The Perth Trading Post Challenge proved to be a mixed weekend for Autohaus Hamilton in both of the categories in which we had entries. Terry Lawlor in the Touring Car Masters (presented by Autobarn) ran in the top twelve all weekend before engine issues prevented him from competing in the third race, while Carrera Cup’s Shane Smollen had a consistent weekend that was tarnished by a puncture in the third race.
After missing the first round of the Touring Car Masters series in Adelaide, Lawlor was determined to make his debut in Perth count. The Exclusive Body Werks Carrera was quick from the time the car hit the track with tenth and 12th places respectively in the two practice sessions.
Lawlor then went on to qualify in tenth position for the first race, which he went on to claim ninth outright and first in class. This gave Lawlor pole position for the reverse grid in race two. He led the field into turn one and held this position until lap three. On lap seven he began to lose power but managed to salvage eighth position outright and another class win.
“The car was fantastic. It has plenty of power and good handling for the weekend,” commented Lawlor. “The guys from Autohaus Hamilton and Exclusive Body Werks have done a great job in preparing the car.”
Lawlor’s weekend came to a premature end following race two from a mechanical gremlin.
The focus now shifts to the next round of the series at Darwin’s Hidden Valley circuit next month. Lawlor admits the Porsche will struggle against the high horsepower V8s but will treat the weekend as a chance to focus on class results rather than outright.
He said, “It’s certainly a shame we didn’t get to start race three. I’m looking forward to Darwin. I’ve heard it’s very much a horsepower track, which we don’t have, but it will be a chance to prove ourselves amongst the class and see how we go against the other Porsches.”
In the Carrera Cup, Shane Smollen started his weekend in 13th after both practice sessions before going on to qualify in 11th spot.
In race one Smollen was able to come home in 12th position before going on to come 13th in race two. Race three for Smollen was hampered by a puncture which forced him into the pits on lap 14 for a tyre change. Smollen made his best effort to come back but ended up in 19th .
“It could have been a worse,” reflected Smollen. “We learnt a lot this weekend. It took a lot to get a grip on the track and I was driving a bit conservatively. ”
Carrera Cup now heads to Townsville in July for the first time. With nearly the whole field having never raced at Townsville and the field in equal cars, Smollen believes the round will prove to be a test of driver skill.
Terry Lawlor thanks the following for their support of his 2011 Touring Car Masters (presented by Autobarn) campaign:
- Autohaus Hamilton
- Exclusive Body Werks
- EBS Racing America
Shane Smollen thanks the following for their support of his 2011 Carrera Cup campaign:
- Autohaus Hamilton
- McGrath Estate Agents