QTCC Racing is set to return to QR on the 15th of August 2020!

Haak victorious at Lakeside in A1 debut.
Championship defining season opener for many drivers.

2020 Racer Industries Queensland Touring Car Championship | Round 1
Report by Zak Caban.

For the first time since September, the Racer Industries Queensland Touring Car Championship went racing at Lakeside Park.
In total, thirty-three competitors entered this event, but only thirty remained by the time Qualifying commenced on Saturday morning, and the attrition didn’t end there.

In the Group A Qualifying session, 2016 champion Steve Hay suffered a monumental engine failure, which saw his VK Big Banger replica go up in smoke.
Initially, the team suspected that an oil line may have let go, but upon further inspection, back at their workshop, they discovered it was a far bigger problem, and Hay would take no further part in the weekend.

The session was stopped, while officials cleaned up the circuit. Upon resumption, no one was able to match the time that Hay set down in the early part of the session – a 56.9151 – so, while he won’t pocket any championship points from this round, he’s still credited with the first pole position of the 2020 season.

Matthew Haak spent the off-season upgrading his Holden Commodore, in preparation for the step up, from A2 to A1, for this season, and was rewarded instantly – qualifying second fastest, and inheriting pole position, following Steve Hay’s withdrawal.
Defending champion Chris Sharples was third fastest, ahead of 2019 runner-up Piers Harrex, while Chris Brown rounded out the top five.

In Group A2, the defending champion Stuart Walker clocked the fastest time, ahead of Rob Droder and Peter Bray, in a Commodore lock-out of the top three. John Swarbrooke’s BMW was fourth, ahead of Chris Begg, in a brand new BMW V8 – a notable upgrade from his trusty E92 M3.

In Group B qualifying, held separately to the A1 and A2 session, it was another newcomer, in Dave Hinton, who claimed pole, in his Toyota Corolla – it came after Mark Giorgio and Mark Hyde were promoted to Group A2, after breaking out, on multiple occasions, in the 15-minute qualifying session.

Scott Kelly was second fastest, ahead of Gerard O’Flynn, Andrew Knight and Paul Bonaccorso.

The opening race of the Group A season was an absolute belter, with Matthew Haak getting the better of Chris Sharples, in a classic 12-lap scrap. Haak grabbed the early lead, and Sharples was unable to find a way through, sticking within a couple of car lengths for the duration.

There was one rather hairy moment for the pair, when they closed in on Maddison Crowe and Cameron Haak – Matthew’s brother – to put a lap on the A2 pair, who were engaged in a battle of their own.
When they ended up side-by-side, it presented Sharples with an opportunity to pounce. Matthew Haak went through the middle of his brother and Maddison Crowe, while Sharples tried to go around all three of them, even putting the wheel on the car’s left-hand side in the grass along the main straight, in a bid to take the race lead. As spectacular as the four-wide action was, down the main straight, it didn’t work to Sharples’ advantage, as Matthew Haak maintained the lead, and Sharples lost the slightest bit of ground, but how they all got through that unscathed, only they’ll know.

Third place went to Chris Brown, ahead of Piers Harrex and Dean McMahon.

Unfortunately, the mechanical woes continued into a new season or Shannon Cane, as a gearbox issue put pay to her weekend. Such a blow for the 19-year old, who posted the tenth quickest time in the combined Group A qualifying session, and spent much of summer trying to nut out the mechanical gremlins that have plagued her for the last two years.

The A2 battle was superb as well. Rob Droder got the better of the start, taking the lead away from Stuart Walker, and that’s how it stayed – Walker was unable to find a way past his Commodore compatriot, and settled for second.
In third, it was Mark Giorgio, who was a wildcard entry for this round, in a Ford Falcon owned by Alwyn Bishop. Giorgio was bumped from Group B, into A2, at the completion of qualifying, and then punched out his quickest ever laps of the 2.41km venue, en-route to that third place finish in Race 1, and was thirteen seconds ahead of rest of the pack.

