Jason Bargwanna has given his Trivett Classic MINI Garage/Matchmaster TV Reception Systems team the perfect possible start, by setting the fastest time in MINI CHALLENGE qualifying at Sandown International Raceway today.
Bargwanna made the best of the freezing conditions to set the fastest time of 1:23.6448, some 0.6087 seconds in front of Seven Network personality, Grant Denyer (DecoRug Motorsport), who was showing no ill effect of having 40kg additional success ballast on board.
The battle between the former V8 Supercar team-mates raged throughout the session, swapping the provisional pole during the middle part of the session, but ultimately, the former Bathurst champion set the only time under the 1:24 barrier. To prove it wasn’t a fluke, the next lap was also in the 1:23s.
Qualifying third was round two winner, Nathan Geier (Sherrin Rentals). The local driver pipped Paul Stokell (DecoRug Motorsport) in the dying moments of the session for the third spot. Geier found his car unsettled across the bumpy Sandown layout and is working with his team to make some changes overnight to ensure the car rides the bumps better.
The next row of the grid was occupied by Neil McFadyen (M3 Motorsport) and the other Trivett Classic MINI Garage car, Scott Bargwanna.
Mandurah’s Nathan Callaghan (Calmack Smash Repairs) was seventh, with the youngest Fiore brother, Todd (Shell Helix Ultra) in eighth. Both Fiore brothers had issues during the session, Todd clipping a tyre barrier at turn three and Paul (who qualified his Shell Helix Ultra MINI in ninth) scraped the wall on his first flyer.
In 10th was Gary Young – who started the session on a drying track wearing wets, came in to change to slicks, but was unable to get a clear run from there on in. He is expecting to charge through the pack tomorrow.
Next were Nick Stillwell (Bib Stillwell MINI Garage), David Turner (Glory Team Racing), Todd Wanless (Motorline MINI Garage), this round’s UBER-STAR CAR racer – Paul Mercurio, with Darren Berry (Clipper Motor Yachts) rounding out the top 15. Berry earlier scored his best position in MINI CHALLENGE, finishing practice in eighth placing. Michael Sherrin (Sherrin Rentals) and Brendan Cook (Terex Cranes) – who is having his first ever race meeting this weekend completed the field.
Earlier in Practice, Jason Bargwanna set the fastest time on a damp track ahead of Neil McFadyen, David Turner, Scott Bargwanna and Todd Wanless. A number of competitors spun on the wet circuit.
Michael Stillwell (Bib Stillwell MINI Garage) unfortunately came to grief in that session when he stepped aside to let a faster competitor through. He lost control on the back straight and slammed the wall head on. The team is hard at work to have his car repaired for tomorrow’s opening race.
WHAT THEY SAID:
JASON BARGWANNA (POLE): “What a way to start Team Bargwanna! It’s come together in under a week and to put the car on pole is a fantastic, particularly for Trivett Classic MINI Garage and Matchmaster TV Reception Systems in their first motorsport experience. I’m very excited for those guys. To do what we’ve done with such little preparation time proves just how good these MINI CHALLENGE racecars are!”
NATHAN GEIER (THIRD): “Naturally we’re happy to be starting third tomorrow, but the car wasn’t handling the bumps at all. It was pretty unsettled, particularly heading into turn one. We will make some changes overnight to the car and let’s hope it gets over those bumps much better in the race!”
PAUL FIORE (NINTH): “I’m not very happy with ninth to be honest! I scraped the wall on the first lap into Dandenong and I was lucky I didn’t hit any harder. We’ve got a bit of work to do tomorrow, but I’m confident we can get back up there.
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