O’Brien Thunders to Ipswich Win
It was a case of deja vu at round three of the Performance Wheels Australian Trans-Am Series, as Shannon O’Brien recorded a clean sweep of the 2 Days of Thunder at Queensland Raceway.
A 15-car field took to the track over the weekend, highlighted by the debut of Len Balme’s 1967 Mercury Cougar, as well as the return of Mark Bowtell (Firebird), John Samios (Camaro) and 2016 Australian Trans-Am Trophy Series runner-up Brett Curran (Mustang).
O’Brien (Firebird) reaffirmed his domination of previous rounds to claim pole position by 1.8 seconds ahead of New Zealand racer Shane Wigston (Mustang), Curran and Samios.
The pole-sitter led from green to chequered in every race of the weekend, as second place honours were shared between Wigston and Ian Palmer (Firebird) with two second finishes apiece. Samios impressed in his return to the category, climbing to third place in the opening race after qualifying in sixth position.
Wigston held off Samios for third in race two before brake troubles for Wigston resulted in a spin into the gravel trap at turn six on the final lap.
A restart following a multi-car incident on the opening lap of race three saw Anthony Tenkate (Mustang) climb to third, as Palmer was handed a 30-second penalty to his race result. Palmer charged back to third in the final race, behind Wigston and O’Brien.
O’Brien was pleased with his second clean sweep at Queensland Raceway in as many rounds.
“It was an awesome round for us, thanks to the team at Fataz Competition Engines for a great car all weekend,” said O’Brien.
The standout performance of the round saw a weekend-long battle in the 5 Litre Classics, with Ron Prefontaine (Mustang) claiming the class victory over returnee Bowtell. The pair continued to swap positions as Bowtell lead in all but one race, but couldn’t fend off Prefontaine who emerged with a clean sweep of the round.
Mike Collins (Mustang) and Gareth Jones (Mustang) enjoyed a healthy battle to finish tied on points for third in the 5 Litre Classics, followed by Tricia Chant (Mustang) and the debutant Balme.
The battle in the 5 Litre classics was strengthened by Sportsman Series competitors Tony Rutherford (Mustang) and Dan Fleming (Mustang), with Rutherford securing a clean sweep as Fleming battled transmission and electrical dramas for most of the weekend.
The Performance Wheels Australian Trans-Am Series returns to Queensland Raceway for the fourth round of the season, as part of the Queensland Racing Drivers Championship, on July 8 and 9 in support of round four of the Australian Formula Ford Series.