Round 5 & 6 Review - QR double delivers records galore

The double-header weekend, that incorporated Rounds 5 AND 6 of the Brisbane Collision Centre Queensland Touring Car Championship was one for the record books.

- 4 new round winners, across the three championship classes.
- 3 new race winners added to the season tally, across the three groups.
- 2 clean sweeps in Group C – something we hadn’t seen all season.

It was a strange, challenging and busy weekend for the competitors of the Brisbane Collision Centre Queensland Touring Car Championship, who headed to Queensland for two championship rounds in as many days – a first for the category.

Originally scheduled to be a one-day meeting, and just one championship round, circuit management expanded the event to two days, to accommodate categories put out by the cancellation of the Australian Motor Racing Series event, but that left the QTCC committee with a problem, as not all competitors could commit to a two-day meeting.

The compromise, was to run two one-day events, following exactly the same racing format, but there was a catch to that premise, as it meant Drivers would have to drop their worst round of the pair, and take only their best points haul forward to the final round of the season.

It was the first time since 2019 where a drop round system was part of the equation.

What was disappointing, is that an originally planned four-race schedule was trimmed, and we were back to the same format we saw in Round 1, with a qualifying session to be followed by THREE races.

It meant that we had just ten races left in the 2021 season, of which, technically speaking, only seven would count towards the championship standings.

That meant, instead of 4000 points still being up for grabs, just a maximum of 3500 were still up for grabs.

Unlike previous visits to Queensland Raceway, the race schedule lacked any form of variation, with all six races – three on Saturday, three on Sunday – to be run on the national circuit, over just EIGHT laps.
Understandably, the BMW drivers weren’t overly thrilled about that news, but the Holden brigade was

Twenty-seven drivers took to the track on Saturday morning, for a 10-minute qualifying session, where Chris Brown recorded his third consecutive pole position, and his fourth of the season.

Stuart Walker was next best, but the margin was a staggering 1.1927 seconds. It’s fair to say that Brown’s Commodore was on rails, and he’d clearly got on top of the issues he had in the previous round, where the power steering had let go, as had the clutch.

Matthew Haak was third best, ahead of Lee Gravolin, and the returning Saxon Moyes. It’d been three months since we last saw Moyes in action, but, at long last, the BMW was back running, but they weren’t breathing a sigh of relief just yet, knowing they still had a full weekend of racing to get through.

In Group B, the points leader, Gary Anger, claimed his first pole of the season, but broke out in the process. The time was a 1:20.8768, but category management showed some discretion here, as Anger was on new tyres, and was on the absolute limit. It was obvious that he wouldn’t in any danger of breaking out once the tyres started to wear.

Peter Bray was best of the rest – his best qualifying performance of the season, while Rob Droder, Shannon Cane and Simon Winters made up the top five.

Droder was back in his car, after running in Jordan Walker’s Holden Commodore at Lakeside, and it appeared as though he’d finally got on top of the issues he’d been experience since Round 2, back in May.

In Group C, it was strange had it played out, because a debutant took pole, but category rules state that debutants must start from the rear of the field in their first race.

Hudson James, a Rod Dawson prodigy, in his first tin-top race meeting ever, put his name on the map, by clocking a 1:25.0648, a time that was 0.7770 faster than Matthew Devitt, who was marginally ahead of Samuel Allen, Luke Beveridge and Andrew Knight.

What was even more astonishing about that, was that second to fifth were separated by less (+0.4027) than the difference between first and second – again just highlighting how close and competitive things have been in Group C so far this season.

So, James is credited with the fastest time, but Devitt gets pole, as he was the first Group C competitor on the starting grid, for the opening race of the day.

Speaking of that opening race, it was aggressive from the start, and ended up being one of the more action packed, and entertaining races of the season, across all three groups… maybe the shorter race distance was the reason for the increased intensity?

From pole, Chris Brown took the early lead, but it was on in earnest behind him, as Stuart Walker, Matthew Haak and Lee Gravolin went to war.
Walker got hung out to dry in turn 1, allowing Haak to take second, but that was short-lived, as Walker hung tough around the outside, to claim the position back through turn two, and then Lee Gravolin wanted to have a crack at Haak on the run down the back straight, and made it stick, resulting in Haak dropping from second to fourth, in the space of half a lap.

