Championship glory for Melbourne drivers at Sandown
30/11/2008 at 7:25:32 AM:

Melbourne drivers Mark Eddy and Darren Hossack were among six national champions crowned at Sandown Raceway today in the final round of the Shannons Nationals, while Allan Simonsen and Nick O’Halloran won the Sandown GT Classic.

Eddy claimed the Australian GT Championship and Hossack became just the third driver to win two national titles in a season when he sealed the Kerrick Sports Sedan crown at the event, attended by 3,700 people.

Simonsen and O’Halloran took their Ferrari F430 to victory in the Sandown GT Classic, emerging victorious against a strong field of sports cars worth almost $10 million.

In a new Dodge Viper, Ross Lilley and Greg Crick were second, ahead of Tony Quinn (Aston Martin).

John Bowe and co-driver Ted Huglin finished fourth in their Lamborghini Gallardo, ahead of ex-Formula 1 driver Ivan Capelli in a Maserati Trofeo.

Seventh place was enough for Eddy to win the title, his first, after John Kaias was forced out of the event by a practice crash.

“After John crashed on Friday it became a bit easier,” Eddy said.

“We knew we just had to finish the race to win the championship, but seeing the chequered flag was a fantastic feeling.

“Everything has gone well for us during the year, I’ve had a ball and the championship is a sensational result.”

In a dramatic Kerrick Sports Sedans season finale, Tony Ricciardello took pole position and won the opening two races to enter the final race tied on points with Hossack, who entered the weekend with an eight-point lead.

The pair entered the third and final race tied on points in a winner-takes-all stoush, and battled intently in the opening laps before Ricciardello’s Alfa Romeo slowed with gearbox problems.

Hossack took the win and the championship, his second of the year along with the Australian Superkart Championship, and he joins Mark Skaife and Marcus Zukanovic as the only drivers to win two national titles in a season.

A late addition to the field, V8 Supercar driver Shane Price finished on the podium in all three races in a Saab.

“Winning two national titles in one year is a special feeling,” Hossack said.

“I was looking forward to a good race with Tony but unfortunately he had a problem.

“I’m rapt to win the championship, we’ve worked really hard to get this car up to speed over the last year, it’s a great reward for the guys.

Hyundai wrapped up the Australian Manufacturers Championship for production cars, while Colin Osborne won the drivers title.

The exploits of Class D driver George Miedecke, who finished second to Osborne in the drivers standings, and Class E driver Jamie Augustine took Hyundai to the championship.

David and Des Wall (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) and Lee Castle (Subaru WRX STi) won the two, one-hour races.

It was a good day for Victorians in the Southern Star Windows Commodore Cup season finale.

Geelong resident Michael Tancredi secured his maiden national title, while Melbourne’s Marcus Zukanovic won the round with a clean sweep of race wins, ahead of Tancredi and Nick Parker.

Steve Kwiatkowski won all three Supaloc Australian Saloon Car races to become the 2008 champion.

Second place for the weekend and series went to Matt Lovell, while John Goodacre completed the Sandown podium.

With two wins from three races, Chris Smerdon took his Ford AU Falcon to the inaugural Shannons V8 Touring Car Series title.

This weekend’s racing from Sandown will be broadcast on SBS’ Speedweek next Sunday, 7 December, from 1pm.

The 2009 Shannons Nationals kicks off at Mount Panorama, Bathurst, as part of the WPS Bathurst 12 Hour on 20-21 February.
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