ROUND 4 - JULY 8 - SYDNEY MOTORSPORT PARK - REPORT
Written by Riccardo Benvenuti.
2023 MSA Industrie Clothing NSW Supersports returned to Sydney Motorsport Park to resume their Championship. A solid field of 17 cars entered. The format would be as per usual; one qualifying session and 3 races throughout one day. The only difference would be that the last race was to be run under lights.
The conditions were of a typical Winter Sydney Day, sunny and cold. Qualifying was a one-sided affair with Alex Kenny in the Nova claiming pole position a whole 3 seconds faster than the 2nd fastest car of Justin Tigani. Sergio Pires and Mark Brame shared the second row. Jonathon Canavan and Simon Arthur occupied row 3. Stephen Champion was 7th, Warwick Morris, Terry Knowles and Steven Shiels rounded off the top 10.
Alex Kenny made the best start building a gap immediately. As the field rounded turn 2, it became messy. Pires tagged Brame causing the latter to spin. Just behind them Morris and Knowles touched, also causing both to spin. Neil Kenny slowed to a stop to take avoiding action. Once the dust settled and the rest of the pack raced on, there was 3 cars facing the wrong way and another car trying to engage 1st gear to get going. The biggest loser was Knowles in his Green radical, parking his car on the grass infield to retire.
This mishap caused the field to spread, Alex Kenny was comfortable in front, from Tigani, a recovering Pires, Canavan and Arthur. Unfortunately, Arthur retired after 2 laps while he was running in 5th position. The following lap the leader hit trouble, and after 2 pitstops he eventually retired. The race settled down and by mid-race the order was Tigani from Pires and Canavan. The biggest mover was Aaron Lee, he qualified in a lowly 15th position and was making his way through the field. A combination of speed and capitalising the misfortunes of the ones in front, he found himself in 4th outright by lap 5.
The closest dice in the race was between Pires and Canavan, both cars were separated by less than a second through out the race. Eventually Canavan made a great move and went past. The result was Tigani 1st, Canavan 2nd and Pires 3rd. Lee drove brilliantly to finish 4th and Champion stayed out of trouble to finish 5th.
Alex Kenny jumped in his father’s car for race 2 and would be starting from the back of the grid. The hope for a clean start to race 2 soon evaporated, within a few second of the start the outside of the turn became a parking lot. Marcel Zalloua, Stephen Champion and Paul Royal found themselves parked on the outfield. Zalloua and Royal eventually got going only to retire, Champion was stuck, and the safety car was deployed.
It took a little while to clean up the mess and pick up the stricken car, and once the race went green it would be a 3-lap sprint. Canavan made the best restart from Lee and Pires. Alex Kenny was super-fast and coming through the field. By the 5th lap he was already in 2nd place and just a few laps later he had claimed the lead. The unfortunate Paul Palmer retired, and he would be one of 7 drivers with DNF’s next to their name. The previous race winner: Tigani would be one of them as well. The most dramatic retirement was Steven Shiels, coming to grief after a collision with Morris.
This race of attrition was also marred by penalties handed out. The result was Kenny 1st, Canavan 2nd and Lee 3rd. Pires and Brame rounded off the top 5. Post race Canavan and Lee were give a penalty of 15 seconds each. The final order was Kenny 1st, Pires 2nd and Brame 3rd.
The third and final race was run under light, in very cold and windy conditions. Only 13 cars gridded up with the notable omission of Alex Kenny. Tigani made the best start from Canavan and Steve Roberts. In the bustle of the start Pires spun, he rejoined in last position a long way back. Tigani and Canavan had a great battle for the lead swapping positions multiple times. Brame and Arthur also had a great tussle during the race. Battle groups were forming everywhere. Steve Roberts with Paul Palmer, Knowles and Pires, Shiels and Morris.
With no retirements the race evolved nicely with some enthusiastic dices and great overtaking moves. Pires was making his way through the field after his previous mishap. In the lead, Tigani had too much speed for Canavan and started pulling away. At the end Tigani won with a comfortable margin from Canavan and Brame. Arthur finished in 4th and Pires overtook 8 drivers to finish 5th. Knowles was in 6th position finish ahead of Lee. Morris, Shiels and Champion round off the top 10.