AUS Utes: Series Phillip Island race 1 report

Johnson victorious in V8 Ute Field at Phillip Island Grant "Grunta" Johnson claimed Race 1 and a new lap record today (Saturday, 11th September) in Round 5 of the 2010 Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series & ...

Johnson victorious in V8 Ute Field at Phillip Island

Grant "Grunta" Johnson claimed Race 1 and a new lap record today (Saturday, 11th September) in Round 5 of the 2010 Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series – protected by Armor All at the L&H 500 Phillip Island.

Johnson started on the front row alongside teammate and Coopers Clear Racing's driver Jack Elsegood and the two got off to a great start running side by side for most of the run to turn one. Johnson made it through the first corner with a slight advantage and steered ahead of the rest of the field leaving Jack in a safe second position with Ice Break Racing's Gary MacDonald in third. Their positions were initially looking secure until Nulon Oil driver David Sieders began putting pressure on them following a safety car period.

"Sideways" Sieders managed to take MacDonald on lap 8 and was right on Elsegood's rear bumper for the remainder of the race. The lightning fast Rookie didn't quite have enough to take the current champion and had to settle for third.

"I lost a bit on the straight when I went off the track but not too bad. The start was where I lost it if I hadn't dropped to sixth I would have been better placed to pressure Jack for the whole race. I was a bit disappointed with the result and hope to make it up in the reversed grid tomorrow," explained Sieders.

Half-way through the race Gary Carson had a coming together with Rick Gill which caused the Western Australian Car Club President's Holden to spin backwards up the track and straight into the hapless Nandi Kiss's line.

The resultant impact caused the Eagle Pro Hydraulics / Bisley Workwear Holden of Kiss to fly off the track and put both he and Gill out for the race. Kiss was taken to the medical centre for observation but was deemed ok.

"I felt the car launch into the air and I went straight off the track. Carson's car blocked my view of Gill and I thought I was fine until the car came back on me and made me almost tip over," said Kiss.

Go Channel 88, driver Gary Carson is currently (at the time of writing) in a hearing over the incident and his finishing position will be determined following the outcome.

The race restarted on lap 8 and the drivers charged full-steam ahead for the remaining two lap sprint.

Gary MacDonald managed to hold on to fourth position but behind him there was a serious battle going on for positions within the top ten.

Queenslander Kurt Wimmer (who was subbing in for QLD star Brad Patton in the Wicked Energy Drinks XR8 Falcon) edged past Ryal Harris and claimed fifth ahead of Ice Break Racing's Chris Pither in sixth. Harris had to contend with seventh just behind Rockstar Energy drinks Jeremy Gray who was able to take Andrew Fisher when the Jesus All About Life driver missed a gear coming out of southern loop.

Sage Automation racer Gary Baxter rounded out the top ten.

Earlier in the race on lap four Lauren Gray locked up and ended off the track at turn one. Luckily for Lauren a safety car was soon called and she managed to join the rest of the field back on the track and finish the race.

Race 2 tomorrow will be a top 15 reversed grid, which was determined by a ballot draw from Race 1 winner Grant Johnson. The reverse grid race will see a Ford & Holden front row start with Storage King sponsored driver Ben Dunn on Pole alongside Thirsty Camel Racing's Craig Dontas. Bob Jane T-Marts sponsored Kim Jane had a great race gaining 15 positions to finish in 13th and will start on the second row alongside NRW Holdings Rhys McNally

Race 2 will be televised LIVE on network SEVEN Sunday, 12th September at 11:30am and the drivers will hit the track for Race 3 at 12:40pm.

Make-A-Wish Australia is the official charity of Australian V8 Ute Racing who will endeavour to assist the foundation with their mission, which is to "To grant the Wishes of Children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope strength and joy."

-source: aus v8 utes

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Series V8S
Drivers Kurt Wimmer , Grant Johnson , Bob Jane , Jack Elsegood , Chris Pither , David Sieders , Andrew Fisher , Lauren Gray , Jeremy Gray , Ben Dunn , Brad Patton , Phillip Island