Major crash stops Kumho V8 Touring Car race
Points leader Terry Wyhoon has won a shortened opening race for the Kumho V8 Touring Car Series at Phillip Island.
Wyhoon was leading the race from title rival Scott Loadsman with less than two laps to run when Aaron Tebb crashed his ex-Garry Rogers Motorsport Commodore at the exit of the final corner.
The youngster was able to walk away from the incident despite making heavy side-on contact with the tyre wall at the exit of the turn following a suspected tyre issue.
The damage to the wall saw the final race of the day, for the Australian Superkart Championship, cancelled.
Wyhoon had shadowed Loadsman for the first five laps before making a move on the Commodore at Turn 1.
Loadsman continued to hold down second until the red flag was called, with Justin Garioch in third.
“I know I had pace on him (Loadsman) in some sections and I was mindful of the right front tyre in particular,” said Wyhoon after the race.
“So once I hit the front, all I wanted was a small gap and then maintain it.”
Michael Bartsch took fourth in his first outing since upgrading to an ex-Matthew White Motorsport Falcon BA, while Bruce Heinrich, Matthew Hansen and Chris Delfsma rounded out the top 10.
The red flag regulations saw Tebb classified eighth, ahead of Jim Pollicina and Paul Pennisi.
Former Saloon Car front-runner Shawn Jamieson starred in his first Kumho V8 Touring Car appearance, running as high as second early. The South Australian would eventually finish 13th after a mistake at Honda Corner.
Nathan Garioch was another to fall short after threatening for a top place – the Falcon driver suffering a mechanical issue while running third.
Chris Smerdon also chalked up a DNF after visiting the garage. The South Australian ran seventh for the majority of the race despite suffering with an engine misfire, before pitting with a tyre issue.
Smerdon had entered the weekend hopeful of winning a second Touring Car Series crown, but had his hopes dashed when it was confirmed that he had been excluded from the preceding round at Sandown.
During scrutineering at the Melbourne venue, the Lubrimax Falcon’s engine was found to have a valve lift 0.007 inches outside the maximum allowed in the regulations. While able to provide documentation verifying that he had not made engine alterations since purchasing the car from Stone Brothers Racing last year, Smerdon was stripped of his points from the meeting.
The final two races of the 2011 Kumho V8 Touring Car Series will take place at Phillip Island tomorrow.