News TRT Media Release July 6, 2024 (Comments off) (57)

On Targett in Townsville

OSCAR TARGETT has extended his lead in the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia Series, racing his way to the front in the first race at the NTI Townsville 500. 

Starting third on the grid but with an open pole position in front of him on account of Hamish Fitzsimmons starting from pit lane, Targett settled into second early in the first 25-minute sprint race of the weekend before pouncing on Clay Osborne to take the race lead and ultimately take the win.

The Grove Racing / EBM driver edged away from a racy Brock Gilchrist – who also passed Osborne in the same move as Targett – with early leader Osborne finishing third.

The race began in strange circumstances as polesitter Hamish Fitzsimmons, who had radio issues, overshot his grid position on the formation lap. As a result, the start was delayed and an additional formation lap given to the field.

The TekworkX driver was forced to start from pit lane as a result and would charge through to 14th position and 7th of the Pro class cars at the end.

The race began in challenging conditions with a light rain shower passing over the circuit moments before the cars were released from pit lane.

That left Osborne alone on the front row with the New Zealander leaving Gilchrist and Targett away into turn one.

While everyone remained on slick tyres, conditions were challenging with slippery areas both on the circuit, painted lines and kerbs.

Nash Morris ran fourth early and well within touch of the leaders however was forced to pit lane with steering issues aboard his #222 Scott Taylor Motorsport entry.

Osborne led the first three before Targett pounced, the leader defending at turn two which compromised his exit from the left-hander and allowed the Grove Hire car to slip up the inside at turn four to grab the lead.

Gilchrist followed Targett through to grab second position with Osborne settling into third.

The battling behind was intense with a multi-car fight between Ayrton Hodson, Caleb Sumich, Jake Santalucia and Aron Shields.

That waged for multiple laps before a moment on lap 13 caught Sumich out, running wide at turn seven onto the concrete apron on the exit of the corner, the lack of traction seeing his car spearing across to the inside fence. Santalucia was caught up in the incident with both cars damaged and out of the race as a result.

That drew the Safety Car out with the racing finishing under yellows.

With Targett, Gilchrist and Osborne the top three, Tyler Greenbury revelled in the challenging conditions to finish fourth in his Edge Designer Homes / TGR entry – his fourth, fourth-place finish of the season. Ayrton Hodson finished fifth and Aron Shields sixth.

Brett Boulton won the Pro-Am class after a strong drive to seventh position outright, leading Lachlan Harburg and Danny Stutterd home in the Sprint Challenge race within a race.

The pair finished well within the top-10 as a result of the dramas for several of the Pro class runners.

Brad Carr, meanwhile, claimed the Class B win and finished an outstanding 10th outright in the process, closest rival Jaque Jarjo just behind.

Earlier, Sonic Motor Racing’s Conor Somers walked away from an enormous crash at turn 10 that brought the qualifying session to a premature end.

Somers clipped another, slow-moving car approaching the high-speed kink and was launched into the air, his car making heavy contact with the catch fencing on the outside of the circuit.

His car landed on its roof, however Somers was able to climb from the wreck. He was checked by the medical team and released with no injuries – however his car was ruled out for the remainder of the weekend.

Round 3 of the championship will conclude on Sunday at the NTI Townsville 500 with two races – kicking off on Sunday morning with the next instalment of the Jim Richards Enduro Trophy first thing on Sunday. 

That will be followed by the final sprint race later in the afternoon, to be shown live on Fox Sports 506, Kayo and Channel 7. 

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