RYAN WOOD has completed a remarkable Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia sweep, claiming his sixth pole position from six rounds in an action-packed session at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit this afternoon.
The Team Porsche NZ scholarship winner punched out a 1m30.9661s best on his eighth of 11 laps in the 20-minute session to claim the top spot at every round this year.
He edged out championship leader Thomas Sargent by 0.26 seconds with the pair to start alongside each other for the sixth consecutive round tomorrow in race one.
The pair duelled for pole from the outset, running nose-to-tail for much of their initial run, Wood leading Sargent by just 0.01 seconds as they pitted for their second set of Michelin tyres half way through the session.
Wood was able to marginally improve on his second run while Sargent found no further time aboard his Tegra Australia 911, locking them into the front row of the grid.
Several drivers struggled to improve in their second runs after being delayed by several spinning cars while on their hot laps.
The bonus point for pole position draws the young Kiwi closer to Sargent in the title battle, the pair now separated by just 31 points – with 180 up for grabs across Saturday’s three races.
Fresh from his first podium finish at Mount Panorama last time out, Lachlan Bloxsom was third outright aboard his Team Navy / McElrea Racing entry.
He will line up alongside Courtney Prince, who was a late improver aboard her Local Legends / Bob Jane T-Marts Sonic entry to fourth of the Pro class runners.
Tom Taplin and Harrison Goodman will make up row three for the first race on Saturday.
The Morris Pro-Am fight took a compelling turn as not only were the key title rivals well separated on the grid, a wildcard entry usurped them all to throw his hat into the ring.
Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia regular Adrian Flack made the most of his Sprint Challenge cameo this weekend, jumping back into the Type 911.2 GT3 Cup Car with ease to score pole position in the series ‘race within a race’.
Not only did he score the top spot in class, he qualified fourth outright among the Professional cars, less than one second from Ryan Wood’s outright pole time. It also gave the Earl Bamber Motorsport team pole in both classes.
Sam Shahin – second in the championship – was second in Pro-Am and 8th outright, while class leader Brett Boulton could do no better than sixth: David Grieg, Andrew Goldie and Daniel Stuttered between he and his closest pursuer.
Potential title-effecting results were also seen in the Class B battle, with home town hero Jacob Li claiming pole position in class for the third time this year.
Furthermore, his flying 1m32.7234s lap put him 10th outright and among the Morris Pro-Am heavy hitters.
Li sits third in the Class B standings and is in pursuit of Nathan Sticklen – who was third in class – and series leader Lachlan Harburg, who was fourth in class today.
Three races will decide the 2022 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia season tomorrow at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit, competing at the Island Magic event.
All three races (9:30am, 12:30pm and 3:30pm local time) will be battled out over 13 laps and will be broadcast live on Blend Line TV’s You Tube Channel.
Ryan Wood, Pro:
“Its great to get six poles from all six races this year, it’s a good way to start the weekend. We had trouble in practice with a couple of gremlins that krept in, but at the end of the day we did it when it mattered. Looking forward to tomorrow, we just need some luck to go our way finally. In terms of the Championship, all I can do is try get all the wins and pole for the extra point and see what happens in the end.”
Adrian Flack, Morris Pro-Am:
“I feel young again. It was such a fun session to be fourth overall, I absolutely love this place. Driving the old car is so much fun to drive, I’ve had a really good time. I want to thank the Earl Bamber Motorsport Team, we all just having fun and its really good. Its great having both EBM cars on pole in both classes, Ben (Jenkins) gave us instructions that he wouldn’t accept anything less, but seriously the car’s great and I put it together when it counts.”
Jacob Li, Class B:
“I’m super happy about it, I want to just say thanks to my team and Ashley he’s been very helpful, as well as all the friends and family that came here to support me. It was a good qualifying session, but a shame I didn’t get to finish my flying lap, I was 0.5 tenths quicker than I had been until there. It’s a good start though and I need to keep pushing for the races.”