A mixed weekend for Dontas in Darwin
Craig Dontas has experienced a mixed weekend for round three of the East Coast Bullbars Australian V8 Ute Racing Series. The weekend was highlighted by a top ten qualifying result and a robust recovery in race two to finish ninth at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway - with the next event fast approaching on the streets of Townsville.
Friday’s two practice sessions saw Craig record some competitive times, with very little separating the top runners in the field and the gap being just 0.8 seconds between Dontas and the fastest driver. A solid improvement both in position and in times for Craig in qualifying saw the Adelaide driver secure a 1:20.215, placing him 10th and below the previous lap record time. The result automatically placed Craig into the top ten shootout, making it the third appearance in a row for the Just Car Insurance Holden.
On the back of his impressive showing in qualifying, Craig was forced to retire from race one with an over heating engine due to contact on the opening lap which damaged the radiator. An impressive recovery in race two, starting 27th, saw Dontas rise to ninth by the completion of the longest of the three races over 14 laps. With the grid for the final race being based on race two results, Craig would start inside the top ten. Unfortunately Craig would not even complete a single lap as he was crashed into and wiped out by another competitor, with damage too severe to continue.
“We were feeling confident leading into the round and with the times being so close in practice, it proved that it was going to be a weekend that required the utmost commitment and hard work to be at the front of the field. It was a good feeling to be within the top ten in qualifying and to make it into the shootout. Despite the DNF in race one, I remained upbeat about our chances for the rest of the weekend.”
“It was a huge confidence booster to make it from 27th through to 9th in race two and that certainly put us back up in the running and proved that the Just Car Insurance Racing Holden V8 Ute had plenty of pace on board that would help us in race three. The incident on the opening lap in the final race was really disappointing and definitely hurt our chase for Championship points, the driver standards from some of these competitors is very questionable.”
“I feel for the boys for damage due to some careless driving by others. We definitely have the equipment to win races, the car is fantastic with race two proving that, the car will now be rushed back to Melbourne for urgent repairs ahead of Townsville.”
“I’m staying positive ahead of the next round in just three weeks in Townsville, knowing that we have the pace and the team are doing their utmost to ensure I can be at the front. Qualifying will be critical on a street circuit and we showed this weekend that we can be up there, so that’s definitely going to continue to be my goal.”
Round three of the 2015 East Coast Bullbars Australian V8 Ute Racing Series takes place at the Castrol Edge Townsville 400, Reid Park, Townsville, QLD from July 10-12 with all races to be televised LIVE on FOX Sports.