Melbournians Nathan Pretty (Caroline Springs) and Elliot Barbour (St Kilda) along with fellow Ford Stalwart (NSW) David Sieders broke the lap record in practice today for Round Five of the Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series – protected by ARMOR ALL at Sandown Raceway.
Sieders was the fastest man on circuit setting the new practice record in a time of 1min23.1639 however Pretty was a mere three thousandths of a second behind. The two are only separated by one point in the ENZED Drivers Championship and monopolise the 2013 ARMOR All Pole Awards both with two apiece.
Sieders claimed the ARMOR ALL Pole Award at this event the last time the V8 Utes raced here (2011) and is eager to stay ahead of Pretty on the leader-board and get an extra three points on him tomorrow.
“I think there are a number of people who could be my rival tomorrow. Nath’ has obviously been strong, we had some issues in practice one but we rectified that. I think we have a good package in qualifying, we’re really working on our race pace and I’m keen to get after it tomorrow,” said Sieders.
Milwaukee Racing’s Pretty already holds a lap record here in a Holden Monaro 427C and would love to get a few more titles under his belt at his local track along with some extra points in his quest for the series title.
“I’ll be one hundred per cent aiming for P1 and points are key at this stage in the game.
The car’s feeling great and it will be good to get one over on Sieders,” he stated.
Elliott Barbour is pleased with his result and is hoping to keep his Victoria Guide Dogs Ford ahead in the Yokohama Rookie title but hasn’t found the qualifying format to his favour so far this year.
“I think it’ll be a lot easier on the tyres here, so that might suit me better. The car feels good and the track feels fast, so I’ll just go as fast as I can and see what happens,” said Barbour.
“I don’t particularly love the qualifying format, it hasn’t worked well with me so far this year but hopefully tomorrow will be different,” said Barbour.
Series leader Ryal Harris was also on good pace coming in fourth fastest ahead of Barbour’s Rookie rival Jesse Dixon.
Former Bathurst 1000 pole sitter Wayne Wakefield brought his Bacardi Oakheart Ford home sixth fastest in front of Peters Motorsport teammate Ryan Hansford. Rhys McNally, Andrew Fisher and local Stephen White (Sandringham) rounded out the top 10.
The V8 Utes will hit the track at 11:40am AEST tomorrow for their final qualifying session under the new format.
The new format, similar to the qualifying system used in Formula 1, features a 30 minute session broken up into three individual segments. Qualifying One will include all 32 V8 Utes and after 10 minutes, the top 20 fastest drivers will continue into Qualifying Two, for a shorter seven minute session. The top 10 drivers from this session will then start Qualifying Three, a short five-minute session allowing for a one or two lap shootout. The fastest lap times will then determine the top ten grid for the start of Race One, with the balance of the grid filled as they drop off in lap time from each segment.