The Sandown V8 UTES round marked the date for the release of our new Race Headers for all 32 Holden and Ford UTES on the grid. The newly released headers is now combined with our custom made XFORCE cat back exhaust systems on all competing cars. Drivers praised the new headers all weekend with the newly found pace in increased power and response from the newly designed header. The spectators were also loving it with the extra grunt expelling ground sounds into the grandstands.
Two racers claimed important races at the Sandown 500 last weekend. Nathan Pretty won Race 3 and Round 5 of the Auto One V8 Ute racing series while Rhys McNally took the victory in Race 2. However, all events were packed with laps of excitement.
Rhys McNally and Terry Bull posing with the beautiful XFORCE girls.
Race 2 saw Craig Dontas of Thirsty Camels starting on the Pole based on the top 11 reverse grid. Dontas held the lead until lap 6 when Rhys McNally pushed his Stratco Holden and overtook first place and never looked back.
“It was great to get the car back up the front, we had a shocker in Townsville and lacked pace, so it was good to have the Ute towards the pointy end and score some good points to try and keep the championship alive,” said Rhys McNally.
With teammate Nathan Pretty pressuring him, Dontas drove the remainder of Race 2 tight to hold onto second place. Elliot Barbour took fourth, Andrew Fisher with his Jesus Racing Ford FG took fifth, while Mike Almond, Kim Jame, Ryal Harris, and Tony Longhurst in The Boat Works Holden took the following spots consecutively.
After telling XFORCE about the increased power and sound of the exhausts fitted on all 32 race Utes this season, Kim Jane pose for a quick picture.
Far behind Pretty, both Kris Walton and Ryan Hansford showed timid driving and were unable to seal a top 3 finish due to individual issues including a broken rim on Hansford’s Ute while Walton steered clear of not receiving any damage to avoid another 35 championship point suspension penalty he received when he contacted Pretty in race 1.
The greatest battle in Race 2 could have been between Gerard McLeod and “The Assassin” Jane for either place during lap number 10 when Jane made an aggressive move to overtake McLeod. Preceding the passing, McLeod got caught up with Harris, who stalled on the grid, and Harris ended up contacting the Macmahon Mining Ute and was assessed a 26 second post-race penalty.
For Race 3, Pretty and his Milwaukee Ute started on the front of the grid next to Rhys McNally and his Stratco Holden. However, going into turn one, McNally locked up and went wide allowing for Pretty to pass with ease being able to win almost 4 seconds ahead of second place.
“It was awesome after my little spit yesterday, I calmed down overnight and all the rest of it and put my head down and it turned out really well, so pretty happy for all the guys. They’ve been working pretty hard back at the workshop and we’ve actually been testing now for a chance and that’s what’s paying dividends, actually getting out on the track prior, doing some miles and tweaking it and the results are showing that,” said Pretty.
Chelsea and Alannah with XFORCE enjoying the racing action.
In this race, Dontas and Elliot Barbour were the stars for their fight for second place when the Guide Dogs Victoria bonnet touched the back of the Thirsty Camel Ute which sent Dontas off the track. Barbour was penalized with a drive through four laps after being called in.
“It was a good Race, a lot of fun. I ran up the front with the guys, I stuffed qualifying, but it was good to get back up there. I’m a bit annoyed to get stuffed over by Elliot (Barbour), but good to be there, I had an absolute ball,” Dontas said.
Ryal Harris overtook Dontas on lap 7 and secured second place and third overall for the Round. Dontas settled in for third while Almond’s Copyworld Racing Holden and Andrew Fisher finished fourth and fifth respectively. Kim Jame, McNally, David Sieders, and Ryan Hansfor finished off the top ten.
Round 6 of the V8 Ute Racing will take place at the Bathurst 1000 event 10-13 October at Mount Panorama. (Check local guides)