Gravolin then made his way by Walker, to slot into second, at the end of the opening lap.

It wasn’t until the second-half of the race, that the defending champion would make his move. He made light work of Walker on Lap 5, and then found his way by Gravolin on the very next lap, and the latter found himself back in fourth shortly afterwards, when Stuart Walker displaced him from third.

From there, Haak would leave them in his wake, to secure second place, as there was just no catching Chris Brown, who cruised to his eighth consecutive win, and his fourth at QR in 2021.
The winning margin was 3.6017, but then it was a big gap back to Lee Gravolin, who came home third, ahead of Saxon Moyes and Robert Bellinger, who was rather lonely out there, in the absence of his sparring partner, Gary Lange.

Afterwards, Gravolin highlighted that he’d started to lose power, which explained why he had to nurse the car home, and ended up some 14.7129 seconds behind Haak at the end.

Unfortunately for Stuart Walker, for the second race in a row, the car got to the last lap, and then failed, resulting in another retirement for the Round 1 and 3 winner, and the cause was a flat tyre.

Walker dropped a bombshell afterwards, revealing that his weekend was done, and probably his season as well.
Walker also highlighted that he wouldn’t be a regular fixture in 2022, opting to spend more time helping his daughter with her racing aspirations.

Meanwhile, in Group B, Les Hanifin missed the last round, due to mechanical issues that troubled the Hano’s Car Care Commodore in Round 3, and he was a victim of the tight turnaround, but it lit a fire in the belly of the 67-year old, who returned to the grid in a big way, by WINNING the opening race of the day.

Hano started sixth in class – fourteenth outright – and by Lap 4, he was third, having got by Shannon Cane (Lap 2), Peter Bray (Lap 3) and then Gary Anger and Simon Winters on the same lap.

That put him second, with just Rob Droder ahead, and Hano wasted no time in mowing down the #62, to take the lead away on the very last lap, to notch up his first Group B win of the season.

In Group C, Hudson James tore through the pack, to sit second in behind Samuel Allen, who took up front running, after a shocker of a start from Matthew Devitt, which saw the Team Schnitzel entry drop to fourth, in behind his team-mate, Andrew Knight.
James was second in class by Lap 5, after he made his way by Luke Beveridge, and the chase for Samuel Allen was on.

Whichever way it fell, we were adding a new name to the Group C winners list.

Late in the piece, the Group C leaders had to contend with the Group B BMW of Nathan Marks, who was trying to weave his way up the field, after a poor qualifying effort saw him starting down in 26th position, but thankfully his presence didn’t impact the race outcome.

In the end, in a drag race to the line, Samuel Allen notched up his first win in the Brisbane Collision Centre Queensland Touring Car Championship, by 0.2592, over the debutant, who put everyone on notice, in the space of three hours.

Post-race, Cameron Haak put his car on the trailer, and he was done for the day. He described the #11 as a “basket case to drive”, and the wheel alignment was out, so he was off to the workshop, to get it fixed, in a bid to be back on track the next morning, with all bets now hedged on Round 6, in his bid to maintain second in the championship.

Race 2 of Round 5, minus Cameron Haak and Stuart Walker, saw 25 cars take to the track, and 25 come home – only the third time that’s happened all season.
While it wasn’t as intense as the opening race, the closing stages proved to be just as entertaining.

The field wasn’t formed up terribly well, but the starter released them anyway, and Chris Brown took the early lead, not unexpectedly, ahead of Haak and Gravolin.

Saxon Moyes had settled into fourth spot, ahead of Les Hanifin, who got by Robert Bellinger on the opening lap, only for Bellinger to get back into fifth outright on the very next lap.

While Brown was steady at the front of the field, not coming under any sort of pressure, it was a race-long battle for second, between the championship leader and Lee Gravolin.

In the end, it was a ninth consecutive win for Chris Brown, clawing his way back into the championship fight. While Matthew Haak may be, by his own admission, a bridge too far, this winning streak, along with the shortcomings of Cameron Haak and Stuart Walker, is paving the way for Brown to reach as high as second, by the end of the 2021 campaign.

