FHOLDEN: Wills Oran Park review

Twenty-Three-year-old Auckland driver Simon Wills stretched his championship lead to 22 points with three races remaining after a faultless performance at Sydney's Oran Park today. Wills made a copybook start from pole position and was never...

Twenty-Three-year-old Auckland driver Simon Wills stretched his championship lead to 22 points with three races remaining after a faultless performance at Sydney's Oran Park today. Wills made a copybook start from pole position and was never headed, despite coming under pressure from last round winner Tim Leahey. Leahey closed in a couple of times and claimed the lap record in the process, but could do little to throw out a challenge to the talented Kiwi.

Wills' nearest title rival, Western Australian Christian Murchison, finished third after slipping back to fourth at the start when Matthew Halliday pounced at Turn Two, but Murchison redeemed himself with a brave, outside move on the second lap, going on to finish in third place. Halliday finished a close fourth ahead of Paul Dumbrell, who spun while challenging the former. Kiwi Andy Booth claimed sixth after a race-long battle with Dale Brede and LeRoy Stevenson ahead of Steve Owen and Ian Peters. Peter's ninth place netting him Silver Star spoils and a valuable points gain over Silver Star Championship leader Peter Hill - who retired after a heart-stopping spin on lap 12.

Wills now goes into this afternoon's race with a handy points break over Murchison, who will need to finish well inside the top five to keep his championship hopes alive. The final round of the championship will be held on South Australia's Mallala circuit in August, a fact not lost on Murchison. Mallala is Will's and his Birrana team's home circuit and the young WA driver will be hoping for a rocket start to this afternoon's event and a maximum points haul, but he may need an ounce of luck as well. After his miserable Winton round he could do with it.

<pre> Top Ten Finishers Race 1 - Determines Grid for Race 2 later today at 2:40pm Pos Driver Team Car Laps Time Fastest Lap 1 Simon Wills Birrana Racing Reynard 94D 13 13:33.3533 1:01.6905r 9 2 Tim Leahey Murphy Motorsport Reynard 92D 13 13:34.8127 1:01.6718R 4 3 Christian Murchison NRC Racing Reynard 95D 13 13:41.0982 1:02.0786 6 4 Matthew Halliday Challenge Ralt Racing Reynard 94D 13 13:41.7444 1:02.1075 7 5 Paul Dumbrell Kmart Racing Reynard 93D 13 13:54.4856 1:02.1459 7 6 Andy Booth Challenge Ralt Racing Reynard 92D 13 13:59.7308 1:03.0082 6 7 Dale Brede NRC Racing Reynard 95D 13 14:00.5616 1:03.2027 6 8 LeRoy Stevenson Birrana Racing Reynard 94D 13 14:00.8620 1:03.2474 8 9 Steve Owen Hocking Motorsport Reynard 97D 13 14:10.0801 1:03.9738 11 10 Ian Peters Camtech Racing Reynard 91D 12 13:46.4011 1:07.0716 9

Old Lap Record was 1:01.7900 set 21/06/92 by Mark Larkham Reynard 90D New Lap Record set by Tim Leahey in a Reynard 92D at 1:01.6718 Tim Leahey's new lap record represents an average speed of 155km/h

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Matthew Halliday , Tim Leahey , Mark Larkham , Simon Wills , Dale Brede , Steve Owen , Paul Dumbrell , Peter Hill , Christian Murchison , Andy Booth