Sandown: Race one gives title to Ricciardello

First race win consolidates fourth title for Tony Ricciardello. West Australia's Tony Ricciardello is the 2002 Reward Insurance Australian Sports Sedan Champion following his win in the first race of the final round at Sandown Raceway in...

First race win consolidates fourth title for Tony Ricciardello.

West Australia's Tony Ricciardello is the 2002 Reward Insurance Australian Sports Sedan Champion following his win in the first race of the final round at Sandown Raceway in Melbourne Victoria today.

Driving his near 700 horsepower, six litre Chev-engined Alfa Romeo, Ricciardello hounded early race leader Kerry Baily in a Nissan 300ZX/Chev until half distance. Ricciardello grabbed the lead on the sixth of 12 laps and controlled the remainder of the race, winning by over six seconds.

Baily then came under challenge from Dean Randle whose Saab/Chev went to second as Baily experienced locking rear brakes. He was able to hold off the Jaguar XKR/Chev of Daniel Jameson who overcooked braking into turn one, opting then to settle for fourth.

Darren Hossack's chances of grabbing second in the championship received a body blow when he was forced to start from pitlane after being late to the start. The Saab/Chev stormed through the field to be as high as sixth before electrical problems sidelined him.

While Ricciardello secured the title, the battle for second has intensified. A solid fifth place to the Tony Wilson has lifted the Commodore/Chev driver to equal second (with Hossack). Randle's strong second placing puts him two points ahead of Baily with it mathematically possible that any of the four can finish as championship runner-up.

As a result of virtually no qualifying, Stephen Voight started his GT-spec Chev Monza off the rear and came home a handy seventh. Mick Monterosso recorded a top six position in the Ford Escort/Chev, but Phil Crompton was an an early casualty when the Falcon's gear lever broke. Ray Ayton's Calibra/Chev started in the top ten, but broke its diff at the start as Llynden Reithmuller was a non-starter as his Mazda broke an imput shaft (gearbox) in the early morning warm-up.

-assc-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series General
Drivers Stephen Voight , Darren Hossack , Tony Ricciardello , Phil Crompton