Second went to Haak, over Gravolin, while Saxon Moyes was well back in fourth, not showcasing the sort of pace we saw at Lakeside, way back in Round 1, where he kept Matthew Haak and Stuart Walker rather honest, but Moyes was just happy to be back out racing.

In Group B, Les Hanifin had the save of the season, on the very last corner of the race.
Leading, but under intense pressure from Simon Winters, Hano got crossed up going through the last corner, was wide of the exit, and ended up in the dirt, having an enormous tank-slapper moment.

He can thank his handy reflexes for the fact that he was able to save himself from having a complete spin, but the moment did cost him another race win, as Simon Winters breezed by, to take the chequered flag.

Hano got back onto the track, and just crossed the line – to secure second – before Rob Droder managed to catch him. Afterwards, Hano revealed that the reason for the mishap was a power-steering failure, as it does cut in and out intermittently.

In Group C, it was a double-up performance from Samuel Allen, as he secured his second win of the day. He was pushed all the way by Hudson James, but withstood the pressure, and won by 0.7922.

Matthew Devitt was within striking distance of the top two at the end, but had to settle for third, and that was enough for him to be the championship leader, as his team-mate, and title combatant, Andrew Knight finished fourth, while Luke Beveridge rounded out the top five.

Final race of the round produced more drama, but ended short of the scheduled race distance.

Sadly, Gary Anger and Daley Martin were non-starters, and that had potential championship implications for Anger, depending upon how Rob Droder ended up, and what Gary could salvage in Round 6, before the drop round comes into effect.

At the front of the field, it was more of the same from Chris Brown, who just built his buffer early, and maintained it. Lee Gravolin tried to go with the two-time champion early on, but eventually fell off the back of the #50, and into the clutches of Matthew Haak.

Further back, Les Hanifin started from the rear of the field, through no wrong doing of his own, and not due to a penalty of any sort either.
In short, his Commodore just wouldn’t start, when he went to kick it over – something Hano put down to the very short turnaround, between races 2 and 3 – which left him arriving in the marshalling area as the field was heading on to the race track.

Hano had fun working his way through the field, but it wasn’t without a bit of biffo. At the end of lap 1, Matthew Devitt got into the side of the Commodore, giving Hano his second tank-slapper of the day, but thankfully, he was able to keep control of it, and press on, or else turn 6 may have become a parking lot, as Hano was right on the racing line.

Things settled down after that, until lap 5, where things really heated up in Group C, as Hudson James took the lead away from Samuel Allen, but his moment of glory was short-lived, when Allen put one on him, around the outside, through ‘snake gully’ (turns 4 and 5).
They were under serious pressure from Andrew Knight and Paul Bonaccorso, who wanted a piece of the action, but were sadly denied, because the race was neutralised.

The race went into clampdown following a brake failure for Nathan Marks, on approach to turn three – the worst time to have it, the fastest point of the 3.12km circuit – and while he tried to avoid contact with the cars around, he caught Peter Bray, on his way through, before the BMW came to a grinding halt, in the turn three gravel trap.

Marks’ car suffered substantial damage, but thankfully, both he and Peter Bray walked away OK.

The recovery took quite some time, so race control opted to cut this race short of its scheduled distance.
Once upon a time, they’d extend the race if necessary, to compensate the racing time lost under clampdown, and to ensure that the races finish under green, but not anymore.

So, the race was cut short, in an anti-climactic conclusion to Round 5.

It meant that Chris Brown had ten race wins on the trot, his second round win of the season, and his second clean-sweep.
Behind Brown came Lee Gravolin and Matthew Haak, ahead of Saxon Moyes and Robert Bellinger.

In Group B, it was a win for Simon Winters – his second of the day – ahead of Rob Droder and Shannon Cane, while Les Hanifin managed to salvage fourth, after the gremlins at the start.

In Group C, a clean-sweep for Samuel Allen, but only just, as he only got back into the race lead seconds before the race was neutralised.

Second went to Hudson James, ahead of Andrew Knight, Paul Bonaccorso and Matthew Devitt.


