Rookie Tyler Everingham has taken his first Dunlop Super2 Series race win as rain caused chaos in the Round 6 opener at Sandown.
The R&J Batteries-backed MW Motorsport driver was well-placed on wet tyres when the Safety Car came out but still had to fight Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Kurt Kostecki for victory.
Kostecki (#55 VF Commodore) was officially classified second after a 15-second penalty was added to Jack Smith’s race time, while another MWM driver in Bryce Fullwood is on the brink of wrapping up the title tomorrow having finished sixth despite being taken out by Thomas Randle (#5 Tickford FGX Falcon) on the Lap 8 restart.
The track was declared wet as rain fell with the cars on the starting grid, but all on the first three rows remained on slicks.
Fullwood led the field away from Armor All Pole Position, while Jordan Boys (#49 Image Racing VF Commodore) slid wide and dropped from second to fourth, behind Randle and Will Brown.
The #16 Altima led the race by almost a second after one lap, with Brown pressuring Randle until he ran off at Turn 11 on Lap 2 and half-spun on re-entry.
Everingham made a similar error and toured the infield as Brown forced Kostecki to jink onto the grass when he righted the #38 Eggleston Motorsport VF Commodore.
Kostecki had started on wets and on the next lap he passed Brown up the back straight, then Boys on the run to the final complex.
Brown had also picked off Boys again by the time the Safety Car was called on Lap 5 after Matt Chahda (#18 Matt Chahda Motorsport FGX Falcon) punted Brenton Grove (#10 Triple Eight VF Commodore) at Turn 2.
Fullwood not only lost a lead of around 1.5s over Randle and another four seconds over Kostecki, albeit rapidly closing, Kostecki had the wet tyre advantage with the rain still coming down.
Boys and all three Eggleston Motorsport drivers pitted straight away to get rid of their slicks, although Brown’s service was particularly messy.
Fullwood, Randle, and Ash Walsh (#35 Matt Stone Racing VF Commodore), waited another lap, and once everything had shaken out under Safety Car it was Kostecki leading Everingham, Dylan O’Keeffe (#44 Garry Rogers Motorsport VF Commodore), Smith (#21 Brad Jones Racing VF Commodore), and Zane Goddard (#28 MW Motorsport Altima), with Brown in 10th, Fullwood in 12th, and Randle in 13th.
The top six remained as you were for the restart but Randle aquaplaned into the first corner and just nicked Fullwood, causing the #16 Altima to spin as he sailed off in the #5 FGX Falcon.
Everingham got a run on Kostecki and passed him into Turn 1 on Lap 10, only for Kostecki to squeeze back ahead into the esses on Lap 12.
Kostecki then ran off at Turn 11 and dropped to third by the time he regrouped, leaving O’Keeffe in second until he sprayed it at the same corner on Lap 14 and ultimately fell to a nominal fourth.
Smith was second, a few tenths back from Everingham, but still with a penalty hanging over his head for spinning Chahda on Lap 1, and he did not get a chance to attack Everingham in any event.
The 2018 Super3 Series winner took the chequered flag half a second up on the 2017 Super3 Series winner after a time-certain 17 laps, five short of the scheduled distance, with Kostecki crossing the finish line in third.
The latter was therefore officially second in the race and takes over the same position in the series, with O’Keeffe getting a second podium of his Super2 career.
Eggleston team-mates Brown and Jack Perkins (#54 VF Commodore) rounded out the top five, while Fullwood got back to sixth and now leads the series by 356 points, one less than the advantage he enjoyed before the race had started.
Rounding out the top 10 were Justin Ruggier (#88 Eggleston Motorsport VF Commodore), Goddard, Smith, and Walsh, while Randle was classified 11th after he too copped 15 seconds for the incident with Fullwood.
Chahda finished 14th but, having waited considerable time to service his drive-through for the run-in with Grove, faces a post-race investigation.
Armor All Qualifying for Race 2 of the weekend starts tomorrow at 0930 local time/AEDT.
Results: Race 1
|1||27||R&J Batteries / MWM||Tyler Everingham||Nissan Altima||17||26:33.1856|
|2||55||Arcoweld Racing||Kurt Kostecki||Holden Commodore VF||17||26:34.9916|
|3||44||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Dylan O’Keeffe||Holden Commodore VF||17||26:36.4420|
|4||38||Eggleston Motorsport||William Brown||Holden Commodore VF||17||26:38.4667|
|5||54||Eggleston Motorsport||Jack Perkins||Holden Commodore VF||17||26:39.1103|
|6||16||Middy’s Electrical / MWM||Bryce Fullwood||Nissan Altima||17||26:39.5246|
|7||88||Eggleston Motorsport||Justin Ruggier||Holden Commodore VF||17||26:39.6569|
|8||28||BGD Architects / MWM||Zane Goddard||Nissan Altima||17||26:40.0283|
|9||21||SCT Logistics||Jack Smith||Holden Commodore VF||17||26:48.6686|
|10||35||Matt Stone Racing||Ashley Walsh||Holden Commodore VF||17||26:50.1888|
|11||5||Skye Sands||Thomas Randle||Ford Falcon FG/X||17||26:59.3057|
|12||15||Image Racing||Adam Marjoram||Holden Commodore VF||17||27:04.1390|
|13||49||Image Racing||Jordan Boys||Holden Commodore VF||17||27:08.0149|
|14||18||Cavalier Homes Australia||Matthew Chahda||Ford Falcon FG/X||17||27:12.9476|
|DNF||10||Grove Hire Racing||Brenton Grove||Holden Commodore VF||3||4:27.1934|