12 November 2022 | General

Wood takes Bathurst as title fight goes to season finale

THOMAS SARGENT and Ryan Wood will battle for the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge title at Phillip Island after Wood claimed victory at Mount Panorama to firmly keep his title hopes alive. 

Having qualified on pole but finished second to Sargent in the first race on Friday, Wood struck back on Saturday with a series of decisive performances to claim the Bathurst round and keep the pressure on points leader Sargent heading into the Grand Finale’.

In Morris Pro-Am Sam Shahin claimed a Bathurst victory to keep the pressure on title leader Brett Boulton, while Jacob Li claimed the Class B victory.

Wood’s pathway to a Bathurst win started early in race two when he and Sargent battled for the lead early in the race.

The young Kiwi was able to slip by at the Chase and then fended off his year-long rival for the remainder to claim the win.

He then backed that up with a more comfortable win in race three to claim the round for Team Porsche NZ / Earl Bamber Motorsport.

Sargent scored a pair of seconds on Saturday to finish second overall for the round and ensure he retains a solid championship lead heading to the Phillip Island finale’.

Third overall at Mount Panorama was Team Navy / McElrea driver Lachlan Bloxsom, who scored a round podium following several near-misses this year.

The racing gods were clearly on his side after his car suffered a damage radiator at turn one on the opening lap of race two, but was not damaged enough to force him out of the race.

He edged out Aron Shields for third in race two, and then finished fourth in the finale to secure his podium finish.

The ever-consistent Shields just missed the podium. while the Sonic Motor Racing duo of Courtney Prince and Harrison Goodman were next.

Sam Shahin’s pathway to victory in Morris Pro-Am was far from easy, claiming the race win in the second sprint before surviving to finish fourth in class in the finale’ – racing with bent steering after earlier contact, he was running second on the final lap before a spin at the chase dropped him to fourth.

Much like Sargent in the Pro class, Brett Boulton’s second place at Bathurst ensures he heads to Phillip Island leading the championship, his class victory in the final race helping him maintain his margin over nearest rival Shahin.

Richard Cowen jumped to the round podium via an outstanding second place in Morris Pro-Am in Race 2, following a seventh-placed finish in the earlier race.

Jacob Li’s Class B win was no more straightforward than any other category.

He won both races ahead of Friday winner Nathan Sticklen, and points leader Lachlan Harburg.

The final round of the 2022 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia Series will be contested at the iconic Island Magic event at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit on November 25-26.

Ryan Wood, Pro winner

“It was another great race, had a good start this time which made my life a bit easier. I’m still bit annoyed with myself after race 1, but I learnt alot yesterday in those conditions, so we punch on to Phillip Island and hopefully carry this form. Its been a huge season between me and Tom (Sargent), its been great for the fans, so we’ll see what we can do at Phillip Island. I think the championship is a little bit far away for us now, but we’ll just try to keep winning races and see what happens.”

Sam Shahin, Morris Pro-Am

“I had a terrific start and everything was going to plan until the safety car. I don’t know what on earth (Sam) Fillmore was doing, but I honestly think there should either be a disqualification or some serious penalty by the way he managed that restart. He then slammed into me into turn 1 and bent the steering arm, as a result the steering wheel was at 45 degrees from the start of that lap and the car was unbelievably sketchy at the top of the mountain.

“I managed to get back to second on the last lap, we had the opportunity to get on the inside of Boulton for the race win. I was extra ordinarily nice and ended up spinning myself. I probably should have been more assertive as the win was there, but that one just got away. Happy with the round win, absolutely thrilled to take the win here. I go to Phillip Island way behind in Championship points but as this round has demonstrated anything can happen you just have to be around the front and if you have the pace anything can happen.”

Jacob Li, Class  B

“I can’t believe I’m up here because from race 1 we had a lot of misfortune with the mechanical. I’m very happy I can make up the places from the very last position in the class and it was a very good recovery. The last three or four rounds it hasn’t gone very well for us, as I always had a bit of drama so its great to on the podium here.”