With Round 5 in the books, some drivers opted out of Round 6, because they couldn’t better what they’d achieved in the opening round of the weekend, while, for some, their hand was forced, due to the events of Saturday.

After his exit in Race 3, Nathan Marks was an immediate withdrawal from the rest of the weekend – he would take no further part, given the hefty repair job ahead of him, in a bid to get the BMW back on the grid later in the season.

As for Peter Bray, while he also walked away from the incident OK, he too put the car on the trailer, because whilst the Commodore only suffered minor damage, it wasn’t going to be an overnight repair job.

Bray was sitting third in the Group B points race, coming into this round, and his first retirement of the season could prove to be a costly one, given the way Simon Winters is finishing the season.

Split fuel tanks were a common occurrence throughout the weekend, and shortly after Race 3, Group C round winner, Samuel Allen, found a split in his tank, and ruled himself out of Round 6.

Whilst it was a frustrating situation for number crunches, having a drop round format really benefited several competitors within the paddock.

John Swarbrooke and Shannon Cane both opted out of Round 6. Swarbrooke battled a slipping clutch all the way through Round 5, while the team at Shannon Cane Racing were happy with the haul of points they were walking away with, and given she isn’t in championship contention, and the trouble that car has given the team in the past, they aired on the side of caution, and parked up for the weekend.

Elsewhere, we saw a driver swap for Team Vosolo, as Ettore jumped out of his BMW, and Alessandro jumped in. Of course, the latter’s car still being repaired, after that heavy shunt at Lakeside, last time out.

Daley Martin had two issues on the opening day. The first was a broken belt, and the second was a split fuel tank… yes, another one.
Martin tried to fix the fuel tank, but he failed a scrutineering check, therefore was unable to contest Round 6, and was left to watch on from the sideline.

Qualifying, for the second leg of the double-header, saw us left with a field of 21 – 6 fewer than what we saw in Round 5 – but it also saw Chris Brown continue his qualifying dominance.
The man, that had won the last ten races on the trot, went out and claimed his fifth pole position of the season.
If you thought the margin was staggering 24 hours earlier, the gap this time around was astonishing, as he was 1.561 seconds clear of Matthew Haak, while Saxon Moyes got the better of Lee Gravolin, in the fight for the inside of the second row, by 0.1795.

Robert Bellinger was fifth in class, but sixth outright, as Simon Winters claimed fifth outright, and another pole in Group B, but, just as we saw with Gary Anger in round 5, Winters broke out enroute to pole, with a 1:20.9367 – 0.0633 under the Group B cut-off.

Once again, category management took no further action, as it was another case of fresh rubber resulting in the faster time.

Behind Winters came Les Hanifin, Rob Droder and Gary Anger, while Murray Reilly was fifth in class.

Not long before the qualifying session, Les Hanifin was talking down his qualifying form, citing that he normally warms up as the day progresses, and races better than he qualifies, so no one was as impressed, or as surprised as him, with his 1:21.5127.

In Group C, it was another pole for Hudson James, but this time round, he got to keep it, and that was even despite breaking out by a mere 0.0086.
Just as was the case on Day 1, Matthew Devitt was second fastest, but Andrew Knight was third on this occasion – two places higher up the order than he was 24 hours earlier.

Race 1 hadn’t even got underway before Saxon Moyes made his way back into pit-lane, and he was out of business, not just for the race, but the day as well.
Post-race, he revealed that the oil pressure was through the roof, and the engine was misfiring, so he had little choice, but to park it.

At the front, Chris Brown took the early lead, cleared out, and didn’t look back. In eight laps, he put 6.1854 seconds between him and the pack, to notch up his 12th win of the season, and his 11th on the trot.

Brown had complained earlier about worn tyres, but it didn’t seem to affect him. That said, worn tyres is often a talking point, among many competitors in this paddock, on any given weekend.

To be fair, Brown was the only person in the field who couldn’t improve his points haul for the weekend, as he’d already claimed the full bag of 1500 in Round 5.

Behind him, in a race that lacked the same sort of intensity we saw 24 hours earlier, Lee Gravolin got the better of Matthew Haak, by 1.815 seconds, in the battle for the minor places on the podium.

