Wood wins wet-weather Sandown opener before rain halts play
Ryan Wood has broken Thomas Sargent’s winning streak at the top of the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia Series, claiming the opening race in round three at Sandown.
The sole race of the day was held in wet conditions at the Victorian circuit, with the scheduled second race postponed due to torrential rain just before it was scheduled to start.
Motorsport Australia are looking to reschedule the program on Sunday at Sandown.
Wood started second in today’s race but had to work hard to secure his third win of the season.
Starting from the front row, Aron Shields led the field on the opening lap as the 27-strong grid launched towards turn one in wet conditions.
The race was held under Safety Car for several laps following contact between Nathan Sticklen and Marc Cini at the start of the race.
Sticklen spun across the field and made contact with the wall on the inside of the circuit, while Cini was stranded on drivers right, necessitating a recovery and the Safety Car.
A feisty restart saw Shields leading from Ryan Wood and Thomas Sargent amidst the spray.
Shields led for a time before Wood was able to slip past for the lead at turn one with two laps remaining; Shields running wide while trying to defend his position from the flying Kiwi.
Sargent followed his Michelin Junior rival through to grab second, while Shields was able to finish third, Courtney Prince fourth and Tom McLennan fifth in his debut in a Pro Class car.
Lachlan Bloxsom and Jason Miller were next, the latter – a former Australian Water-skiing champion – revelling in the wet conditions in seventh.
Daniel Stuttered celebrated his return to the series by taking out the Morris Pro-Am class victory – his first since claiming the class title – ahead of series leader Sam Shahin and Brett Boulton, while Jacob Li won Class B.
“It was a pretty weird race, we had to change from slicks to wets and then follow the safety car for the majority of the race. It was unfortunate for Aron to run off there, but you got to capitalized when they come,” said Wood.