ã¢â‚¬Ëœclean sweepÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Ã¢â‚¬â€œ when a driver wins all three races in the one round.
In fact the entire 2016 season is yet to see someone win every race in a weekend Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the first time thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s occurred in Touring Car Masters history.
The 4.46 km circuit has also traditionally favoured the seriesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Ã¢â‚¬ËœbigÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ cars: all bar two races at the venue have been won by cars powered by at least 350 cubic-inch engines: Only John BoweÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s two victories last year got a representative of the five-litre brigade to the flag first.
The competitive Phillip Island field will also continue the battles in both the ProAm and ProSports categories Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and an unfortunate incident between rounds will ironically see both class leaders in the same make and model of car for the first this year.
While Jason Gomersall leads the ProAm standings comfortably in his Holden Torana A9X ProSports leader Adam Garwood will also find himself behind the wheel of a hatchback Torana this weekend.
GarwoodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s regular Torana Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a four door model Ã¢â‚¬â€œ was badly damaged in a crash at Symmons Plains between rounds: the Tasmanian team using a state championship round as a testing opportunity.
The car was extensively damaged in a start-line accident forcing Garwood into a back-up car for the remaining three rounds this year.
To fill the void the team has dusted off Greg GarwoodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Tarmac Rally specification SS Hatchback that was last raced in Targa Tasmania in 2013. Ã‚Â
Though not a full-specification TCM car much of the running gear from GarwoodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s existing car has been transferred into the backup vehicle to enable them to compete this weekend and potentially for the remainder of the season while a replacement car is constructed. Ã‚Â
Victorian Brett Youlden is scheduled to make his first TCM start of the year back behind the wheel of his familiar Holden Monaro GTS.
Youlden won the 2012 round at Phillip Island Ã¢â‚¬â€œ snaring a race win in the process Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and will look to showcase the impressive performance of his Monaro once again this weekend.
After a promising return to TCM competition in Queensland Adam Bressington will return to Whiteline Racing for his second start of the year this weekend having finished second in the ProAm class on his seriesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ return.
Meanwhile Wayne Mercer will make a welcome return to the grid this weekend having missed the most recent round in Queensland.
The Falcon GTHO driver won in his last start at Hidden Valley Ã¢â‚¬â€œ his maiden TCM race win Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and became the 8th different winner this year a record for the category.
The inclusion on the Shannons Nationals program means SundayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pair of races will be streamed live and free via the Touring Car Masters website the Shannons Nationals website and the Motorsports TV app for iPhone and Android mobile platforms.
Highlights of the round will be broadcast on SBS Speedweek in the weeks following the round.
SHANNONS PHILLIP ISLAND TT – TCM ROUND 6
|No||Sponsor Name||Ch Name||Surname||State||Year||Make||Model||Cap||Colour|
|4||Skye Sands||Rusty||French||VIC||1970||Ford||Mustang Fastback||5800cc||Black|
|9||Jesus Racing||Andrew||Fisher||NSW||1971||Ford||Falcon XY GTHO||5800cc||Grey/Red|
|12||Giraffe Civil Contracting||Adam||Garwood||TAS||1978||HoldenÃ‚Â||Torana A9X Hatchback||5000cc||Red/White|
|17||Synergy Race Engines||Steve||Johnson||QLD||1971||Ford||Falcon XY GTHO||5800cc||White|
|18||Wilson Security / PAYCE||John||Bowe||VIC||1974||HoldenÃ‚Â||Torana SL/R 5000||5047cc||Red/White|
|19||Tincone Industrial Services||Darren||Beale||QLD||1972||HoldenÃ‚Â||Monaro GTS Coupe||5800cc||Orange|
|22||Aussie Muscle Car Run / PRT Fabrication||Graham||Stewart||SA||1972||HoldenÃ‚Â||Monaro GTS Coupe||5800cc||Silver/Orange|
|30||Thunder Road Racing Team Australia||Glenn||Seton||QLD||1964||Ford||Mustang Coupe||5000cc||Black/Gold|
|35||iseek RacingÃ‚Â||Jason||Gomersall||QLD||1978||HoldenÃ‚Â||Torana A9X Hatchback||5000cc||Red/White/Black|
|46||THD Motorsport||Leo||Tobin||VIC||1969||Ford||Boss Mustang||5000cc||Orange|
|48||Melbourne’s Cheapest Cars||Eddie||Abelnica||VIC||1974||Ford||Falcon XB Coupe||5800cc||Red|
|52||Outbound Racing / wheels.com.pg||Keith||Kassulke||QLD||1972||HoldenÃ‚Â||Monaro GTS Coupe||5800cc||Blue|
|56||Gabriel Shock Absorbers||Brett||Youlden||VIC||1972||HoldenÃ‚Â||Monaro GTS Coupe||5800cc||Green/White/Blue|
|74||Lyndways Builders||Wayne||Mercer||VIC||1971||Ford||Falcon XY GTHO||5800cc||Light Blue|
|85||Whiteline Racing / King Springs||Mark||King||QLD||1970||Chevrolet||Camaro RS||5800cc||Red/White|
|88||TIFS – Warehousing & Distribution||Tony||Karanfilovski||NSW||1969||Ford||Mustang Trans Am||5800cc||Orange|
|95||Whiteline Racing / Fabre Australia||Adam||Bressington||NSW||1969||Chevrolet||Camaro SS||5800cc||Yellow|