Six categories feature in 25-race program at Queensland Raceway this weekend.
Annual HQ and Gemini Showdown Ready to take Centre Stage.
The HQ Holden Queensland Championship is back at Queensland Raceway this weekend, for the headline event of their 2018 season – the annual HQ v Gemini one-hour race.
For some HQ competitors, this will be their final hit-out before they head to Phillip Island for the nationals next month.
This weekend is round four of the 2018 championship – the second of three visits to Queensland Raceway this season, and the last time the series will visit the Ipswich venue before the championship will be decided on the opening weekend of November.
The last round of the series – also held at Queensland Raceway, was dominated by the Andriske duo – Scott and Joe – who won three of the four races between them.
Scott Andriske leads this championship, and is the man to beat, having won six of the eleven races run so far in 2018. He scored victory in the opening race of the previous round, and then doubled up in race three.
Prior to that last round, Joe Andriske hadn’t yet contested a race in the 2018 championship, but it was no surprise to anyone, that he slotted back in at the very front of the field – winning the second race of the round.
Ben Simpson claimed his first win of the season in the final race of the round, ahead of Brandon Madden, who also features on the winners list at the half-way point of the season.
This weekend, Madden will co-drive with John Carter, while Brad Schomberg will team up with Ben Simpson.
The 2017 national champion, Brett Osborn, has made the long trek up from New South Wales, to race this weekend, and will team-up with John Baxter in Sunday’s race.
This weekend, no less than three female competitors will feature in the event, with Kandice Walker teaming up with Natalie Wright in one of the two Geminis entered in the event, and Jasmine Schomberg competing in a HQ, co-driving with QMSO official, Kenn Smith.
Last year, this race, the HQ v Gemini one-hour, was won by Joe Andriske, who’ll be out to go back-to-back this weekend.
It’s a big on-track schedule for the category this weekend. On Saturday, all competitors will get their chance to qualifying, with main drivers taking to the circuit in the ‘Driver A’ session, and co-drivers heading out in the ‘Driver B’ session. In the afternoon, there’ll also be two eight-lap sprint races – one for each driver.
Fun Fact: Current Supercars Championship leader, Scott McLaughlin, finished 8th in this race, way back in 2009, driving alongside Jason Hore, running in a Gemini
All Systems GO for second-half of 2018 Excel Cup Season.
For the third time in five weeks, the Track Attack Australia Excel Cup will be in action, when round five is staged at Queensland Raceway this weekend.
While this round is the official start of the second-half of the season, it’s also the last round before a two-month mid-season break, before the championship resumes in September.
Last time out, the trend of one driver winning Saturday races, and another winning Sunday races continued, when Daniel Peasey scored victory in the opening two races of the weekend, and Scott Green claiming the final two – taking him to five wins in the sixteen races held so far in 2018.
Green leads the race to record the most wins (by a driver) this season, but after the opening day of the previous round, Daniel Peasey was sharing that top spot with him.
Peasey scored his second and third win of the season at ‘2 Days of Thunder’, becoming the fifth multiple race winner of the season in the process, but on the Sunday, Green had top spot to himself again, when he, firstly, won race 3, and later doubled up, by taking out race 4 as well.
Despite their winning record, neither driver leads the championship at the half-way mark. That honour belongs to Brett Parish, who holds a 23-point lead at the top of the standings, ahead of Green and Peasey, who was also the round winner last time out.
For Parish, despite a challenging opening round, consistency has been the key to his success – he’s finished all sixteen races, won a race in the second round and even claimed a pole position last time out.
Darren Whittington has slipped to fourth in the standings, following a difficult outing in round four, that saw him fail to finish one race, after contact with team-mate Robert Buckley.
The tight turnaround has taken its toll on a few competitors, with only 26 expected to take to the grid this weekend. It says something about the growth of the series, when that is the smallest grid of 2018 thus far.
Defending series champion, Cam Wilson, who scored twenty-one race wins last season is still serving his 90-day suspension. He sat out a fortnight ago, and will miss this round, before returning to the grid when round six rolls around in September.
Elsewhere, while he is entered, Tyrone Gautier will sit out the opening two races of the round, as he continues to serve a 3-race suspension, that started with the last race of the previous round a fortnight ago. Gautier would’ve missed that final race anyway, as his gearbox let go earlier that day.
As usual, this round will be played out over four races – two 10-lap affairs, and two 12-lap encounters, but it all starts with an all-important qualifying session on Saturday morning, and once it’s all over, many drivers and teams will have close to ten weeks to regroup, in readiness for the critical final three rounds of the season.
2018 Race Winners
Also on-track this weekend, the latest round of the Queensland Superkart Championship, in a round where the paddock will pay tribute to former Queensland Superkart Club President, Ashley Zahl, who passed away recently.
25 karts will take to the circuit in a five-race program.
The Queensland Production Sports Championship returns, with Steve McFadden looking to repeat the success he enjoyed here in May, but he can expect stiff competition from Graham Lusty and Wayne Hennig.
They headline a 17-car field, in which Tim Janke will lead the Mazda MX5 charge, while Dylan Cothill will fly the flag for Toyota.
Improved Production return to QR for the first time since the start of May. Jason Clements will be the man to beat, after claiming a clean-sweep in the last outing at Lakeside Park.
Five different manufacturers are represented in the thirteen-car field this weekend. Kyle Organ-Moore returns to the grid after missing the Lakeside round, as does Ashley Isarasena.
Finally, Dave Barram will be out to claim yet another clean-sweep in the latest round of the Queensland Sportscar Championship.
Chris Purvis will miss this round, after his car blew-up in spectacular fashion, in the last outing at Lakeside Park, and that means that the normal fight for the final spot on the podium should become the fight for second.
The sixteen-car field is a mixed bag of cars, as it features competitors from the Queensland Formula Ford championship, as well as the Formula 3 entry of Jason Hore.
Unfortunately, the Australian Trans-Am Series was supposed to hold round 4 of their 2018 championship, but the category has been forced to postpone this round, due to a lack of entries.
The next round of the championship will now be at the Lakeside Classic in August, and instead of the season ending at the Lakeside 300 in September, they’ll now feature on the schedule at the Ipswich Classic, on the opening weekend of November, after organisers were successful in rescheduling this round of the series.
Plenty to look forward to this weekend. On-track action commences with Qualifying from 8:30am this morning, with racing to commence straight after. Tomorrow morning, racing will resume from 8:30am.