18 Jun NASH MORRIS HAS BREAKTHROUGH WIN AS RUGGIER/SMOLLEN WIN ROUND
Monochrome GT4 Australia newcomer Nash Morris broke through for a first win in the category at Sydney Motorsport Park this afternoon, while Justin Ruggier and Shane Smollen were celebrated as the round winners.
Morris’ race four win in the #19 Daimler Trucks Brisbane Mercedes AMG Gt he was sharing with Mark Griffith this weekend broke a winning streak for the #56 Prestige Connex Porsche Cayman of Ruggier and Smollen, who won the three previous races this weekend after clean-sweeping round one.
Morris and Griffith were awarded second for the round, while Steven Jukes claimed third overall in the #26 Verv Racing BMW F82 M4.
The first race for the Monochrome GT4 racers today and the third for the weekend overall was brought to a premature close when an extensive track clean-up was required due to oil between turns 6 to 8.
When the red flags flew, bringing the field to a stop on the pit straight, the track was already under safety car conditions following contact between the #140 Monochrome GT4 Australia Mercedes AMG GT of Karl Begg and Paul Morris (driven by Morris) and the #27 Sherrin Racing BMW M4 of Mobil 1 APC competitor, Grant Sherrin.
The Mercedes had to be retrieved by a tilt tray with heavy front damage after coming into contact with the #27 while they were side by side, with Sherrin on the outside. After making contact with the BMW, the Mercedes speared into the wall, while Sherrin spun on the grass but was able to recover to bring the car back around to the pit lane to retire from the race. No penalties were handed down by race control, and neither car would return to the track for race four due to the damage sustained.
While it was hoped that this race would resume with around 10 minutes of running on the clock, race control ultimately decided to declare the race due to the clean-up time required for the oil on the track.
Ruggier and Smollen were celebrated as the winners of race three, with Morris second and Tony Quinn (#101 Queensland Raceways Porsche Cayman) in third.
Jukes was fourth for GT4 from 12th overall in the combined GT4 Australia and APC results, after having a spin at the mid-point of the race before dealing with a ‘doughy’ feeling from the engine and a lack of power.
Renee Gracie was strong early in the #181 OnlyFans Ginetta G55 despite some electrical issues which have plagued her across the weekend, however, was ultimately forced to retire from the race when after coming into the pit lane for the compulsory pit stop, her Ginetta stalled and would not restart.
In race two, Morris drove an impressive race to build a strong lead over Ruggier to take the race win, with Ruggier in second and Jukes in third. Gracie drove an impressive race to move from the rear of the grid through to fourth in the combined grid and fourth for GT4. Quinn did not start the race due to a scheduling conflict.
QUOTEBOARD: ROUND TWO – MONOCHROME GT4 AUSTRALIA – SYDNEY MOTORSPORT PARK, JUNE 16-18, 2023
Justin Ruggier – round winner with Shane Smollen in the #56 Prestige Connex Porsche Cayman
“When I saw a car parked up out of turn two in that last race, I was hoping there would be a safety car so it could be on like Donkey Kong (in the battle with Nash) but it wasn’t to be. We tried our heart out with our strategy and everything and our tyre sets, and it (our results) is credit to Shane and Autohaus Hamilton and the whole crew. It is pretty cool to be part of the GT4 Australia series and pretty really cool to come away with the round win as well. I have learned a lot from Shane and the whole team this weekend and credit to Shane for being so quick. We will reevaluate and come out swinging for the next one!”’
Nash Morris – race four winner, and second for the round with Mark Griffith in the #19 Daimler Trucks Brisbane Mercedes AMG GT
“It wasn’t easy out there, with all the different classes and all the cars making speed in different areas it is quite intricate to navigate through traffic. I want to say a big thank you to Griffo for letting me drive his car this weekend – he is a great bloke, and we need more people like him in motorsport. So, thanks to him. He is probably one of the best ‘quote unquote’ AM drivers out there and it has been pretty great to have him as my codriver or me as his codriver, if you know what I mean. I didn’t really know how far Justin was behind me in that last race and I didn’t want to blow a tyre out or something while having a big lead, so I tried to set a good few ones (lap times) at the end there to see what the thing had, and it was good fun. It is great.”
Steve Jukes – third for the round in the #26 Verv Racing BMW F82 M4
“It was nice to come back from 11th in the last race. I had a bit of trouble in the second race, but we were nice and fast, and it is so great to finish off this way. A big thank you to the crew and hello to everyone back at home, it was just a great weekend. We were just conserving the tyres (in the last race) and making sure we knew where we wanted to be and the times we wanted to run. Great job to 1 and 2, they have been great all weekend and I have no complaints.”
The next round for the Monochrome GT4 Australia field will be held at Queensland Raceway across the 11th to the 13th of August. Entries are open now for rounds three through six at www.ausprodcars.com.au. For further information about Monochrome GT4 Australia and the Mobil 1 Australian Production Cars, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ausprodcars.com.au
Photos thanks to Speed Shots Photography