The second-half of the 2019 Racer Industries Queensland Touring Car Championship is – after an 8-week mid-season break – finally upon us.
Thirty-eight cars and drivers have entered the fourth round of the season, which will be staged at Queensland Raceway this Sunday.
This round was originally scheduled to be held at Lakeside Park, as part of the Lakeside Classic, but with that event cancelled, Queensland Raceways Willowbank venue will play host to the championship for the third time this year, but for the second time this year, the shorter configurations of the Queensland Raceway circuit will be used for this event.
The other significant change for this weekend, is the fact that, due to it being a one-day meeting, this round will be contested over only three races, instead of the usual four.
With one less race, there are just eleven remaining in the championship.
A maximum of 815 points are up for grabs in those 11 races, and with 215 of those on offer this Sunday, Round 4 could be a pivotal point of the season, particularly in Class A2, where the championship was blown wide open in the previous round.
In Class A1, Steve Hay holds a slender lead over Chris Sharples, after Brett Kennedy struck mechanical problems in the previous round, which saw him drop to fourth in the standings, behind Pierz Harrex, who’s been the big improver in 2019 thus far.
The other threat in Class A1 now is Bayley Hall, who was bumped up – from A2 – in the previous round, and you can guarantee the youngster will be determined to fight for outright race wins over the remaining three rounds.
Jason Lansdell and Chris Brown return to the grid for this round, while Peter Bray is also lining up in the outright class.
In Class A2, Bayley Hall’s promotion to A1, and Matthew Haak’s mechanical woes have blown this championship fight wide open, with Stuart Walker winning the previous round of the series, and inheriting the points lead as a result.
Mitchell Wooller sits second on points, just 52 shy of Walker, while the battle for the minor placings is well and truly on, with Gary Anger (401) and Lance Jurgeleit (381) fighting over third, and Matthew Haak and Richard Gresham sitting equal fifth, on 354 points.
After crashing out in the previous round, Michael Woodcroft is a notable absentee from this weekend’s 38-car field, while Chris Begg is a notable inclusion in the event – his first QTCC outing of 2019.
John Phoenix and Les Hanifin will contest their first full round in Class A2 this time out, having been bumped up from Class B mid-way through the previous round.
Speaking of Class B, the battle between John Swarbrooke and Mark Giorgio will continue, with the shorter circuits expected to favour the BMW on Sunday.
It’s a really tight tussle for title supremacy in Class B, with just 84 points separating the top five coming into this round, and with a race win worth 75 points, teams enter this weekend fully aware of how vitally important it is to finish every race, in order to stay in title contention.
For the first time this season, Shannon Cane won’t be the only female racer on the grid, with Maddison Crowe making her QTCC debut, in Class B.
Sunday’s event will be the first time in 2019 that we’ve seen the QTCC run a split-grid format, in which Class B runs separate to Classes A1 and A2.
The event format and structure is the same for all three classes, but Class B races will be run after Class A races.
An all-in 15-minute practice session will commence the program, from 8:30am on Sunday, before Qualifying, Race 1 and Race 3 are conducted on the Clubman Circuit, and Race 2 is run on the Sprint Circuit – all races will be 15 laps.
Championship Points | After Round 3 of 6
|Class A1||Class A2||Class B|
|1st Steve Hay 554||1st Stuart Walker 490||1st Mark Giorgio 494|
|2nd Chris Sharples 523||2nd Mitch Woller 438||2nd John Swarbrooke 478|
|3rd Pierz Harrex 448||3rd Gary Anger 401||3rd Chris Holdt 446|
|4th Brett Kennedy 434||4th Lance Jurgeleit 381||4th Steve Harper 411|
|5th Bayley Hall 296||5th Matthew Haak 354||5th Andrew Knight 410|
The Racer Industries Queensland Touring Car Championship is proudly sponsored by: Conduit Bends and Fittings, Andrew Knight Electrical Contracting, Tyre Busters (Kunda Park), Bribie Auto Repairs, Slushie Heaven, SP Automotive Engineering, Western Suburbs Mechanical, Brisbane Collision Centre, Hano’s Car Care, Track Camera’s Australia, Prestige Stripes & Signs, LJ Hooker (Caboolture) and Cetnaj.