In the opening Group B race of the weekend, Dave Hinton was unchallenged on his way to victory, ahead of Scott Kelly’s BMW 318is, and the Holden Commodore of Gerard O’Flynn.

The second Group A race of the year will go down as a huge talking point for the remainder of the season. We talk about championship defining moments, that play a part in the overall outcome of the campaign, and this was certainly one of them.
Unfortunately, the race was stopped when Chris Sharples smashed the wall at turn 4 – just before the old bridge. While Sharples was visibly shaken by what had just occurred, he walked away from the car without any injuries. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the car, with the team taking to social media on Sunday morning, declaring it a write-off, and all but ruling themselves out for the rest of the season, and bringing a very premature end to their championship defense.

Upon resumption, Piers Harrex was forced into retirement, after he and the team couldn’t get the car to re-start – it was a fuel vapor issue that caused that problem.

On-track, with Hay, Sharples, Harrex and also Chris Brown out of business, it was a fight for survival in Group A1, and there’d prove to be a sting in the tail for Matthew Haak, as he ran out of fuel on the last lap of the race. That saw Dean McMahon come through, to claim his first win in the Queensland Touring Car Championship, in a Holden Monaro that has given him nothing but grief over the last twelve months – it would appear as though he’s got the mechanical gremlins sorted in 2020.

Haak limped to the line, to finish second in class, as Rob Droder came through to finish second outright, and take Group A2 honours, ahead of Stuart Walker once again.
Walker held the lead, in that battle, until the race suspension, but Droder got the better launch off the restart, to get himself ahead of Walker, and that’s where he stayed. Third home in Group A2 was Michael Woodcroft, in the Holden Torana – a welcome return to racing, after rebuilding the car, following an incident at Queensland Raceway last season.

With on-track incidents delaying the program, the second Group B race was pushed back to 9:30am (Local Time) on Sunday morning.

Once again, Dave Hinton was the man to beat, but he faced a stiff fight from Scott Kelly, who got to within half-a-second of taking victory away from the Toyota driver, but it wasn’t to be. Hinton went two from two, ahead of Kelly and Andrew Knight, who recovered from a first race retirement, to get the better of Gerard O’Flynn, in the battle for the final spot on the podium.

Dave Hinton’s Group B success was short-lived, as category officials promoted him to Group A2 for the rest of the program, and with the field somewhat depleted, they also decided to combine the two fields for the remainder of the day.

In the absence of Chris Sharples, Dean McMahon took up the fight to Matthew Haak, as Monaro and Commodore went toe-to-toe, in the fight for outright supremacy.
It was another cracking scrap for the race win, which saw McMahon lead for 75% of the 12-lap encounter, until Haak forced his way by on lap 10, in a battle that was again affected by lapped traffic, and for the second day in a row, it was to Haak’s advantage, and he went on to secure his second win of the weekend, ahead of McMahon, while Chris Brown worked his way through the field, after failing to finish the second race, to take the final spot on the A1 podium.
Just ahead of Brown, Rob Droder and Stuart Walker were again engaged in a duel for Group A2 victory, and again it went the way of Rob Droder.
For the second race in succession, Michael Woodcroft was the best of the rest within Group A2.

In Group B, Andrew Knight claimed his first win of the season, ahead of Scott Kelly and Lance Jurgeleit.

As there was a gap in the program, left by the combination of the QTCC field, QTCC officials offered their drivers the option of holding a non-points race, and while there was initial enthusiasm for it on Sunday morning, by the time the teams had reached the end of Race 4, that enthusiasm had dwindled, and the scheduled non-points race didn’t proceed, bringing an early end to the on-track program.

After Race 3, Scott Kelly also found himself being promoted to Group A2, for the final race of the weekend.

In that final race, again over 12 laps, it was more of the same from Matthew Haak. Last year, he won the opening round of the A2 championship, and with his third win of the weekend, he secured Round 1 honours in the A1 title fight of 2020.

Dean McMahon was a really close second, in what was another very tight race between the pair, while Chris Brown was a distant third.
Haak led every lap of that race, but not without McMahon desperately searching for a way past – again showcasing exactly how difficult overtaking on this circuit can be.

