Aussie Racing Cars Clipsal Wrap
Aussie Racing Car Championship Series has officially kicked off for the 2016 season. The first event for the year was held in Adelaide at the V8 Supercars Clipsal 500 event and was run over 4 days. The weekend started with Aussie Racing Cars (ARC) on track first thing in the morning on Thursday, March 3. 37 cars set out for practice including both Indy 800 Kart Track members David Sultana and Harley Haber. Harley Haber having competed in only 4 rounds last year, his first round was at Eastern Creek in 2015. David Sultana has started off his career in ARC at the Clipsal 500. Both of which have set high goals for 2016 aiming to claim the 2016 Rookie of the year award.
The weekend starts off early with teams arriving at the track on Tuesday and Wednesday, both Sultana and Haber driving down from Sydney. Teams set up and prepare for the weekend ahead, the Clipsal 500 and the biggest round of the season for ARC in 2016. Thursday is the biggest day for ARC over the weekend with practice in the morning, Qualifying at midday and Race 1 in the afternoon. Morning practice was the first and only chance Haber and Sultana got to learn the track before Qualifying at 12:10pm AEDT. Both boys were able to show what they are capable of making the top 10 in practice, Sultana finishing 9th and Haber in 10th. Qualifying saw Haber finish in 10th position with a time of 1:37.1358, Sultana started behind him finishing with a time of 1.37.2418 putting him in 12th position.
Race 1 was also held on Thursday late in the afternoon. Haber had an unfortunate start the weekend braking his tailshaft off the start line leaving him straded with 27 others cars, including Sultana, to pass him and do so without any collisions. Sultana had a relatively good start after avoiding Haber annd managed to gain a few positions until a tailshaft problem also put him out of the race. Both cars went back to the pits with late nights had by both teams in preparation for race 2 the following morning. Friday morning all teams prepped for Race 2, the only race of the day, at 11:20am AEDT. Due to both Sultana and Haber having DNF's the previous race, they started from the back of the grid with Haber in 34th and Sultana in 35th position of a field of 37 cars. Haber had a point to prove went with a competitive car finishing in 14th position and said "Overtaking 20 cars in 8 laps was really motiviating". Sultana said "after a slow start to race 2 [he] managed to find momentum to pass 22 cars to finish in 13th position." Sultana and Haber alike, both had high hopes after a successful Race 2 and teams got ready for Race 3 on Satruday at 9:55am AEDT.
Race 3 was reversed grid, the field was split into 3 groups and is based on lap times and points accumulated races 1 and 2 and each group was started 10 seconds apart. Haber started in the second group out of position 22 while Sultana started in the third group in 27th position starting among Bond, Scibberas, Ludbey, Klews, Fraser, Treseder, Young, Walsh, Woods, Uebergang, Duckworth and Pingel. An excellent start by Sultana saw him pass 3 cars off the start line, throughout the race he managed to narrowly avoid collision and move up a further 11 spots to finish in 13th position. Haber also had a great start he was cutting through the field quickly. Mid race he received information from his team that he was in 4th and fast approaching those ahead. Yellows flags rest. "Unfortunately the race was cut short and yellows flags restricted passing, I would like to of known what could of happened in the full race distances but I'm pretty happy with a podium finish" said Haber. He finished the race with an impressive 3rd place.
Race 4 was the final race for the weekend at 9:55am AEDT Sunday morning. All the points were tallied from races 1-3 to give the final grid positions. Thanks to great results for Haber in race 3, he was set to start out in 14th position while Sultana started out in 20th for the final race of the weekend. Another great start for Sultana saw him gain 4 positions off the start line with more moves to be made in the laps that ensued. An unfortunate incident at turn 9 between the 89 and the 111 car of Casuccio brought out the safety car and caused an early retirement for Sultana. Haber had a slow start to race 4 and encountered some tough competition with a few of the front runners. He was caught up with the incident between Sultana and Casuccio at turn 9 but managed through without any damage to finish the final race in 13th position.
Haber finished the weekend overall in 11th position despite a DNF in race 1, whilst Sultana having 2 DNFs still managed to finish in 27th overall. Haber said "[my] biggest rival is Kel Treseder, I want to prove myself against such a professional character. We both have similar sponsors, similar car designs and his in a Camaro I'm in a Mustang so theres always that battle." Sultana said he doesnt have a main rival for 2016, althogh he is determined to prove himself against some of the front runners in the series which includes Treseder as he has proven that he can also be fast and go up against those who have competed in the field in years before.Sultana and Haber both had great weekends, which saw some highs and lows for both teams but also yeilded some great results and positive motivation. Both drivers said "Bring on Phillip Island", which will be held on April 15,16 and 17 2016 in Phillip Island, Victroria.