The second round of Challenge Cup 2008 was held on IMCC’s freshly painted track located in Wollongong NSW, the same track where the annual Summer Nationals were contested several months ago. This year there was a massive 125 entries for a one day outdoor event, making this series one of the most popular among racers. There were 15 entries in the Modified Class.
I arrived at the track on Sunday morning with a similar starting setup to what I used at the recent Summer Nationals, with the exception of a few positive changes I have applied over the last few months. I knew that with the limited practice time available I wouldn’t have much time to get the car dialed but my first practice run was excellent, never have I driven a car with so much steering, I just made a small ackerman change and the car was perfect.
Qualifying is always extremely important on this track as the grid aims straight into a heavy braking corner. This year also a single file grid was being trialed and I aimed to get as close to the front as possible especially as I didn’t know what would happen with the new grid layout. A further change this year meant that qualifying positions would be determined on a combination of the two fastest runs opposed to a best single run.
Jake, Michael and I were trading positions for the lead from about the halfway mark onwards until my batteries started going soft with about two laps to go and then I dumped really badly for the last lap but still managed to crawl back to take third with Michael taking the win and Jake in second.
Basically same story again in the second qualifier except this time Michael dumped and finished fourth with Jake taking the win and myself in second place.
In this qualifier Jake held a comfortable lead throughout the race with Michael and I swapping for second place, but as I exited the first corner on my last lap the front belt skipped over and the car kept spinning on the spot and I found it difficult to finish the last ten meters of the lap and this cost me about six to eight seconds placing me third in this one.
End of qualifying positions – A Final :
1. Jake Zarb 2. Michael Clark – XRAY T2’008
3. Timothy Lee – XRAY T2’008
4. Brad Vercoe
5. Damien Zarb 6. Mark Wollin – XRAY T2’ 008
7. Craig McPhee – XRAY T2’007
8. Splitty Miller 9. Matt Ferguson – XRAY T2’008
10. Martin Choy
In the first final top qualifier Jake Zarb took the win with Michael Clark hitting the “flappers” on several corners which allowed me the opportunity to overtake into second spot.
The start was clean again and Jake and Michael were tussling for the lead with myself close in third until Michael and Jake came together on the straight allowing me through. I drove away from Michael until the closing laps until my batteries started dumping and allowing Michael to close right up on me but I drove a tight defensive line and held him off. Jake took the win, myself in second again with Michael tenths behind in third.
Jake elected to race the last leg and with the win guaranteed he decided to try a tire manufacturer change. The start was clean and I managed to pass Michael in the first couple of laps then Jake spun going through the carousel and I passed him. Jake recovered and was challenging me for second place with about two minutes to go and after many laps of nose to tail racing I allowed him through but in doing so I lost I some momentum and Michael slipped up the inside on the next corner. For the next few laps I pushed the car really hard to catch Michael but coming through the carousel I dropped the front inside wheel off onto the green infield paintwork and spun. For the rest of the race I drove conservatively to save battery power knowing that the result was already determined with Jake comfortably in the lead.
Final Positions – A Final :
1. Jake Zarb 2. Timothy Lee – XRAY T2’008
3. Michael Clark – XRAY T2’008
4. Damien Zarb
5. Brad Vercoe 6. Mark Wollin – XRAY T2’008
7. Craig McPhee – XRAY T2’007
8. Splitty Miller
9. Martin Choy 10. Matt Ferguson – XRAY T2’008
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank XRAY on behalf of myself and the rest of the Australian team for the awesome T2’008, the car truly is an engineering masterpiece and we have never been happier, keep up the good work XRAY.