In Class A2, it was a clean-sweep for Rob Droder, and you could argue that it was won at the start – four times he beat Stuart Walker off the line, and four times he was first to the chequered flag.
Walker was only nine-tenths of a second away at the end, while Michael Woodcroft completed a successful return to the series, by taking the final spot on the podium – his third 3rd place finish of the weekend. It didn’t come without a fight though, with ‘Pommy John’ Swarbrooke hunting him down – the BMW driver was only eight-tenths of a second away, from a surprise podium finish.

In Class B, it was another win to Andrew Knight, who was well clear of Lance Jurgeleit, who, of course, wasn’t running his usual BMW, that we’ve seen in Class A2 in recent years – it’s getting some TLC, with an engine rebuild occurring, before Lance hopes to have it back on the grid towards the end of the season – instead, he was driving a car that he’ll be contesting the Morgan Park 24 Hours of Lemons event in, later this year.

Third place went to Paul Bonaccorso – in what was a really good showing from the Ford Falcon XE, right across the weekend.

Racer Industries Queensland Touring Car Championship
Group A1
Pole Position: Steve Hay (56.9151)
Race 1: 1st Matthew Haak, 2nd Christopher Sharples, 3rd Chris Brown
Race 2: 1st Dean McMahon, 2nd Matthew Haak
Race 3: 1st Matthew Haak, 2nd Dean McMahon, 3rd Chris Brown
Race 4: 1st Matthew Haak, 2nd Dean McMahon, 3rd Chris Brown
Fastest Lap: Christopher Sharples – 56.9735 (Race 2 – Lap 5)

Group A2
Pole Position: Stuart Walker (59.3719)
Race 1: 1st Rob Droder, 2nd Stuart Walker, 3rd Mark Giorgio
Race 2: 1st Rob Droder, 2nd Stuart Walker, 3rd Michael Woodcroft
Race 3: 1st Rob Droder, 2nd Stuart Walker, 3rd Michael Woodcroft
Race 4: 1st Rob Droder, 2nd Stuart Walker, 3rd Michael Woodcroft

Group B
Pole Position: Dave Hinton (1:02.2410)
Race 1: 1st Dave Hinton, 2nd Scott Kelly, 3rd Gerard O’Flynn
Race 2: 1st Dave Hinton, 2nd Scott Kelly, 3rd Gerard O’Flynn
Race 3: 1st Andrew Knight, 2nd Scott Kelly, 3rd Lance Jurgeleit
Race 4: 1st Andrew Knight, 2nd Lance Jurgeleit, 3rd Paul Bonaccorso

Championship Points






Matthew Haak




Dean McMahon




Rob Droder




Stuart Walker




Michael Woodcroft



Calendar Update.

The 2020 Lakeside Tribute was the last Motorsport event staged in Queensland prior to the unprecedented shutdown, brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, a revised championship schedule was released in June.
The series was originally scheduled to be contested over six rounds, but now there’ll only be five.

The other significant change is that the remaining four rounds will be single-day events, as opposed to the two-day format we’ve become accustomed to.

Queensland Raceway will host Rounds 2, 4 and 5, while Lakeside Park will play host to Round 3.

It promises to be a very hectic end to the campaign for the teams and drivers, with just 56 days (8 weeks) separating the resumption and the end of the 2020 season.

The champion will be crowned on Saturday, October 10.

Revised 2020 Queensland Touring Car Championship Calendar





Saturday, August 15

Queensland Raceway


Saturday, September 12

Lakeside Park


Sunday, September 27

Queensland Raceway


Saturday, October 10

Lakeside Park

The 2020 Queensland Touring Car Championship is proudly sponsored by: Racer Industries, Brisbane Collision Centre, FiFotos, Prestige Stripes & Signs, Andrew Knight Electrical Contracting, SVO Transport & Towing, TyreBusters, Western Suburbs Mechanical, Swarly Road Construction, Uniglide, Hullys Automotive, Hyqual Australia, and Pacific Motorgroup.

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