David Sieders has inherited victory in a controversial opening race for Round 3 of the East Coast Bullbars Australian V8 Ute Racing Series at the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint today, after the original winner Ryal Harris was penalised.
After qualifying second, Harris beat polesitter Mason Barbera off the line.
A tight tussle between Harris and Barbera saw the latter briefly taking the lead before the three-time champion asserted his authority; Barbera was pushed wide and also lost second position to David Sieders.
Harris crossed the finish line first, but received a five second post-race time penalty for weaving after the lights on the Safety Car had been extinguished.
Barbera was another to cop the wrath of the officials post-race – they deemed one of his moves on Harris too aggressive, and also issued him with a five second time addition.
As a result, Craig Woods was elevated to second place ahead of Kim Jane, who continued his perfect record of top three race finishes this season and extended his points lead.
The Safety Car that proved to be Harris’ undoing was deployed when Michael Sieders spun off the circuit at turn 6 – the racing rookie explained it was caused by a brake problem.
“When I braked, the pedal went straight to the floor; I wanted to wash off as much speed as I could so I turned into the gravel trap and fortunately by the time I made it to the tyre wall, I wasn’t travelling very fast so the damage wasn’t too bad,” Sieders said.
Title contender Marcus Zukanovic had a tough day, electrical problems in qualifying restricting him to 14th on the grid. A wiring loom change resolved the issue and he improved to 10th in the race, only to receive a penalty for overlapping on the Safety Car restart.
“To have the issues in qualifying was very frustrating, the weekend hasn’t gone to plan so far,” Zukanovic said.
“The new wiring loom seemed to solve the problem but we still have work to do – our pace is not where it needs to be.”
Series debutant Johnathan Bloxsom, driving the ex-Luke Spalding Ute, suffered a blown engine in qualifying. The team sourced a spare engine from Kim Jane but were unable to install it in time for the race – Bloxsom is expected to return for Races 2 and 3 tomorrow.