Harris takes fourth-straight SuperUtes win

  • ECB SuperUtes Series
  • |
  • 20/10/2018
  • By Joshua Makhoul

Series leader Ryal Harris claimed a commanding victory in the opening race for the seventh ECB SuperUtes Series round on the Gold Coast.

Making the most of his ARMOR ALL Pole Position, Harris led from start-to-finish to claim a fourth consecutive SuperUtes win in his EFS 4x4 Mazda, following a Bathurst sweep.

As was the case on Friday in practice and qualifying, Harris finished ahead of Holden driver Tom Alexander, who was 1.1134 seconds adrift at the end of the eight laps.

“It was the hottest race we’ve done in the SuperUtes so far, so the tyres were starting to go off a bit towards the end,” Harris said.

“Tom put a bit of pressure on towards the end, but I had pace in reserve.

“It’s nice to score my 10th race win for the year!”

Alexander said: “It took a bit of time for me to get up to speed early on, and I had good pace at the end but my brakes started to fade once I got close to Ryal.”

Harris' closest title challenger, Craig Woods rounded out the podium, having started fourth and gained a spot off the rolling start in the Penrith Toyota Hilux.

Woods finished ahead of Cameron Crick, who is contesting his second SuperUtes round aboard the #87 factory-backed Mitsubishi Triton.

He started the race sixth, slotting into fifth on lap two and then moving past a slowing Aaron Cameron the next time round.

Cameron fell to eventually finish seventh with a suspected electrical issue with the Bushranger Racing Mazda BT-50.

Ben Walsh was fifth in the Car City Hilux, ahead of debutant Luke Van-Herwaarde, who dropped down the order after an attempted overtake on Woods for third.

Van-Herwaarde was late on the brakes as he made a leap at Woods on lap three, brushing the wall at Turn 11 and dropping to seventh, eventually recovering to sixth.

“I had a battle with Luke early on, and he tried to pass me but couldn’t pull up,” Woods said of the clash.

“After that, I had clear track and good pace - I was catching the leaders, but the gap was too big to close.”

Van-Herwaarde added: “The move on Craig could have been cleaner, it comes down to my inexperience. I’m still learning about the weight of these vehicles and I couldn’t quite stop in time.

“When I glanced the wall, I accidentally turned the pit limiter on, and by the time I worked out what had happened, I lost a few more spots.”

Behind Cameron, Christopher Formosa (Ford), Matthew MacKelden (Toyota) and debutant Richard Mork (Ford) rounded out the top 10.

Thomas Gasperak returned to the pits at the end of the formation lap, getting back on track briefly before retiring.

Micheal Sieders did not start the race, despite his team staying up until 1am to fix the stricken Triton that clouted the wall in qualifying, due to an electrical problem detected on the dummy grid.

Standing in for Steve Wilson in the #1 Isuzu D-MAX, Kim Jane was also sidelined with engine problems that  has ended the car's weekend.

The on-track action will resume with Race 2 at 8:45am AEST Sunday, followed by the third and final race at 11:05am, as part of the Vodafone Gold Coast 600.

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