Gorton edges out competitors for Round 2 of the RX8 Cup Series at Sydney Motorsport Park
The RX8 Cup Series returned to the Sydney Motorsport Park last weekend for Round 2 of their National Series. 18 entrants took on the busy weekend with 6 practice sessions Friday, qualifying and 1 race Saturday, and 3 races Sunday.
Competitors awoke to a light drizzle early Saturday morning, before the sun shined through. This, paired with cool conditions and little wind created ideal conditions for Qualifying. 3 competitors put down laps in the 1:47’s for the first time in RX8 cup history. Last year’s champion Ryan Gorton narrowly edged out his contenders with a 1:47.28. Marcus La Delle was next setting a 1:47.44, with Round 1’s winner Steven Devjak hot on his heels with a 1:47.50. Justin Barnes and Terry Lewis rounded out the top 5.
Gorton and La Delle got an even start in Race 1, with both competitors going door to door from the start line until the exit of Turn 2, Devjak slotted into 3rd and instantly put the pressure on La Delle. McLaine and Barnes diced for 4th position as Lewis and Shaw battled for 6th. Devjak managed to find a way past La Delle, before closing a 2 second gap to Gorton and applying pressure for the remainder of the race. Unable to get past, Devjak finished just 4 tenths behind Gorton, La Delle not far behind. Barnes, McLaine, Lewis, Shaw, Noakes, Lougher and Riley rounded out the top 10.
Race 2 took place Sunday morning with cool temperatures and a strong head wind. A clean start resulted with Gorton leading ahead of Devjak, La Delle and Barnes. On lap 2 Gorton broke the lap record with a 1:48.49, previously held by Brad Harris with a 1:48.64. Celebrations were short lived, with Devjak punching out a 1:48.41 the following lap to take the official record. Lewis and McLaine battled for 5th, and Lougher and Shaw continued their dice from Race 1. Bullians and Alder showed that racing is tough throughout the entire pack, displaying some great driving. With the strong head winds, we saw the draft begin to play a role with Devjak taking full advantage before pulling out for a very tenacious Turn 1 maneuver on Gorton for the lead. The two went side-by-side through one of Australia’s fastest corners. Devjak was unable to make it stick, with a big slide and dropping back to 3rd behind La Delle. He managed to regain the position in the final complex to secure the important championship points. Barnes finished a comfortable 4th and Lewis not far behind.
Devjak got the jump in Race 3, leading Gorton, Lewis and La Delle into Turn 1. Riley got a great start passing 4 cars and moving up to 5th, before receiving heavy contact from Barnes as he lead into Turn 2. Barnes DNF’d, however Riley managed to limp the car for the remainder of the race with a damaged wheel alignment. Lewis had a high speed moment through Turn 1 during the race, allowing La Delle to capitilise and move into 3rd. Silvestro and Canellis had a good dice in the mid-pack. In the end, Devjak secured a convincing win, followed by Gorton, La Delle, Lewis and McLaine.
The final race of the weekend was late Sunday Afternoon. Devjak appeared to have missed 2nd gear on the start, allowing Gorton to slot into the lead. McLaine made contact with Lewis while attempting a pass at Turn 5 on the opening lap, this unfortunately resulted in a cracked oil cooler dumping an abundance of fluid on the track and havoc played out behind with multiple drivers being caught off guard. With Gorton still suffering from a minor power loss in the top-end, Devjak took advantage down the straight getting the job done. Not wanting to give up, Gorton pushed hard to keep up, however perhaps too much, unfortunately making contact with the rear wheel of Devjak into Turn 2. He redressed, allowing Devjak to continue in the lead and La Delle slipped through between the pair. As the leaders approached Turn 5, with no oil flags and no idea what had happened on the previous lap they were caught off guard with Devjak coming off worst ending up in the gravel trap and a light tap with the tyre wall. La Delle managed to get through unscaved and took the lead, Gorton had a big slide but managed to catch it. Lewis had a near spin, but recovered losing a few positions. A safety car was brought out to recover McLaine and Devjak. A single green flag lap to finish was the call. Gorton and La Delle went door-to-door through Turn 2, with latter managing to hold onto the lead. The race finished La Delle, Gorton, Lougher, Barnes, Noakes, Shaw, Lewis, OKeefe, Alder, Canellis, Bullians, Place, and Riley. Devjak, Silvestro and McLaine with DNF’s.
The overall round win went to Ryan Gorton (117), followed by Marcus La Delle (108), and Steven Devjak (86). Terry Lewis and Thomas Shaw finished off the top 5. A special congratulation to Sam Silvestro reaching 50 race starts in the RX8 Cup Series over the weekend, a great supporter of the series.
Gorton summed up the weekend, stating “It was another great weekend of racing for the RX8 Cup Series. The competition has really stepped up another notch this year. Steve (Devjak) and Marcus (La Delle) are both established drivers in their own right and are really pushing me for the championship this year. The racing is hard-fought, but respectful on track. Off-track we are all mates and will help out wherever needed, the whole class is like that really, it’s what makes it great. It was unfortunate for the final race to end how it did, there really should’ve only been 1 point between Steve and myself, it could’ve gone either way. But that’s racing, and there’s still plenty of races this year. I’d like to thank all RX8 cup competitors, staff, and volunteers who make everything happen. Shout-out to the flag marshals as well, those guys love the sport and it couldn’t happen without them. Hope to see everyone for next round at Morgan Park”.
The RX8 Cup Series is proudly supported by OccSafe Australia, and all races were livestreamed and available now for viewing at BlendLine TV.
The category returns for Round 3 at Morgan Park Raceway, QLD – June 4-6th. If anyone is interested in joining the category or leasing a car, contact Category Manager Ric Shaw.