In the absence of Saxon Moyes, Robert Bellinger claimed fourth, ahead of Cameron Haak, who had a much better start than he did the day before.

In Group B, it was another first race win for Les Hanifin, who led from start to finish, as far as that group was concerned. He fended off a late challenge from Rob Droder, who got to within six-tenths of a second at the chequered flag.

Gary Anger was third, ahead of Murray Reilly, who clocked a swag of personal best lap times along the way, while Simon Winters was an uncharacteristic fifth, after ending up in the grass, at turn 4, early on, after locking it up. He fought back through the field rather well, all things considered.

In Group C, Hudson James was first across the line, by a staggering 9.5599 seconds, but it was the shortest lived victory in QTCC history, as he broke into the 1:24 bracket on several occasions during that race – while chasing the Group B car of Simon Winters, it’s important to note – so, he was promoted to Group B IMMEDIATELY.

With James out of the picture, Alessandro Vosolo was credited with the win – his second of the season – ahead of Matthew Devitt, Andrew Knight and Luke Beveridge.

In Race 2, one of the great streaks in QTCC history came to an end, when Chris Brown retired from the race.
It was lap five, he was leading – as per usual – and then the car lost fuel pressure, which forced him into retirement, and he’d be a non-starter in race three as well.

As Brown said, it wasn’t worth risking it, as the damage was done the day before, and there’s nine weeks between this, and the final round, in order to get the car sorted, ready to fire on Grand Final weekend!

Right as Brown was limping into retirement, Simon Winters pulled into the pits as well, and it was his first retirement since back in Round 2. Winters lost all drive – a drive shaft failure – but, it was something he could fix, in order to be back on the grid for the final race of the weekend.

With Brown’s demise, Mr Consistent – the defending champion – Matthew Haak took over the lead of the race, ahead of Lee Gravolin, and that’s how it stayed.
For all the statistics Haak has racked up this season, that was only his second race win. Again, it’s been his consistency, and reliability, that’s seen him build up the lead he has in the championship, which stretches beyond 1000 points – a full two races!

Gravolin was second, ahead of Robert Bellinger, in what was fast becoming a case of survival of the fittest. Bellinger hasn’t had anyone to race with all weekend, so he’s been a relatively quiet achiever, despite the drama unfolding around him.

In Group B, Les Hanifin was looking the goods for his second win of the day, until some overheating caused a fuel surge problem, that saw his lead evaporate, and he was left to bring it home in third place, behind Rob Droder and Gary Anger, who saved their best until the very last in that race.
In a photo finish, Droder pipped Anger, by one ten-thousandth of a second.

Anger led the battle – which was for second in class – for the opening five laps, before Droder got by, and then they had to contend with the ailing Les Hanifin Holden on the final lap, but they manage to navigate that, and as far as finishing margins are concerned, it doesn’t get ANY tighter than that.

For Droder, it was only his fourth race win of the season – first at QR – and the first in his car since March. Of course, he snared one win, while borrowing Jordan Walker’s car, for the fourth round of the championship, at Lakeside Park.

In Group C, Alessandro Vosolo stormed to a 2.523 second win over Paul Bonaccorso, who took it to the Team Schnitzel brigade in similar fashion to what we saw in Round 2, when he won two of the four races.
Devitt was third, over four seconds clear of Andrew Knight, while Luke Beveridge rounded out the top five.

For race three, the field had shrunk to sixteen, with Cameron Haak missing, along with Chris Brown, Nick Linton and Luke Beveridge.
Cameron Haak broke a steering rack on the last lap of the second race.

In another championship defining moment, Gary Anger was also a non-starter, but only after completing the sighting lap.
He was complaining about some oil pressure issues before that race, but the engine – which had copped a flogging, to steal Anger’s wording, all weekend – begged for mercy, so Anger parked it before the race even got underway.

That wasn’t the end of the drama though. From the outset, Lee Gravolin forced the issue with Matthew Haak, and got by the championship leader, around the outside at turn two, to lead the field down the back straight for the first time.

Haak then had a HUGE lock-up on the run into turn four, but gathered it up without losing any track position.

