Heinrich Breaks Through, Hansford Wins Again
Saturday honours were shared in the Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters at The Bend, with Ryan Hansford claiming the race one victory, while debutant Joel Heinrich backed up his Trophy Race win with a dominant performance in the second encounter.
The opening race for the day started in spectacular fashion when the second row of the rolling start carved into the lead, with Hansford (Multispares Racing Holden Torana) heading Andrew Fisher (Jesus Racing Holden Torana), then Steven Johnson (Hancock Racing Ford Mustang) and Danny Buzadzic (Western General Body Works Holden Torana), with polesitter Joel Heinrich (Daimler Trucks Adelaide Chevrolet Camaro) settling in fifth at the end of the opening circuit.
John Bowe (Rare Spares Holden Torana) passed Marcus Zukanovic (Action Motor Industries Ford Falcon) for sixth at turn six on lap two, although Zukanovic didn’t give up the position without a fight, with Cameron Tilley (Anglomoil Valiant Pacer) soon joining the battle.
Tony Karanfilovski (TIFS Third Party Logistics), meanwhile, had a lurid spin on the run into turn 12, with the Mustang ultimately suffering a major tyre deflation on the main straight.
The Ford Mustang was caught by the turn-one gravel trap, necessitating a safety car on lap four of seven.
A one-lap sprint to the chequered flag saw Hansford hold on for victory, with the race for the minor placings particularly spicy, with Fisher claiming second, Johnson third with Heinrich 0.1sec behind.
Fifth went to Buzadzic from Zukanovic, Bowe, Tilley, Fane and Palmer, with the class wins going to Buzadvic (Pro Am), Jason Palmer (Invitational, Palmers Sales and Marketing BMW E30) and Peter Burnitt (Pro Sport, Depulu Wheel Reconditioners Holden Torana).
The start of race two was a busy one, with Fisher jumping into the race lead from Hansford, while Burnitt spun at turn four.
Heinrich showed that he was all business, picking off the leading duo to claim the lead at turn six on lap two of seven.
Hansford meanwhile earned second from Fisher at turn one on lap three, while on the penultimate circuit, Karanfilovski suffered another momentary off at turn one after a locked brake.
At the finish, it was Heinrich with the win by 8sec, over Hansford, Fisher, and Johnson, who took advantage of a spin for Buzadzic on the last lap, after a hard-fought race.
In fifth was Zukanovic, then Bowe, who was in the thick of the action throughout, then Tilley, Buzadzic, Geoff Fane (Daimler Trucks Adelaide Chevrolet Camaro), with Karanfilovski in tenth.
In the class standings, Pro Am went to Tilley, Invitational to Palmer, while Pro Sport honours were claimed by John Adams (Bullet Trailers Racing, Ford Falcon).
The Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters return to the track at 11:50am ACST tomorrow for the weekend’s third and final race, with the encounter to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 506 and Kayo Sports.