HANSEN SCORES BREAKTHROUGH WIN
Western Australian heads the pack in Mallala Kumho Series opener
WESTERN Australian Matt Hansen has claimed a breakthrough victory in the opening race of this weekends second round of the Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car Series at Mallala Motorsport Park in South Australia.
Hansen driving the same Holden Racing Team Commodore that Mark Skaife put on pole position for the 2006 Bathurst 1000 claimed his first race win in four years of competing in the series for ex-V8 Supercars.
The Commodore driver was fastest in yesterdays private practice sessions and qualified on the front row of the grid for todays race.
He led home Tony Evangelous ex-Ford Performance Racing Falcon in the twilight 15-lap race; the first of three to be run over the weekend.
Hansen claimed the lead from Evangelou on lap eight and cleared away to take victory by 5.2 seconds.
Behind there was plenty of action with pole-sitter Shae Davies muscled out of the lead from the start.
He later had contact with Terry Wyhoon that sent him into a spin and the Fernandez Motorsport driver was forced to fight his way back to salvage fifth place.
Wyhoon crossed the line third from Jim Pollicinas ex-Tasman Motorsport Commodore while Chris Smerdon winner of the last two rounds held at Mallala in 2011 and 2012 finished sixth.
Rookie South Australian Dan Day finished a solid seventh from Steve Briffa (who had a spin after contact from Pollicina) Chris Delfsma and Michael Bartsch.
Gearbox problems hampered promising young local Josh Kean his ex-Team Dynamik Commodore stuck in gear and forced to retire after earlier holding down fifth position.
Racing will continue tomorrow at Mallala Motorsport Park for the Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car Series with Race 2 at 10.30am local time (11.00am AEST) and Race 3 to complete the round at 1.55pm local time (2.25pm AEST).
Live streaming coverage will be available on Sunday at www.thenationals.com.au with television coverage on SBS Speedweek and a one-hour program on SPEED on Foxtel at a later date.