23 Oct DIABOLICAL CONDITIONS NOT ENOUGH TO STOP APC BROUGHT TO YOU BY LIQUI MOLY RACERS
Torrential conditions throughout Sunday (23 October) at The Bend Motorsport Park were not enough to put a stop to racing for the Australian Production Cars brought to you by LIQUI MOLY, with the competitors choosing to persevere through heavy rain to complete 1.5 hours of racing.
The field was originally scheduled to complete two x one-hour races today, however the first race was delayed from 8.15am to 9.10am and then shortened to a 30-minute, no compulsory pit stop stanza following the first of a number of on-track action suspensions which were put in place today.
The category’s second race of the day, and its fourth for the weekend, was also rescheduled from 12.55pm to 1.40pm but this time was retained at its original one-hour length with a compulsory pit stop.
Both races were commenced under the safety car due to the conditions, with the field held for 12 minutes in race one and 11 minutes in race two before being let loose under green conditions despite continuing heavy rain – with many comments made on the exemplary driving standards displayed by the entirety of the field despite the exceptionally challenging conditions.
Taking out the round honours today were the #58 Go-Karts-Go BMW M3 of Drew, Aaren and Wayne Russell (outright and Class X), the #50 Hunter Pacific Ceiling Fans Mitsubishi Evo X of Jimmy Vernon and Dean Campbell (Class A1 and 3rd outright), the #64 Cachet Homes HSV Clubsport of Chris Lillis and Nathan Callaghan (Class A2 and 2nd outright), the #36 Grand Prix Mazda Caboolture Mazda 3 MPS of Jake Camilleri (Class C and 4th outright), the #39 LME Care/Gtechniq Ford Fiesta of Amar Sharma and Daniel Natoli (Class D, 8th outright) and the #70 T0A57D Motorsport Suzuki Swift of Allan Jarvis (Class E, 11th outright).
In the morning race, Aaren Russell in the #58 BMW M3 controlled the opening portion before being overtaken by Chris Lillis in the more weather-suited #64 HSV Clubsport after 11 minutes had elapsed, before going on to establish a commanding lead.
That lead would go wanting however, with Lillis coming unstuck when his engine cut out with just two minutes to go, seeing the HSV he shares with Nathan Callaghan fall to P4 from the lead, while maintaining the A2 class victory.
Dean Campbell, who had earlier passed Russell for second on the road aboard the #50 Evo X, pounced to take the outright and A1 win. Campbell’s result was an exceptionally emotional and well received victory, with it being the first outright national race win for Campbell and coming in a weekend where he was thrown a lifeline by the Jimmy Vernon Racing team to join his direct A1 championship rival Vernon as co-driver in the #50 when his #118 DA Campbell Transport Evo X was retired in practice one on Friday due to engine failure.
At the same time, Jake Camilleri in the class C winning #36 Mazda 3 MPS pulled off a last moment move under brakes on turn 17 to overtake Russell for second outright, leaving the #58 to take the Class X race win and third outright.
Allan Jarvis in the #70 Suzuki Swift claimed the Class E race win from 8th outright, while Class D was won by Amar Sharmar in the #39 Ford Fiesta he shares with Daniel Natoli from 10th outright.
The afternoon’s race saw the field under the control of Jimmy Vernon in the #50 under the safety car, however it was Jake Camilleri who would jump to the lead almost immediately at the commencement of green running with a number of aggressive moves in the nimble Mazda 3 MPS which is well known for excelling in wet conditions.
Vernon later reported he was struggling with confidence and grip in his tyres after choosing to run a slightly roaded set, and soon after yielding P1 to Camilleri, was passed by Aaren Russell (#58) and Nathan Callaghan (#64), with Callaghan then going on to pass Russell for P2 – all on the first green lap.
Paul Razum in the #41 Penrite/Boronia Towbars HSV VF meanwhile was in P5, chasing Vernon before a spectacular pirouette with 18 minutes elapsed, from which he was thankfully able to recover and re-join without coming to a stop or losing any positions.
When the CPS window opened, Razum would remain out on the track until 20 minutes remaining, controlling the race lead until re-joining from his stop in P4 behind Callaghan, Camilleri and Russell – with Callaghan having passed Camilleri for the race lead 10 minutes prior.
Camilleri was another experiencing a heart in mouth with an off-track excursion through the sweeper while in P2 with 6 and a half minutes remaining while pushing hard to catch Callaghan, which opened an opportunity for Russell to try and close the gap. However, it wouldn’t be enough, and Callaghan (A2) would win the race ahead of Camilleri (Class C) and Russell (X), with Vernon (A1) in P4 after passing Razum (P5 – A2) with two laps to go.
Class D was won by Amar Sharmar in the #39 Fiesta from P8. Allan Jarvis in the Class E #70 Suzuki Swift took no part in the fourth race due to having to leave the track before the rescheduled race start time. Regardless, he claimed the Class E round victory thanks to his earlier performances.
For comment from our outright and class winners, see below.
The fifth and final round of the 2022 APC brought to you by LIQUI MOLY season will be held at the Bathurst International event at Mount Panorama across November 11-13, featuring four x 30-minute races. For more information, visit www.ausprodcars.com.au or contact Troy Williams on email@example.com
QUOTEBOARD – SUNDAY 23 OCTOBER, ROUND 4 OF THE 2022 APC BROUGHT TO YOU BY LIQUI MOLY SEASON
Wayne Russell – #58 Go-Karts-Go BMW M3 he shares with his sons Drew Russell and Aaren Russell – round winner, outright and class X
“Today was especially bad weather-wise, but we came out of it okay. Overall, we were pretty blessed – we had two wins yesterday and two thirds today. In the wet weather this car is definitely not one of the best cars out there, it is what it is, and that is the good thing about the category, it is all swings and roundabouts. Heading to Bathurst, it is going to be about heading in with the same attitude we have had all season. The boys are obviously carrying me a little bit as they are faster than I am, but it all seems to work really well. The most important thing is that we are racing together and having a blast, which is the main reason we are doing this this year. I have to say, hats off to all of the drivers today, as the weather was very, very sketchy especially in the last race, but all the drivers did a fantastic job, they really did.”
