Tony Ricciardello has won his ninth Kerrick Sports Sedan series title today at Sydney Motorsport Park, aboard the B&M Ricciardello Motors Alfa Romeo GTV.
As his closest rivals floundered around him, the West Australian driver scored consistent results across the final round to further etch his name in the record books as Australia’s most successful circuit racing champion ever.
Jack Perkins won all three races in Sydney – to take his streak to nine in a row – and also set a new lap record at the circuit in the Auto Union Deutsche Audi A4, but it didn’t come easy.
Title contender Thomas Randle led the second of three races convincingly this morning, before a kill switch issue on his Kerrick/CKAS SAAB saw him stranded on the sidelines.
When Domain Prestige Homes Calibra-Chev driver Steven Tamasi broke an axle soon after, the championship was all but Ricciardello’s with one race to spare. Tamasi would go on to finish second in the championship despite crawling across the finish line with a mechanical issue – finishing five points ahead of Randle in the title chase, with the Kerrick racer taking third in the title. Perkins’ sweep of the final three rounds elevated him to fourth in the final standings, with Colin Smith in the MR Automotive Monaro rounding out the top five.
TONY RICCIARDELLO –B&M RICCIARDELLO MOTORS ALFA ROMEO GTV - NINE-TIME KERRICK SPORTS SEDAN SERIES CHAMPION: “I put some old tyres on the back, put the wing down and had a bit of fun in that last race. Its relief now – we can think about it and not worry about next year until tomorrow,” said Ricciardello, who finished third in the finale’ after a storming Randle charged past in the closing laps.
“We weren’t going to slow him (Randle) up, I didn’t have the tyres on the back. They had a bit more pace all weekend. We didn’t get to fight for the win so we just had to be smart – I got a little bit of that knowledge from Kerry Bailey and we can go home now and enjoy it. I didn’t want to break anything and give it too much grip. I wanted to work harder in that race and get out there and enjoy it!
“It always seems to get better, when you’ve got the number one. The category is growing, with tougher competitors and the cars are getting faster. We just keep on bringing it on. It’s hard to stay number one and hard to stay on the top.”
“There’s nothing like (the Sport Sedan category) in Australia at the moment. They’re just muscle and you’ve got to drive them. They aero is getting better, the cars are getting faster and we’re doing some really good lap times around the country. Kerrick have been behind the category for so many years and the Shannons Nationals, and their team, have been looking after the series.
“We’ll be back. She’s getting tired, the old girl, so we’ll freshen her up and have a bit of fun. We’ll see what we do in the off season and what we need to bring to the table. We’ll see where we can maximise the rules – but let’s not worry about next year and worry about tonight!”
JACK PERKINS – #5 AUTO UNION DEUTSCHE AUDI A4 – ROUND WINNER: “I am really grateful for the opportunity (to drive the Audi this year) - obviously when you replace someone who has injured themselves in a motor racing accident it’s a terrible situation but my thoughts are with Darren (Hossack) and his recovery. Thanks has to go to John (Gourlay – car owner) and his team for their efforts this year. Winton didn’t go to plan for us but since then the car has ran faultlessly and has been incredibly fast, so to win nine in a row has been great. Thanks also to the fellow competitors for coming every weekend and to Kerrick – they are a fantastic sponsor. It was great to race with everyone here and congratulations to Tony (Ricciardello) on his ninth title.”
STEVEN TAMASI - #9 DOMAIN PRESTIGE HOMES HOLDEN CALIBRA – SECOND IN THE TITLE: “The last few laps I would say I was pretty stressed. I was sort of catching Tony (Ricciardello) slightly and everything was going well and then all of a sudden I got a bit of a noise, and then I got a bit of a smell, and then a bit of smoke. I told the boys on the radio and they said shut it off and just crawl. Luckily I am five points in front of Tom for second. We all have our bad luck, but I had a bit of bad luck in that area and then some good luck with finishing so I could take second in the title – we are pretty happy with that, we are pretty wrapped. At the start of the year we always knew if you stay consistent and stay on the black stuff you have a chance of it as previous years have shown, and we are wrapped with second outright.”
TOM RANDLE - #93 KERRICK/CKAS SAAB – THIRD FOR THE TITLE: “It is hard to know at the start of the year what is going to happen, and at the first round we didn’t know what to expect with a new engine and no testing, so we just tried to get as many points as possible. After that we thought we might be in the hunt, and after Winton the points were really close – but the three DNFs really cost us having a good crack at it. I can’t thank everyone at Dream Motorsport enough and all the others who helped also. It depends on Formula 4 but I might be back next year with the Sports Sedans – I have had a blast and it has been great to be up against Jack (Perkins) – unfortunately it couldn’t be against Darren (Hossack) - but to have that race this morning up until our issue was phenomenal, and congratulations to Tony (Ricciardello). I was having some great battles with Tony at the start of the year, and his title is very well deserved, as is the driver of the decade award. Stevie (Tamasi) had a few dramas of his own this weekend but he has kept me on my toes all year and well done to him for getting second.”
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