On lap 5, something we haven’t seen all season, as Matthew Haak pulled up on the side of the road, with a blown engine.
As he wasn’t too far off the road, on the outside of turn two, the race was neutralised, so the car could be retrieved.
It was Haak’s first retirement of the season, and, as he put it, “It was fun while it lasted”.

He later said that he didn’t really have to run Round 6, and that he was wary of the fact that the car wasn’t 100%, but he’s also the beneficiary of the fact that he can drop that round, and now has nine weeks to diagnose any problems, and prepare the #1 car for championship weekend, as he goes about securing back-to-back titles.

Haak’s retirement gifted victory to Lee Gravolin, who did it comfortably, leading home Robert Bellinger, by 14.7915 seconds.
As they were the last two standing, Gravolin secured his first round win, while Bellinger finished the round in second, to record his second podium finish of the season, to go with the third he snagged at Lakeside Park, in Round 4.

In Group B, Les Hanifin wasted no time in finding his way back to the front, getting by Rob Droder at the end of the second lap. From there, Hano was the beneficiary of team-mate Matthew Haak’s demise, as it put Hano third outright, while Droder fell back to third in group, thanks to a hard-charging Simon Winters.
Hano kept it clean, and pointing in the right direction, and was rewarded with his second win of the day, third of the weekend, and his first round win as well.
Simon Winters was second home, on an otherwise disappointing day out, while Rob Droder came home third, and continue to close the gap to Gary Anger in the points race.
In fact, it was a big weekend for Droder on that front, as he put himself firmly back in contention, which is just extraordinary given how much he battled through Rounds 2, 3 and 4.

Murray Reilly was fourth home in Group B, but given the race 2 retirement for Winters, and Gary Anger not starting that third race, fourth was enough for Murray Reilly to secure third for the round, in Group B.
For Reilly, it’s his second podium finish of the season, after he was third in Group C way back in the opening round of the 2021 championship, at Lakeside Park.
While he isn’t featuring prominently in Group B just yet, the best is yet to come, for a competitor still in his first season of QTCC racing.

In Group C, it was a hat-trick of wins for Alessandro Vosolo, but it didn’t get this one as easily as the previous two. He was just 1.4596 seconds clear of Paul Bonaccorso in the end, as the Falcon driver secured another round podium finish.
It was a quiet day for the Team Schnitzel stable, as Andrew Knight missed out on a podium finish, despite finishing third in that final race, just ahead of Matthew Devitt, who ended up being third, on points, for the round.

Due to the smaller fields on Sunday, and the way the points matrix works, in the Brisbane Collision Centre Queensland Touring Car Championship, Group C drivers, who finished all three races on Sunday, benefited greatly in the championship stakes, taking a larger than usual haul of points away from this weekend of racing at QR, as Saturday’s scores were scrapped in most cases.


As far as the championship is concerned, the great news is ALL THREE CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE STILL ALIVE.
Matthew Haak is best placed, with a 1040-point advantage over Chris Brown, who now sits second, after a shocking weekend for Cameron Haak.
Put simply, if Matthew finishes ahead of Cameron, in the opening race of the final round, Cameron will be mathematically out of title contention, but it’s already considered a long shot.

In Group B, a huge swing of momentum sees Gary Anger’s advantage shrink to just 113 points over Rob Droder, while Simon Winters and Peter Bray will duke it out for third, as Winters is now just 196 points adrift of Bray, following the latter’s retirement in Race 3 of Round 5.

Peter Bray trails Gary Anger by just 609 points, so it’s not inconceivable, that if mechanical drama was to strike Anger and Droder again, Bray, with a clean weekend, and four finishes, could give them a fright.

In Group C, you just can’t write scripts like this, as Andrew Knight and Matthew Devitt are split by just EIGHT points, heading into the final four races of the season.

Group C will be won by Team Schnitzel, but which driver is lifting that trophy is still to be determined.


A fascinating weekend… certainly one for the record books, but there are a few wounded warriors after that busy weekend at the office.

The next round is on October 23, back at Queensland Raceway, where the curtain will come down on this extraordinary season, and when champions will be crowned. It all hinges on the final four races of the season… we look forward to your company in late October.

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