Video: Touring Car Masters from the Gold Coast 600
The final race of the debut round for the Touring Car Masters on the Gold Coast, and again the concrete canyon would both bring happiness and heartache, biting hard before the first turn for some and great success for others.
As the lights went green, Abelnica made another great start moving to the inside to split Bullas and Karanfilovski, as Sparks slid into the weekend’s final 12 laps, and out front it was Bowe with not an ounce of wheelspin, a flying start seeing him affirm his place at the helm.
Before the first turn, the race action showed just how harsh the tight street circuits can be, McAlister and Gary O’Brien, the cars coming together on the run past pit exit. It was looking like the Class B leaders would be out, McAlister wedged on the wall but O’Brien able to continue on, rejoining the pack under safety car.
Once the debris was cleared from the tarmac, it was green again and Bowe was gone from the green while Abelnica was all over the Richards Sprint. There was a freight train of muscle cars all pushing to take up the battle at the helm, Miedecke sliding out of the chicane to move under Karanfilovski under brakes and secure fifth. Richards was pushing hard and closing in on Bowe up ahead, but eyes were on Wyhoon who stepped the bright orange #83 Falcon wide through turn 11.
The action continued with the top ten dancing through the chicane, Wyhoon was all over Kassulke, going to the inside through the hairpin before clipping the wall and dragging the GTHO back to pit lane after a promising weekend. Abelnica on the other hand was guiding a rocket ship, the XB Coupe flying to post a new lap record of a 1:20.3476 on lap five.
Richards and Bowe were well into a battle for the lead, Richards having made the ground back to the Mustang, finding a gap under through Falken Corner, with the top five now running under record times, the strain showing on the racer’s faces.
O’Brien had made his way back through the Porsche’s, hunting Sparks as he looked to regain lost time. Miedecke was taking it to the bullet XB, exiting the hairpin sideways, the pressure was on. With the race called early, it was soon the final lap for the masters, Richards with maximum commitment to hold off the Bowe charge, posting his fastest lap of the race to take the chequered flag.
With Richards’ win moving him to second in the standings, a hard fought second gave Bowe the round win and kept his hold at the top of the leader board, while Miedecke’s unlucky weekend sees him fall to third. O’Brien had made a last lap move under Sparks to ensure he tied on points with Talbot for the class win, Talbot taking the honours to make it two class wins from three starts this year. In Class A it was all class from Sparks to secure the class race and round win, her weekend of ups and downs setting her back in the class lead.
A battle of attrition once more, but the Touring Car Masters had again shown the intense commitment of its drivers and teams, the damage across the category evidence of the harsh reality that is the concrete canyons and the outstanding level of competition that is the masters of muscle cars, the class battles all sure to continue and go down to the wire this season.
“It is good to win the round.
“I had a good, solid performance. If you have a good first race then you’re trying to minimise the impact of the rev cuts and I guess in the last race we paid the price for going well in the first couple.
“The car was good all weekend, it didn’t miss a beat, and considering it’s the heaviest car in the field, that’s a big effort and the guys at Savy Motorsport have it right no matter where we go.
“To come away from hre with a straight car is terrific. It’s a track where you pay the price for a small mistake so it’s a great achievement to come back clean and to take the win at the first event here.”
Class C/Round results
“I’m pretty happy, we got through it all in the end after the early scare.
“The car wasn’t performing very well at first, but it went pretty well, the car ran really well and was always reliable.
“After not having driven the car since Darwin, it’s been good and next up will be Sandown, my home track and I like it there.”
G O’Brien 178
“Happy to be getting a grip on the car this soon.
“It’s a new car on a new track, and after a bad start we finished well and were fortunate with the results.
“I’m looking forward to the next round and taking the class battle down to the wire.”
Series points, overall post Round 6