Shannons SpeedSeries: AWC Race Tasmania - Round 2 Wrap Up
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Shannons SpeedSeries: AWC Race Tasmania - Round 2 Wrap Up

By Shannons - 19 March 2024

Photos: Speedshots Photography | Motorsport Australia

The AWC Race Tasmania event took place March 16 – 17 at Symmons Plains Raceway, the host for Round 2 of the Shannons SpeedSeries.

Categories in competition included the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series, Trico Trans Am Australia, Precision National Sports Sedans, ACL Circuit Racing Hyundai Excels and Sparco Tassie Tin Tops.

If you missed any of the weekend’s action from Symmons Plains, remember you can relive all races on demand via the 7plus streaming platform.

Round 3 of the Shannons SpeedSeries is just under a month away, heading to the picturesque Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit the weekend of April 12-14.

TCR Australia Series

Australian-based Englishman Tom Oliphant emerged victorious from Round 2 of TCR Australia, the Hyundai i30N TCR racer successfully overcoming drama both off and on the track at Symmons Plains Raceway.

Tony D’Alberto was an immediate threat early in the weekend, carrying his strong pace from Practice through to qualifying enabling him to claim pole position.

The Honda Civic driver went on to win a chaotic and shortened Race 1, the 2022 TCR Champion leading home defending TCR Champion, Josh Buchan and Zac Soutar following a Red Flag, race restart and ensuing Safety Car.

On Sunday morning, however, Garry Rogers Motorsport protested the Race 1 result, a Motorsport Australia hearing finding in favour of GRM and scrubbing the opening race results altogether.

This sparked unrest amongst the TCR competitors, especially D’Alberto.

D’Alberto elected to sit out the final race in lieu of the stewards’ decision. With reverse grid Race 2 points the only paying result for the weekend, D’Alberto was effectively stripped of his pole position and would have left him starting from P7 instead.

The final race of the weekend saw a heated exchange among most competitors. Following five lead changes, Oliphant proved too strong for his rivals to claim race and round victory. His teammate, Buchan, wasn’t as fortunate after an altercation saw him spearing off track and lucky to escape with little to no damage.

Jordan Cox and Dylan O’Keefe completed the podium.

Soutar sits at the top of the points tally after two rounds of TCR Australia, with Ben Bargwanna and Jordan Cox sharing P2 just a single point behind the privateer Audi driver.

Trans Am Australia Series

A pair of victories on Sunday scored Supercars ace, James Golding, victory in Round 2 of the Trans Am Series at AWC Race Tasmania.

Golding made a steady start to his weekend with P7 in qualifying, while Jordan Boys and Trans Am Australia returnee Nathan Herne shared the front row, the latter’s first competitive outing in Australia since competing in the US Trans Am Series in 2023.

Boys converted pole position into twin wins on Saturday, battling it out with Elliot Barbour and Elliot Cleary en-route to victory. Golding made steady ground to finish P3 by the conclusion of Saturday’s Trans Am races, while a deflating tyre forced Herne into the pits and out of contention for podium.

In an odd occurrence, multiple incidents triggered small grass fires around the dry Symmons Plains circuit, causing a pause in racing for fire crews to extinguish the flames.

Boys was on track to claim Race 3 in the lead, before a mechanical drama saw his Mustang stuck in gear and slipped behind Barbour and Golding. The latter held off Barbour to win the race by 0.5s, with Todd Hazelwood home in P3.

Golding was in the box seat to claim Race 4 with a slim lead over Barbour, however his position was galvanised when a late Safety Car interrupted the race due to Tim Slade stopping at Turn 5.

Golding followed the Safety Car across the finish line, with Barbour taking P2 and Boys recovering to beat Hazelwood to the final step of the podium.

Despite an up and down weekend, Round 1 winner James Moffat retains his lead in the 2024 Trans Am points standings, five-points ahead of Boys. Golding sits third.

Sports Sedans

Peter Ingram utterly dominated Round 1 of the National Sports Sedans Championship, taking three wins from three starts in his menacing turbocharged rotary carbon fibre clad Mazda RX-7.

The New South Welshman had the pace advantage around the tight 2.4km Symmons Plains Raceway, easily beating home second placed Geoff Taunton (Ford Mustang) and local hero Kim Barwick (Nissan Skyline) for round honours.

Steven Tamasi had his weekend performance hampered by a Turn 1 incident in Race 2, contact in the rear from the Nissan 180SX of Ben Purtell saw Tamasi spin and was lucky his Holden Calibra wasn't collected by oncoming traffic.

Taunton too was caught in the opening lap incident, losing his front clip and the Turn 1 incident triggering a Safety Car.

The final race saw a great battle for P2 between Taunton and Barwick, who couldn’t keep up with the impressive RX-7 of Ingram.

Tamasi was recovering well to be P3, however his progress toward P2 was halted by a Safety Car which controlled the field until the finish. Mark Duggan was suffering a troublesome race in his Aston Martin, completing his weekend in the gravel trap at the hairpin.

Hyundai Excels & Tassie Tin Tops

Jeremy Bennett claimed overall round honours in the Hyundai Excels after a weekend-long battle with Oliver Wickham. The pair traded blows throughout the weekend’s five races, however Bennett’s three victories from five competitive outings and consistency put him nine-points clear of Wickham.

Jackson Shaw also featured in the lead battle, eventually settling for P3 for the weekend ahead of Lachie Dalton.

Local racer Benjamin Newman comfortably secured round victory in the Tassie Tin Tops behind the wheel of his Mercedes AMG GT4, snatching two wins from four races to edge out Charles Williscroft driving a Pontiac Grand Prix Stock Car.

Brett Champ capped off his weekend in third.

It was beyond doubt that Craig Sheahen was the quickest driver in his Nissan Skyline GTR, however luck was not on his side at Symmons Plains. Getting the GTR out of the paddock and on track for the final race of the weekend, Sheahen started from the back of the grid, storming through the entire field to win, comfortably ahead of eventual round winner, Newman.