Harris dominates Friday SuperUtes running

  • ECB SuperUtes Series
  • |
  • 19/10/2018
  • By Joshua Makhoul

Mazda driver Ryal Harris will start Saturday's ECB SuperUtes Series opener at the Gold Coast from pole, having topped ARMOR ALL Qualifying on Friday.

Harris, who leads the standings with nine race victories to his name, topped the timesheets with a 1:33.6363s lap to shade Tom Alexander by 0.2441 seconds.

Earlier, Harris also set the pace in the two 20-minute practice sessions for 2018's penultimate round in his EFS 4x4 BT-50.

"It’s great to get pole at home, in front of all my family and local sponsors - I love driving around the Gold Coast," Harris said.

"The Peters Motorsport team have given me an awesome car and the extra three points were exactly what I needed to extend my championship lead.

"It’s good to be on pole - it’s only my second one for the year. The goal now is to stay out of trouble and control from the front."

Alexander was his closest challenger all day, in practice and then qualifying, but the SP Tools Holden Colorado driver had to settle for second.

"My lap wasn’t perfect, I made several mistakes," Alexander said.

"I was surprised and happy to be only 0.2s off Ryal and our race pace should be good."

Debutant Luke Van-Herwaarde will start third, despite clouting the tyre bundle exiting the Turn 1 chicane in the closing stages of qualifying.

Having been fifth-fastest in practice in the second Western Sydney Motorsport Hilux, the Toyota 86 Racing Series regular stopped on track after the hit.

"Coming into the first chicane, I hit the brakes too hard and had some rear chatter on the way in," he explained.

"I had the choice of going through the chicane or trying to make the corner and I chose to try and make it around.

"I hit the kerb hard and it launched me into the air, and across into the tyre wall.

"There’s some steering damage, but it’s fixable and I’m very pleased with P3."

There, he joined the stricken Mitsubishi Triton of Michael Sieders, who came unstuck at the same place slightly earlier.

"I pushed too hard into the first chicane and hit the wall hard," Sieders said.

"It looks like the chassis may be bent, so I’m not sure if we’ll be able to fix it. The boys will give it their best shot.

"A very disappointing start to the weekend."

Harris' closest title rival, Craig Woods will start fourth in the lead WSM Hilux.

That is despite spending the bulk of the opening practice session in the pits with mechanical dramas.

Aaron Cameron occupies fifth in the sister Mazda to Harris, alongside Sieders, the pair having been sixth and fourth-fastest in practice.

Team Triton continues its driver rotation, with Sieders and Cameron Crick in action, Crick qualifying seventh in his second SuperUtes start.

Crick will start the opening race alongside Ben Walsh, and ahead of Tomas Gasperak and Kim Jane, who is behind the wheel of Steve Wilson's Isuzu D-MAX.

Matthew MacKelden qualified 11th, ahead of the Ford Ranger pair of Christopher Formosa and SuperUtes debutant Richard Mork.

Race 1 starts at 12:05pm AEST Saturday, as part of the Vodafone Gold Coast 600.

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