New South Wales Production Touring Car Championship new-comer Daniel Oosthuizen has grabbed his second trophy race victory in succession – beating Dylan Thomas to the chequered flag in the final race of latest round of the series at Wakefield Park in Goulburn.
Thomas won the first two races, before Oosthuizen got the jump in the final race, and managed to hold the lead all the way to the chequered flag – fighting off challenges from the CXC Global Mitsubishi Evo on both sides of a mid-race Safety Car intervention.
It was the second sprint round of the season, with drivers fighting for championship points over three shorter races, as opposed to the endurance races we saw at Bathurst, and will see again when the series visits Goulburn for the second and final time in August.
Fine and sunny conditions greeted the teams and drivers on both days. Qualifying and Race 1 were held on Saturday.
Dylan Thomas, Barry Graham and Daniel Oosthuizen were the cars to watch in Qualifying, and they didn’t disappoint – going 1st, 5th and 2nd respectively in the 15-minute session.
Greg Symes and Anthony Soole ended the session in second and third respectively, and Steve Hodges was the best of the A2 cars in sixth.
Race 1 was contested over 14 laps, and it was Dylan Thomas who took the lead off the start, and cruised to an eleven second victory, from Daniel Oosthuizen and Barry Graham. Graham was the big mover – up two spots, while Greg Symes was the loser from the front bunch – falling from 3rd to 8th in that race. Anthony Soole and Steve Hodges rounded out the top five, but Hodges was pushed all the way by Matthew Holt, who finished 6th.
Race 2 delivered more of what we saw in Race 1. The first race of the Sunday program was run over 12 laps – 7 of which were spent behind the Safety Car as a result of an incident at Turn two, where Carly Black and Robert Coulthard ran wide, got bogged in the sand-trap, and were unable to resume.
Upon resumption, it was a 4 lap sprint to the chequered flag, in which Thomas was able to hold off Oosthuizen, and record his 2nd win of the weekend from the youngster.
Amazingly, in just 11 kilometres of racing, those two opened up a gap of 6 seconds to Anthony Soole who finished third, with Greg Symes bouncing back from a disappointing race 1 to finish fourth, ahead of Steve Hodges who rounded out the top five.
The win in Race 2 was Thomas’ fourth of the season, and whilst it wasn’t a flat-out race, it did give us a good indication that Oosthuizen had the speed to run with Thomas, which left us eagerly awaiting the start of the Trophy Race, and in what would prove to be a running theme at Goulburn for the remainder of the season, Thomas lost the start to his fellow CXC Mitsubishi Evo racer.
From there, we witnessed 16 laps of close, hard fought racing on the 2.2km circuit between the pair, but youth got the better of experience on this occasion, with Oosthuizen grabbing the win – his 2nd of the season, from Thomas. Thomas did lead at one point in the 16-lap sprint, but a Safety Car intervention enabled Oosthuizen to close the gap, pile on the pressure, and eventually get past the man who won the previous two races.
It was a small margin back to Greg Symes in third place, with Jacques Oosthuizen settling for fourth, and Anthony Soole winning Class B2 in fifth position.
Other Class winners included Brett Heeley in Class A2, narrowly beating home Matthew Holt. Chris Reeves claimed victory in Class D again, with James O’Donnell from GWS Motorsport winning Class C.
Elsewhere, it was disappointment for Steve Hodges, who could only managed a 19th place finish. Barry Graham conceded a 35-second post-race penalty, which saw him relegated from 5th to 16th position.
For Oosthuizen, his second win of the season, and like it was at Sydney Motorsport Park, it came with the final race of the weekend. Dylan Thomas was again very strong, and the class battles are shaping up very nicely, especially the battle between Brett Heeley, Steve Hodges and Mathew Holt in Class A2.
Now, the series enjoys a 2-month break before reconvening here in Goulburn for the next round of the series on August 22 and 23, which will see us return to endurance mode, for a 1-hour race on Sunday afternoon.
From all of us here, goodbye!