DEFENDING series champion Coleby Cowham strengthened his claim to secure a second consecutive club championship with a clean sweep at round three of the Queensland Saloon Car Series at Queensland Raceway on June 11 and 12.
A 13-car-grid took to the 3.12 kilometres Ipswich circuit, the first time since a contingent of Queensland-based drivers joined the Australian Super Six Touring Car Series for round five of their series at the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals meeting last year.
The Blue Oval contingent reigned supreme in qualifying, with the top three pace setters driving Ford Falcon AUs. Cowham in the Escape Energy Falcon qualified on pole (1:24.32), ahead of Shayne Hine (1:24.43), who continued his impressive run from the start of the year in the Spraytech Falcon and three-time champion Lindsay Kearns in third (1:28.44) in the Scott’s Rods Performance Exhausts Falcon.
Cowham drove away from pole to take the first race nine seconds ahead of his nearest rivals Kearns and 2014 series champion Gary Beggs (Holden Commodore VT) . After dicing for the best part of the last lap Kearns bested Beggs for second after a drag to the finish line. Hine, Matt Sharks (Ford Falcon AU) diced with each other with John McCleverty (Ford Falcon AU) keeping the pair on their wheels.
The top three remain unchanged in race two, with Shanks and Hine exchanging positions and James Kielly (Ford Falcon AU) overcoming McCleverty in the mid pack. New South Welshman Sam Lee (Ford Falcon AU), Leon Fletcher (Ford Falcon AU) and Brad Carr (Ford Falcon AU) brought up the rear of the field.
The reigning champion made it a hat-trick in a race three that went down to the final lap. Beggs passed and held the lead for the majority of the 10 lap race before Cowham nudged Beggs of the racing line to take the lead at turn three on the final lap. Shanks recorded his second consecutive podium finish with Kielly, driving the Ford Falcon AU previously raced by Dunlop Series driver Bryce Fullwood, moving two places forward on the grid. Hine, McCleverty, Lee, Fletcher and Carr brought fans to the pit wall on Dick Johnson Straight in a race that featured battles all the way down the grid.
Cowham completed his flawless weekend, taking the chequered flag in race four with Beggs repeating the dose with another second place finish and Kielly stepping onto the podium for the first time this year. Hine, continuing his consistent start to the club championship, capped off his weekend with a fourth place, followed by McCleverty, Lee, Fletcher and Carr in the finale with Shanks recording a DNF.
Cowham said besides the incident in race three, he was wrapped with his performance on the weekend.
“Good weekend, pole and four wins, I ad a bit of a dice with Gary (Beggs) in the third race there, gave him a bit of a punting unfortunately but we had a leaking brake caliper so that didn’t help either, but four wins is pretty good,” said Cowham.
The fourth round of the 2016 Queensland Saloon Cars Series will be held at Morgan Park Raceway, as part of the CAMS State Championship, on September 3 and 4.