With rain threatening to spoil the main day of competition at the 2017 Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge at Sydney Motorsport Park in Australia, teams were pushing hard from the get-go on Friday morning.
As early as the first sessions of the day, records were being reset, but as Friday played out, it was the Royal Purple Pro Class where things got really interesting. It quickly became obvious that aero refinements made over the past 12 months have resulted in even faster Pro cars, and before long the 2016 record lap time of 1:22.192 set by Tim Slade in the MCA Suspension ‘Hammerhead’ Nissan Silvia S13 was bettered.
It was Slade that first shaved off a significant chunk of time too, managing a 1:21.891 in the second morning session. But in the final Pro outing of day, PR Tech Racing Porsche 968 driver Barton Mawer fought back with an even quicker 1:21.784 lap to take the lead and set a new WTAC record in the process.
It was short lived though; right on Mawer’s heals was Slade who, totally unaware that he had momentarily lost the top spot, went even quicker.
1:21.576 is now the benchmark.
Sitting back in third place, but just a second off the 2017 pace is Under Suzuki with a 1:22.523 – his best ever WTAC lap time.
It was an impressive result for the first day of the event, and now the only thing on everyone’s mind is whether the forecasted rain will come and spoil the fun, or that Sydney Motorsport Park will remain dry – or at least dry out in time if it does see some precipitation – and allow the fight to continue all the way to the end.
We’ll be trackside and in the pit lane capturing whatever the second and final day of WTAC 2017 will bring; Saturday is shaping up to be a big one for Team Speedhunters at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Dino Dalle Carbonare
Additional Images: Matthew Everingham & Richard Opie