A track that has so much history was the seven for round 7 of the iRacing official main SOF V8 Supercar race at Oran Park. A track that can be remembered as far back as 1971 where Bob Jane had the tracks maiden win in a Camaro. The 2015 brand of V8 Supercars bought with them their own challenges, and none so more than the very welcomed return of one of the leading V8Supercar drivers in Jarrad Filsell for ANZ Motorsports.
Ian Ford stated at the start “You just can’t afford to lose your rhythm here”. A change to the V8 supercars this week, with the quicker times on what was a shorter track, the drivers were able to get more chances to get that ever elusive pole position during the 12 minutes qualifying period.
Eventually though, it was a previous series winner, Richard Hamstead taking the pole position with a 1:05.047, narrowly holding out the returning Filsell and series leader, Ethan Grigg – Gault for the top 3. Multiple Pole winner, Ian Ford struggled to fourth place in front of an improving Aaron Hamilton in the Maverick Welding Commodore in fifth place on the grid.
With track temperatures at 40 degrees, the large field of 24 drivers upped the revs as the lights cane on. Upon the green however, Hamstead bogged down on the line where Filsell was able to immediately be past the TTL number one car even prior to the entry of turn 1.
The field came through relatively unscathed without too much drama. In what must have seemed like a sprint race for some and a marathon for others the field quickly set their pecking order throughout. Filsell never truly able to pull away from Hamstead was subtle and skilful in the ways of ensuring Hamstead wouldn’t be able to gain position, whilst behind the pair, SDC Motorsports Ethan Grigg-Gault and Evolution Racing Australia’s Ian Ford were holding station in their relative positions without interruption. Lap times by the four lead drivers were consistently fast, however, the pressure throughout was able to be maintained.
In the main pack of the field there was some tight racing with the SDC car of James McKnight, Aaron Hamilton and Corey Preston. In what is a tight track with limited opportunities patience was the key to maintain pressure to the car in front of you. The Dayco machine with Sam Sutton got himself involved
Beau Cattell in the SSR Falcon after what was an unusual qualifying position down in the field, continued his struggle in the race. Lap 14 saw him make his entry to the pits where he was to retire. Later it would be ascertained that the multiple race winner was suffering from sickness where another quick pit stop was needed in a smaller room of his home that would take him a long time to recover from!
With the Championship battle still open, series leader, Ethan Grigg – Gault was capitalising on what would be a steady point’s haul in third place, strengthening even more the grip he has on the title at this stage.
An incident involving the Whey of Life car of James Keene at turn 12, Recaro Corner bought excitement to the race. Unluckily for Keene, the Holden Commodore got a little untidy at the dogleg of turns 10 and 11 which caused the car to be upturned on the main straight. Luckily, no one else was involved in the incident but the crash would end the day for Keene with too much damage.
Lap 14 saw Apexi racings Corey Preston have an off into turn two at Coca – Cola Corner which cost him the positions of McKnight, Sutton and Hamilton. With the faster Preston pressing hard to make amends for the earlier incident an unfortunate incident between Hamilton and Preston occurred on the approach of turn 3, Shell Corner on lap 34. Running out of track, Preston tapped the right rear of Hamilton sending the ERA car into a spin and into a tyre barrier. Preston would go on to finish in tenth position in what continues to be a steady improvement in his results after what was a difficult start to the season.
At the front, despite late gains made by the TTL car, ANZ Motorsports Jarrad Filsell completed a great return to the series by winning what was a tight finish in front of a very patient Hamstead with Grigg-Gault and Ian Ford in fourth and fifth respectively. Ben Smith, running a very lonely uneventful race maintained his strong position overall in the Championship to end up in a strong fifth place.
Next week the series goes to the home of the tifosi…the spiritual Monza for an enduro. . Our series leader Ethan Grigg-Gault after getting his worst position of the season, albeit a very credible third, will be keen to get back to his winning ways. With four different race winners after seven rounds, there will no doubt be more exciting moments to come.
Find the full race replay here
Split one Split two
Ford de Figueiredo
Smith Craig Jones