Harris beats Alexander in SuperUtes Race 2

  • Haltech SuperUte Series
  • |
  • 02/03/2019
  • By Joshua Makhoul

Ryal Harris claimed victory in Saturday's ECB SuperUtes Series shortened second leg, after more first-lap trouble at the Superloop Adelaide 500.

The EFS 4x4 Mazda driver, who started first based on a reversed grid from Race 1, stayed clear of the drama behind and finished 1.0075 seconds ahead of Tom Alexander.

SuperUte regulars Craig Dontas, Ben Walsh and Craig Woods, as well as debutants Adam Dodd and Dean Canto, all failed to finish after incidents on the first lap.

Harris emerged from the first chicane complex ahead of Alexander's Caltex Delo Isuzu, which ultimately set up the 2018 champion's victory. 

"The car was awesome, the Peters Motorsport crew did a great job of repairing it overnight," Harris said.

“Tom was fast, and was challenging me on the first lap and after the Safety Car - we both wanted to put on a good show today."

Behind Harris and Alexander, trouble struck between Turns 6 and 7, when Walsh tagged the right-rear of Dontas, shooting him into the left-side barrier.

"Walsh wanted to fight to the death, it would have been a brave move to try and pass me around the outside into Turn 7," Dontas said.

That ended both drivers' races, and as Dontas was limping away in his damaged Mitsubishi Triton, Woods took a compromised entry into Turn 7.

He ran wide and up and onto the tyre wall, rolling his Toyota Hilux onto its side.

"I swerved to miss the incident between Craig and Ben and hit the kerb on the inside of Turn 7," Woods said.

"After that, the car wouldn’t steer and I went straight into the tyre wall.

"The damage isn’t too bad - just some panel damage and a front upright - so we should be back on track tomorrow."

With nowhere to go, Luke Vanna nosed into the same tyre barrier, with Dodd and Canto similarly helpless.

Race 1 victor Vanna was the only driver out of those three able to continue, with Canto having also copped a heavy hit in the opening race.

The resulting Safety Car led the six remaining drivers until racing resumed on lap five of an eventual six.

Harris brought it home, ahead of Alexander, Team Triton's Elliot Barbour and Western Sydney Motorsport's Michael Sieders, with Cameron Crick and Vanna the other finishers.

"I had a chance to pass Ryal at Turn 4 on the first lap, but it would have been a high-risk move," Alexander said.

"We decided to live to fight another day; it’s important for us to score plenty of points this weekend.

"The Isuzu is fast, but we’re still losing some time out of Turns 9 and 14."

Canto's Team 18 Holden is out for the final, ending a troubled weekend.

After Friday's opening-lap rollover, Christopher Formosa's Ford Ranger is also taking no further part in the weekend.

The third and final race, worth double points, takes place at 9:30am Sunday morning in Adelaide.

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