Tony Ricciardello’s luck turns around in a busy day at Mallala

Kerry Baily's new Aston Martin topped Sports Sedan times in South Australia today

Kerry Baily's new Aston Martin topped Sports Sedan times in South Australia today

Following on from the fire that severely damaged his iconic Alfa-Romeo Sports Sedan earlier today, Tony Ricciardello will be back in the Championship hunt tomorrow after rival competitor Bob McLoughlin offered up his VS Commodore for the West Aussie’s use.

Those expected to be Ricciardello’s key rivals for this title, Darren Hossack (Audi A4) and Kerry Baily (Aston Martin DBR9), topped the time charts today with the pair ending the three practice sessions split by less than half a second.

Local driver, Chris Smerdon topped the practice times for the Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car series today, two-tenths faster than fellow Ford driver Mark Shepherd – but there was nothing between the next 10 cars, less than a second blanketing them.

Old hands held off a group of newcomers in the Porsche Staff Solutions International GT3 Cup Challenge practice times, Victorian Jon Trende picking up where he left off in 2011 to top today’s order.

Newcomer Brent Odgers was second, Jeff Bobik third, Terry Lawler fourth and Rob Knight fifth.

The top 13 cars in the all Porsche field were covered by just over a second. It should be an incredibly close fought battle in the 40 lap first race – which sees GT3 racers competing for the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy.

Holden driver Simon Tabinor topped the Dial Before You Dig Australian Saloon Car series ranks, not much in front of reigning champion and local ace Matt Lovell’s Falcon. Andrew Nowland, Josh Keane and Sam Milton completed the top five.

After finishing on the podium at round one of the Hi-Tec Oils Australian Swift Racing Series, Adam Brand has emerged quickest in practice for round two of the one-make series today ahead of Rob Jarvis and son Allan.

Sunday’s race action will be streamed live on the internet via the Shannons Nationals website and ITV Live.

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