The first race of the weekend for the new Archibalds Historic Touring Car class at the big 4 Guys Autobarn Legends of Bathurst meeting at Hampton Downs is done and dusted with an impressive debut win for pole-setting Aussie guest Charlie O'Brien in Murray Sinclair's Nissan Primera.
Fast starting fellow front row man Graeme Cameron led briefly early on and hounded O'Brien until the final lap when the 1.46.336 pace finally told on the tyres of his Zakspeed DTM BMW E30 M3 and Queenslander O'Brien eased away to win by just over a second and a half.
“Yeah, a great start to the weekend,” said O’Brien. “The car is great to drive, nice and quick through the corners and it is good being here with everybody this weekend so thanks to Murray Sinclair for letting me drive his car.”
For his part Kiwi veteran Cameron said he enjoyed having someone to dice with though admitted that the pace definitely took his toll on his Zakspeec M3’s tyres.
“I seem to overheat my tyres… because I was braking later than Charlie, “ he laughed. “That’s how I was able to get him back. But he was able to get me back by coming out of the Carousel and coming up inside me.”
Event special guest Jim Richards completed the podium in the Peter Sturgeon-owned BMW 635 CSi Group C after working his way past fellow Bathurst legend John Bowe (Mark Petch-owned Volvo 240T) who finished fifth, and Phil Mauger (Nissan Primera) who was fourth.
Jim's son, fellow former Bathurst winner Steven Richards, managed to work his way up to sixth after starting from the back row of the grid (after a problem in qualifying meant he was not able to set a time) in his Mark Petch-owned ex Gianfranco Brancatelli BMW M3.
Scott O'Donnell rounded out the finishers in his ex Paul Radisich BTCC Ford Mondeo after pitting for an electrical issue then returning a lap down.
Angus Fogg (Jaguar XJS) and Arron Black (BMW E30) were quick early on but with Simon Crampton (BMW E30 M3) and Paul McCarthy (Mazda Xedos 6) were dnfs.
There are two more six lap races for the Archibalds Historic Touring Cars at Hampton Downs tomorrow.
Race 1 (Sat 6 laps)
1. Charlie O’Brien (Nissan Primera) 10.43.463
2. Graeme Cameron (BMW M3) +1.674
3. Jim Richards (BMW 635i) +9.173
4. Phil Mauger (Nissan Primera) +10,453
5. John Bowe (Volvo 240T) +16.008
6. Steven Richards (BMW M3) +16.998
7. Lindsay O’Donnell (Volvo S40) +17.329
8. Brett Stevens (Ford Sierra RS00) +23.680
9. Stu Rogers (Nissan Skyline R32) +25.096
10. Conrad Timms (BMW E30 M3) +29.589
11. Trevor Crowe (BMW 635i) +1.04.293
12. Nick Young (BMW 325i) +1.06.122
13. Steven Kelly (BMW E36 320i) +1.06.460
14. Warren Good (BMW E36) +1.30.128
15. Graeme Clyde (BMW E36 320i) +1.31.696
26. Austin McKinley (Toyota Corona) +1.33.411
27. Scott O’Donnell (Ford Mondeo) +1 lap
Dnf: Angus Fogg, Simon Crampton, Arron Black & Paul McCarthy
For more information about the 2017/2018 Historic Touring Car (NZ) Ltd series contact Ross MacKay on 021 677 919 or via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org