Technical issue puts Kumho V8 leader on sidelines

Josh Hunter's Fernandez Motorsport Falcon

Josh Hunter's Fernandez Motorsport Falcon

Kumho V8 Touring Car Series leader Josh Hunter is in danger of missing the opening race of the weekend at Mallala this afternoon.

The 16-year-old was absent from this morning’s practice session after being informed that the fuel bladder in his Fernandez Motorsport Falcon is out of date.

The team took delivery of the ex-Ford Performance Racing Falcon from Dunlop Series squad Freestone Motorsport immediately prior to the opening round at Eastern Creek, where Hunter won all three races.

Hunter is resigned to missing today’s qualifying session, and is not optimistic of making Race 1 later in the afternoon.

“I’m gutted,” said Hunter of the situation.

“It just came up this morning. I ran around fine yesterday (in unofficial practice).

“Jose (Fernandez, team owner), is trying his hardest to sort something.

“We’ll struggle to make it onto the circuit today. If we can get a tank we will, but where do we find one (this late)?”

It is understood that Fernandez Motorsport has discussed with Matthew White’s MW Motorsport crew – which is at Mallala running a Falcon for Morgan Haber – the possibility of borrowing the fuel bladder from Tim Blanchard’s Dunlop Series Falcon FG, which is at the circuit in the team’s transporter.

Local driver Chris Smerdon (Falcon BA) was fastest in this morning’s 30-minute practice session, clear of fellow South Aussie Bruce Heinrich (Falcon AU) and Perth’s Matt Hansen (Commodore VZ).

It has also been a dramatic morning in the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series at Mallala, with the title-contending John Gourlay-owned Audi A4 being withdrawn from the weekend following an engine failure.

Driver Darren Hossack’s season now rests on the possibility of stepping into Simon Pfitzner’s PPG Gearboxes-backed Ford Falcon, which had not been entered for the weekend.

The issue follows a fire for long-time rival Tony Ricciardello yesterday which has seen the West Australian move from his Alfa GTV to Bob McLoughlin’s Holden Commodore.

Ricciardello has finished the first of two qualifying sessions third, slower only than Kerry Bailey (Aston Martin) and the returning Des Wall (Chev Corvette).

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