Dontas makes strong impression in Adelaide V8 Ute opener
Just Car Insurance Racing’s Craig Dontas has made a strong impression in the opening round of the East Coast Bullbars Australian V8 Ute Racing Series after qualifying fifth and finishing inside the top four in the weekend’s opening two races, the Adelaide driver is now determined to return to his early season pace at the second round in Perth in May.
With a busy schedule throughout Thursday which incorporated two practice sessions and qualifying, Craig made early inroads in his Erebus Motorsport prepared Holden V8 Ute, finishing inside the top ten in both twenty minute sessions. Under a new format for qualifying for the Australian V8 Ute Racing Series, an open twenty minute session would determine the majority of the grid with a shootout for the leading Holden and Ford following it. The overall result placed Dontas in fifth for the start of the first race of the season.
In immense heat, Dontas made further gains throughout the first eight lap event of the weekend, working his way into fourth by the completion of the race. This result subsequently handed him a second row start for race two on Saturday morning, the first points scoring race of the weekend. An improvement in lap times in conjunction with a tight tussle for position saw Craig again finish fourth in race two. Despite his early weekend success, contact with the concrete wall at turn eight in the early stages of race three caused damage to the steering of the Just Car Insurance Racing Holden V8 Ute which would bring about a premature end to the weekend, with a DNF on lap three.
“We made a solid start to the weekend, being inside the top ten in both practice sessions which I was comfortable with, in particular knowing what areas we could work on to put us in a good position for the afternoon’s qualifying session. The times were incredibly close in qualifying, despite only being 0.2 seconds from pole position, we sat seventh, however under the new Holden vs. Ford format, that would place us in fifth for race one.”
“I was beginning to become very comfortable with the Just Car Insurance Racing Holden V8 Ute throughout race one, the Erebus Motorsport crew had done a great job in working to iron out any minor issues we had and that was reflected in our ability to secure fourth in race one, subsequently handing us a second row start for the first points scoring race of the weekend on Saturday.“
“Our overall lap times improved in race two and I was able to consolidate myself in fourth yet again which was a really good thing for us to bank some early season points. Unfortunately our luck ran out in the final race, it was a fierce battle for position within the top five, though a brush with the wall at the notorious turn eight caused some minor damage to the car and I was forced to retire on lap three. While we had the pace for a podium, it ultimately makes me more determined than ever to come out in Perth and strive for success.”
“I can’t thank the whole Erebus Motorsport team enough for their hard work and support over the weekend, and to all of my sponsors for their ongoing efforts. It was great to have so many of them trackside at Clipsal and I’m looking forward to getting back in the car for some testing ahead of Barbagallo in May.”
Round two of the 2015 East Coast Bullbars Australian V8 Ute Racing Series takes place at the Perth SuperSprint, Barbagallo, WA from 1-3 May with all races to be televised LIVE on FOX Sports.