Huge QTCC Field Assembled for QTCC Finale
Kent’s Title to Lose, As Curtain Comes Down on 2018 Season.
After five rounds and twenty races, across two circuits, it all comes down to one final weekend of racing, to determine the champions in the Racer Industries Queensland Touring Car Championship for 2018.
The Ipswich Classic, at Queensland Raceway, will be the scene of championship weekend, and what a fascinating weekend it promises to be - Four races, 300 points on offer, and all three classes still up for grabs.
Mark Hyde, the current Class B point’s leader, will MISS this round, meaning the point’s scenario just became all the more interesting. Hyde enjoys a 281-point lead over Leo Graae, who is the only man that can stop him from claiming the title, as he is the only one within 300 points of the Ford Escort driver. It’s not an impossible task, but it’s still a long shot for the BMW pilot, who would need to record a near-perfect weekend if he is to cause a sting in the tail.
Just 53 points separate John Phoenix in third, and Andrew Knight in fifth, so the battle for the Class B championship minor placings will be well worth keeping an eye on this weekend.
In Class A2, the last two rounds of the series have thrown the title chase heavily in the favour of Stuart Walker, who enters the finale 158 points clear of his nearest rival, and the man he’s spent much of the season jockeying for position with, Gary Anger.
While the commodore battle has been the talking point of the Class A2 season, it’s the race for the minor placings that will capture everyone’s attention this weekend, as just 107 separates second (Gary Anger) and fifth (Adam Pye) with just four races to go, so it’s incredibly likely that we’ll see some positional changes by the end of the weekend.
Class A1 has been the focus of much of our attention throughout season 2018, and it’s likely to remain that way on
Grand Final weekend, as the battle for honours here is well and truly alive.
Just 53 points separate the current series leader, Murray Kent, and the 2016 champion, Steve Hay.
In the last round of the series, at Lakeside Park, Hay scored three wins to Kent’s zero, and narrowed Kent’s advantage by no less than sixty-two points, in what was the only round of the season so far where Kent hasn’t claimed a race win.
While Hay has ten race wins so far in 2018, to Kent’s nine, the points leader has finished every race, and with the exception of the second outing in the previous round, he has done so inside the top three – which is the main reason why he enjoys that buffer at the top of the table.
Consistency has been the cornerstone of Kent’s season, and it will again be the key factor this weekend.
Steve Hay needs to beat Kent in all four races if he is any chance of reclaiming the #1, which he last secured in 2016, but even if he does, Kent would secure the title with four second, or third place finishes.
After claiming his first race win of the season last time out, Ashley Hooper will be looking to complete a consistent season this weekend. He has already secured third place in the points standings, but is only 118 points away from Steve Hay, so if things were to go badly for the 2016 champion, Hooper remains an outside chance of claiming second.
Title battles aside, this promises to be a fascinating weekend of racing, as the series visits Ipswich for the first time since ‘2 Days of Thunder’ in June, and they’re ending 2018 on a high, with no less than 35 entries for the event that will lead into a four-month summer break for teams and drivers.
Both Simon Harrex and Shannon Cane will compete at QR for the first time in this campaign – Cane has had a season of mechanical dramas that have plagued her progress, but the team seem to be on top of it, finally, after a successful outing in the previous round at Lakeside, where the 17-year old finished fourth in the final race of the weekend, that was conducted in diabolical conditions.
As for Simon Harrex, he’s been a standout performer since joining the series at the Lakeside Classic, and scored his first QTCC win during the Lakeside 300 round. Amazingly, after only starting eight of the twenty races, Harrex sits twelfth in the points standings, just 63 points off tenth-placed Peter Jolly.
A strong outing at QR could see Harrex finish the season inside the top ten.
Four races remain, three winners will be crowned, after two days of racing, and it all commences with one final allimportant Qualifying session, first thing Saturday morning.
The Racers Industries Queensland Touring Car Championship finale for 2018 is set to go!