The 2019 Racer Industries Queensland Touring Car Championship continues this weekend, when a field of 37 cars line up for the series’ first-ever visit to Morgan Park Raceway in Warwick, as the category supports the second round of the 2019 Australian Motor Racing Series.
It’s rare back-to-back weekends for the championship, which commenced at Queensland Raceway last weekend, in a mix of wet and dry weather conditions.
Steve Hay claimed Class A1 honours, despite a very impressive showing from both Chris Sharples and Brett Kennedy – the latter on his return to the series, after sitting out 2018 – Matthew Haak swept Class A2, and Mark Giorgio flew the Ford flag on his way to victory in Class B, on countback, after he and Les Hanifin finished the weekend on 240 points apiece.
While many drivers are facing the challenges that go with a tight turnaround like this, others like Piers Harrex are gearing up for their first outing of the season, after missing the season opener. Harrex’s inclusion in the 37-car field this weekend will see a welcomed boost to entry numbers in Class A1.
Last weekend, Chris Sharples grabbed his first race victory, and narrowly missed out on claiming round honours. Steve Hay claimed two race wins, and the round, while Brett Kennedy was third on points.
Kennedy blitzed the field in the opening race of the season – lapping half the field, and winning by six seconds, but a costly spin in race 3 inevitably cost him round honours.
Once again, Class A2 entries are strong, with 19 cars, including Shannon Cane, who’s been promoted, from Class B, following multiple breakouts last weekend. Adam Pye will line up for the first time this season, as will Richard Gresham.
Last weekend, Matthew Haak claimed a comprehensive round win, and – along with Bailey Hall, Michael Woodcroft and the BMW brigade of Lance Jurgeleit and Matthew Swarbrooke – sent a message to Stuart Walker and Gary Anger, to inform the dominant figures of the 2018 Class A2 championship, that they won’t have it all their own way in 2019.
While Mark Giorgio’s breakthrough round win was great news for Ford fans last weekend, there’ll be no repeat this weekend at Morgan Park, with Giorgio sitting this one out, along with Mark Hyde and John Phoenix.
Les Hanifin will lead a 12-car grid in Class B, the will see Steven Harper and Chris Holdt line up for the first time this year.
Andrew Knight started a new chapter in his QTCC last weekend, debuting a new BMW, and after finishing fourth in that round, at Queensland Raceway, he’ll head to Morgan Park hopeful of another strong showing, as he continues to develop the BMW E36 323i.
While many drivers, particularly in Class B, were on the receiving end of penalties for breaking out of their time bracket last weekend, they won’t have to worry about a repeat in Warwick this weekend.
As Morgan Park is a new venue for the championship, no time restrictions are in place for Classes A2 or B, as there’s no previous benchmark to go off.
Friday’s three unofficial practice sessions will be vitally important for the vast majority of the field, who are racing at the Warwick venue for the very first time this weekend.
Saturday’s 15-minute Qualifying session will determine the grid for Races 1 (Fastest Qualifying Time) and 3 (Second Fastest Qualifying Time).
The results of Race 1 will determine the grid for Race 2, and the results of Race 3 will set the grid for Race 4.
The opening two races will be 8 laps, Race 3 will be contested over 10 laps, while Race 4 will be 12 laps long.
After this weekend’s four races, drivers will drop their worst round, of the opening two, before enjoying a two-month break, ahead of the third round of season 2019, back at Queensland Raceway, from June 21-23.
From there, the remaining four rounds will all count towards the final championship standings.