Jimmy Vernon and Dean Campbell – #50 Hunter Pacific Ceiling Fans Mitsubishi Evo X – round winner, class A1
“This weekend was definitely not the norm, but it was really awesome to have Dean and his crew join us. He didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend, he looked after the car and got some great results, and assisted us with getting third outright for the round which well exceeded our expectations. I am so excited for Bathurst, and I am really glad it is only a few weeks away as I don’t think I could wait much longer! Hopefully we can all put on a great show and really show how strong this category can be! Finally, I want to give another shout out to Dean and his crew, it was a really fun weekend with them. If you had asked me on Thursday if we would both be holding the same trophy I would have laughed at you, but it has been a lot of fun. They are a really great crew and I think we have developed quite a good friendship.”
“On the third lap in practice one we had a major engine failure in the #118 DA Campbell Transport Evo X, and Jimmy – who is my direct rival in the A1 championship – came and asked me to join him as a co-driver to keep our championship alive. Obviously, that was very decent of him, and I am extremely grateful, and we had a first place outright win in the process! So, it has been very good. To get that outright national win was very emotional, it was my first national win after some state wins, so that was a monkey off my back also I guess, and I was quite emotional. It was great to get third outright for the round also. I have to send a massive thank you to Jimmy and his father for the offer, it is very humbling to have someone do that. I also want to thank Matt Cook, Lauren Cook and Chris Dwyer for all the unreal stuff they do for me. For Bathurst, we have to try and make sure our car is going to go for that first of all, but we have every intention of being at the final and in the battle for the championship.”
Chris Lillis – #64 Cachet Homes Holden HSV Clubsport he shares with Nathan Callaghan – round winner, class A2
“We decided to call this our home round, as we only have to drive 3,000k here from Perth and then 3,000k back, so it is a shorter trip,” Lillis laughed. “It was a great weekend for us. I had to really rely on Nathan because he did the practice and qualified the car because I had to fly back home Friday morning for my daughter’s year 12 graduation on Friday night, and then flew back to Melbourne Friday night and into Adelaide Saturday morning! So, I missed a fair bit of sleep, but it worked out well! We didn’t have our usual crew this weekend, but they were just as good with the pit stops and maintaining the car and they did a really great job. It was also once again just amazing to see how the Bilsteins can be tuned to make the Commodore faster in the wet like it is. Nathan did awesome especially in the last run. We are taking the car up to Sydney tomorrow and will leave it there ahead of Bathurst, I don’t know exactly where we are in the outright points, I don’t think we can beat the Russells, but we will be in for a outright podium for the year which would be great.”
Jake Camilleri – #36 Grand Prix Mazda Caboolture Mazda 3 MPS – round winner, class C
“This was the first time we have had this car at this track, even though I have raced here before. It was a little tricky for our car in the dry conditions and we had a fair bit of understeer which we were trying to dial out for most of Saturday. We were hoping for rain all weekend and then today we were lucky to get it. We had an awesome race this morning and then again in the afternoon after hanging around for a little while. I was getting close there at the end to Nathan and was starting to pull him back, but I had so much speed through the sweeper there and I ended up on the grass and had this humongous half-lose – I caught it and managed to carry on, so I was super happy after that to get second! It was good to have my father and my son here with me this weekend, and of course thanks to Graham my chief mechanic for all he does – the Mazda 3 MPS was faultless again. We will be at Bathurst, and we are looking good for the championship now, so we are really looking forward to it. We had a good run at the Six Hour there, so we are looking forward to heading back.”
Amar Sharma – #39 LME Care/Gtechniq Ford Fiesta he shares with Daniel Natoli – round winner, class D
“Our weekend didn’t start off very well, we were chasing the car pretty much all weekend with some electrical dramas, but we managed to get it all fixed in that last race and ended up having a ball. It was a mega effort from all of the guys, since we started the weekend with the car and trailer on its side on the way here, so really the whole crew was happy to just get out there and circulate to start as we didn’t think we would even make it to the weekend! The boys worked really hard and kept trying to fix everything they could, and we ended up fixing it for that last race and having a good result. We are feeling good for the finale at Bathurst, we are feeling pretty confident, and we want to try and see if we can actually secure the championship – I think it will be pretty tight at Bathurst, but I think we might be able to get it. Thank you to all of our team and our sponsors – see you all at Bathurst!”
Allan Jarvis – #70 T0A57ED Motorsport Suzuki Swift – round winner, Class E
“Unfortunately, because of where I live, I can’t get a late flight back and I have to be at work Monday morning, so it was disappointing that I had to miss the last race. The weekend was good though, it was my first time at The Bend, so I didn’t really have anything to go off, which meant I felt a bit less pressure this time as I hadn’t done any laps here before, so I wasn’t trying to break any personal bests or anything. This morning was definitely interesting, it was very wet and slippery, and we were doing really well, we were looking like we were going to finish 7th outright even, but I fell off a bit, but that was the worst of it. The car was great, it handles the wet really well and seems to do it better than some others – wet rounds are always fun for us! We will be at Bathurst – we are looking forward to getting there and having fun, it is always special to race there. In the meantime, thanks to my dad and Terry for coming along this weekend.”