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Photos: Fight in the night – Australian Manufacturers Championship

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We are at the Shannons Nationals this weekend and here we take a look at the ‘Fight in the Night’ – a 200km race for the Australian Manufacturers Championship – run at night.  It was an interesting affair with a massive timing and scoring balls-up where the race had to be halted for a short period to readjust the order.  Otherwise it was a great race…

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The annual Shannons Nationals ‘Fight in the Night’ for the Australian Manufacturers Championship has lived up to its billing, with a wild night at Queensland Raceway.

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Garry Holt and Stuart Kostera edged out impressive rookie Aaron Seton after a late-race battle between the pair of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions on a cool and crisp evening at the 3.1km circuit near Ipswich, taking both the outright and Class A win.

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The race was an often confusing affair with several lengthy Safety Car periods and even a brief race suspension to re-order a jumbled field all featuring throughout – however there was nothing to stop the Eastern Creek Karts crew from grabbing a second ‘Fight in the Night’ win.

Once the field was sorted the leading pair battled for several laps before Kostera pulled away in the #20 Eastern Creek Karts Evo to grab the win from the young Seton and the #33 Pro Duct Evo.

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Matt Cherry finished third outright in a brand new Kintyre Racing Audi TT RS and local car dealer Jake Camilleri posted a giant-killing performance to finish fourth outright and first in Class C in his Grand Prix Mazda supported Mazda 3 MPS.

Father-Son combination Rob and Shane Marshall rounded out the top five in the Melbourne Performance Centre Evo, one lap behind the winners at the end of a dramatic 200km race.

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The Class B victory went to the brothers Sherrin, with Iain bringing home the #18 Sherrin BMW despite a failing turbo in the final 15 laps amongst a race of attrition for their Class B counterparts, while Class D was taken out by an ecstatic Andrew Turpie and Grant Phillips in the Pedders/Grafico Toytoa 86 after an intense battle with class compatriot Kevin Herben and the Kandi Warehousing Honda Integra.

QUOTEBOARD – FIGHT IN THE NIGHT AT QUEENSLAND RACEWAY

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Class A and Outright Winners: Garry Holt and Stuart Kostera – #20 Eastern Creek Karts Mitsuibishi Evo X

Stuart Kostera

“It was a fantastic scrap (with Aaron Seton). The person in front has the hard bit, because for the person behind they are the brake marker! He did a great job. It was fantastic and a really good sprint race at the end. It was really good fun – I have never won at night, so having a win is great!”

Garry Holt

“It was a wild race. Young Aaron drove really well, and I just went up to Glenn (Seton) and told him that. The car was really good. It took four or five laps for it to come on but when it did, it was bloody good. Racing in the night isn’t easy, but Stewy and the team did an amazing job. Out of the three (night races his entry has won) it was probably the best one. This is a fantastic event, it is just great – it is so different racing at night, it has a whole different ambience to it, it is just fantastic and there should be more of it!”

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Class B Winners – Iain Sherrin and Grant Sherrin – #18 Sherrin Rentals BMW 135i

Iain Sherrin

It is great to have the class win, we haven’t lost a round yet this season so that is good, and now we just have to keep trucking on. We lost the turbo at the end there, so for the last 15 laps we were without turbo and just kept going down and down the field. Hopefully tomorrow will be better, it won’t be as dark out there! Hopefully we can sort out our issues, and look forward to tomorrow.”

Grant Sherrin

“I am pretty happy besides the car issues obviously. Having the class win is good. My stint probably wasn’t all the best but it is dark, it is pretty testing out there, and it took a bit to get used to in the first few laps to get a rhythm going. We had a different strategy which we should have just stuck to it and we would have been all right but we went and changed it as didn’t think the safety car would be that long but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter anyway. We are certainly looking forward to getting back out there in the daylight and hopefully we can get the car sorted to be in amongst it tomorrow.”

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Class C Winner – Jake Camilleri – #36 Grand Prix Mazda Mazda 3 MPS

“We had a really good run and everything went to plan, the main thing was that under the safety car we were able to do our compulsory pit stop and our fuel stop back to back which worked out well. We did have a couple of little issues with the car with a funny engine misfire and some brake issues so we had to nurse it a bit but otherwise it was all good and still quick, and we can’t wait till tomorrow!”

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Class D Winners – Grant Phillips and Andrew Turpie – #86 Pedders/Grafico Toyota 86 GTS

Andrew Turpie

“We are very pleased, we have been chasing qualifying speed all year, for the first time this round we were so very close which was great and then we had race pace which we have been struggling with. Grant did a great start, we were following our plan and our strategy worked really well with the pit stops and safety car.  (After all the confusion) we had an absolutely cracking battle (with Kevin Herben), our car is really good under breaks, it is lacking a little horsepower but what we lost on the straights we made up for under brakes and it was a really good toe-to-toe battle. For the first time this year we can go home with our heads held high and saying, we deserved that, well and truly.”

Grant Phillips

“For me the race start was good, we kind of had a bit of a battle with the Class C Karadimas car which allowed Kevin to get away from us there but once we got past him I could start to reel Herben in a bit, then he pitted and that gave us the lead of the class. Then from there our plan was to try and wait for a safety car which happened and we came in and did a driver change. At that point I handed it to Turps and he did all the work from there, so my end of the race was all pretty simple really.  We are just so proud to have won.”

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By Sam Tickell,  August 2014

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