In an impressive driving display Bart Mawer and Angelo Lazaris have won the hour endurance race for NSW Production Sports Cars at Sydney Motorsport Park earlier today. Despite starting their Lotus Exige GT3 from 12th on the grid.
(In the early stages it looked like the battle for victory would be an exclusive fight attended by Muston and Salmon)
While in the early stages it looked like it would be the fancied pair of Muston and Salmon who would duel it out for the victory, Lazaris chipped away at moving the Lotus Exige GT3 from 12th on the grid up into a position where a challenge for victory could be launched. “I knew in the early stage that I just needed to take my time, make good passes and do my best to keep in touch with the guys at the front,” said Lazaris after the race
(Outright Winner: Angelo Lazaris drove a superb opening stint to position the Prep'd Lotus Exige GT3 for a shot at the win.)
When the pit window opened it was Muston who was first to take the option of completing the mandatory pit-stop. The Porsche driver trying to use strategy to his advantage in order to leapfrog the Skwirk Audi ahead. However, twenty minutes later when the pitstop window closed Salmon found himself losing the lead to Mawer in the Lotus, who had passed Muston during the busy middle period of the race. Ultimately, even with a late race safety car and an extension of the race time by three minutes, Mawer would not be headed, bringing home the Lotus to a comfortable victory. “Today the car just felt like it was on rails. Though he downplays it, Lazaris drove brilliantly and handed me the car in an awesome position. Then when I passed Muston, I knew we were on for victory,” said an ecstatic Mawer after the race.
(After leading Class B for a majority of the race, Townsend and Soole were robbed of victory minutes from the end)
Class B saw an enthralling battle develop between the Soole/Townsend Lotus, Magaitis/Levis Lotus and the Mazda MX5 of Nicholas Cancian. While an early race mis-hap saw Levis fall down the order, the Lotus driver stormed back into contention with a strong authoritative drive through the field. While Levis eventually made the ground to pass Cancian he couldn’t get to Townsend who was setting smooth and constant lap times in his Lotus. Eventually a late race accident would see Magaitis put out of contention, handing a comfortable lead to Soole who had taken over from Townsend.
(Class B winner Nick Cancian)
Yet, it was not to be a class win for birthday boy Soole with the Lotus rolling to a stop at turn one after suffering gearbox issues minutes from the finish of the race. In a cruel twist of fate, Soole and Townsend would have won their class had the race time not been extended. “I actually thought the race was over, that’s why I let the car coast across the line. I lost all drive out of the last corner, but the hour time was up so I rolled down the straight looking for Cancian in the mirror and shouting come on! I really thought we had made it,” conveyed a dejected Soole back in the pits. Meanwhile, it was jubilation for Cancian who had battled his own issues throughout the event. “I didn’t think I had won the class, we thought we were a little way off really. I was just struggling with tyres out there, we couldn’t get stability and I was just trying to drive around it and get home” said Canican after the race.
(Class C winner Rob Hay comes through turn 10 on his way to victory in the hour endurance race)
The Class C battle eventually went the way of Rob Hay in another Mazda MX5. Holding off the pairing of Stannard and McGann who had entered a Porsche 944 in the Sydney round as the regular Porsche RSCS the pair usually share is still being repaired. While the decisive move for the class victory was made on lap 4 with Hay passing Stannard, the pair were never separated by more than seconds on track. “It was a great race, I really had a ball out there. We couldn’t quite catch Hay in the closing stages, but I still had a great time out there pushing hard,” enthused McGann.
Next the NSW Production Sports Car Championship heads to Goulburn’s Wakefield Park for the fifth round of the series. With a trio of sprint races on the billing we are sure to be treated to more great entertainment at the tight southern NSW circuit.
All the action from the fourth round will also feature on an episode of Blend Line TV in the coming weeks. Details of that broadcast will be announced closer to the air date.