Hot championship battles warm up Phillip Island at Shannons Nationals
9/05/2007 at 2:33:12 AM:

THE Battle for championship honours within the Shannons Nationals Motor Racing Championships is heating up following an action packed second round at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit last weekend.

Six National Racing categories competed in 18 races with nearly 150 cars and karts at the world-renowned Phillip Island circuit and turned on some exciting racing for fans across the board, with history being made throughout the weekend.

The events’ biggest moment came when Leanne Tander became the first female driver in 51 years of competition to win a race in the Australian Drivers Championship – Australia’s premier Open Wheel Award.

Tander’s win capped off a massive weekend for the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula Three Championship after Brit James Winslow won the opening race to give the series its fourth and fifth different winners from six races this season.

Victorian Tim Macrow continues to lead the championship, however Yorkshire driver Charlie Hollings, Tander and Winslow are all well within just 15 points of the series leader. The fastest cars in the series will now have a seven week break before their next championship round at Mallala in early June.

Whilst the Formula 3s were fighting out for the Gold Star, some of Australia’s top Touring & Saloon Car categories were putting on their usual brutal doorhandle-to-doorhandle display.

The Empire Trade Exchange Commodore Cup featured its typical tough racing throughout a strong 25-car field.

In a reversal of the form seen at Oran Park two weeks ago, Youngster Daniel Richert (Axent Racing) was able to usurp multiple series champion Geoff Emery (WA Freightlines) – the first time the champ has been defeated since his return to the series this year.

Emery now leads Richert in the all-Holden championship 286 – 277 points with two rounds complete.

Holden also had a return to power in the Supaloc Australian Saloon Car Championship, also contesting its second round at the weekend.

South Aussie driver John Goodacre was lucky to win the round after form driver Kris Walton, from Queensland, was denied a clean-sweep of the three races after a puncture in race two sent him falling from the race lead.

Walton won the first race, Goodacre the second and Walton capped off an amazing weekend to come from the back to win race three in stunning fashion.

Heinrich leads Walton 181 – 177 in the championship Chase with Clint Harvey (162) and Goodacre (136) close behind.

In the Shannons Australian Production Car Championship a battle between HSV and BMW was the highlight as the series for production-based cars in many classes continued their 2007 campaign after starting at the Bathurst 12 hour in April.

After taking pole position by a narrow margin, BMW 335i turbo driver Garry Holt was forced to play second fiddle to Commodore diver Leigh Mertens in Sunday’s first race, whilst Magazine editor Tim Robson used a handicap start to his advantage in the second to take the outright, and class B, victory.

Mertens also won the non-points scratch race on Saturday to show that the big HSV may be the car to beat this year, although Holt continues to lead the championship.

In the Australian Superkart Championship Warren McIlveen won three of the four races in commanding fashion, whilst Sam Zvaglia was able to secure the race four victory after McIlveen was relegated to just 34th.

A massive field of 42 karts featured Australian Sports Sedan Championship regular Darren Hossack making a one-off appearance as he prepares to return to the high-powered cars later this year.

The cream rose to the top in the Formula Vee Interstate Challenge with Queenslander Shane Hart a class above the chasing pack, sweeping all three races.

George Panagiotidis and Adam Procter also featured heavily inside the top three.

Action from the second round of the Shannons Nationals will be broadcast on SBS Speedweek on Sunday, June 3rd and Sunday, June 17th, at 12:00pm Midday.

Before that the second lot of action from Oran Park’s opening round can be seen at the same time this Sunday, May 13th.

The next round of the Shannons Nationals will be held at Queensland Raceway in Ipswich on May 26 – 27, featuring cars from the Australian GT Championship, Supaloc Australian Saloon Car Championship, Shannons Australian Production Car Championship, Kerrick Industrial Sports Sedans and the HQ Holdens.

Photo thanks to Nathan Wong –

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