BEGG MAKES HISTORY AT LAKESIDE

BEGG MAKES HISTORY AT LAKESIDE.

Lakeside Park Raceway, Round 3, 3 June 2017

REPORT BY ZAK CABAN

After months of planning and preparation behind-the-scenes, the Bilstein Suspension Queensland Production Touring Car Championship made an historic first outing at Lakeside on the very same day.

With Cyclone Debbie leaving its mark on the South-East corner of Queensland, and Northern NSW, two drivers, including NSW series regular Greg Symes, were late scratching’s from the event.

Symes was due to field the only Mitsubishi in the field, but instead was left moving property and Buses, from within his own business, to higher ground.

Eight cars and ten drivers would make history at Lakeside Park, as the contested the first event in the all-new series, and the first Production Touring Car outing on Queensland soil.

BMW were tipped to dominate proceedings, with no less than six entries in the eight-car field.

Two of the BMW’s would be fielded by Brian Anderson and Gerry Murphy, providing the new series with a touch of familiarity, given their regular presence on the NSW grid over the years.

Qualifying A was topped by Karl Begg, while Qualifying B was topped by Brian Anderson.

A new era of Queensland Motorsport commenced when the lights turned to green for the start of the first Qualifying session, and it was rather appropriate that the man who played such an integral role in getting the series launched in the Sunshine State, Gerry Murphy, was the first man to take to the circuit, and record a qualifying time.

There was some confusion over how the grid for each of the afternoon sprint races would be determined, which is why we didn’t see a full blown effort from Begg in the second session.

There was a general belief that his Driver A Qualifying time would carry over, but that wasn’t the case.

He ended up recording the fourth fastest time, behind Anderson, Murphy and Bruce McKenzie, co-driving with Justin Anthony in the BMW 130i.

Beric Lynton did not record a time, which left him starting at the rear of the grid.

Earlier, in Driver A qualifying, Begg clocked a 59.1812, and was the only driver to record a lap under the magic minute. Brian Anderson, Gerry Murphy and Justin Anthony were the next three. Beric Lynton was 6th, which surprised a few, but it was still expected that he would fight Karl Begg for victory on Sunday.

Two sprint races over eight laps would decide the first championship points for the season, and it was Karl Begg who claimed the win in both, as he tabled his championship credentials with two stunning drives to victory in his BMW E92 M3.

Whatever problems Beric Lynton had in Qualifying were sorted very quickly, as he finished directly behind Begg in both outings.

In terms of class honours, Begg claimed A2 in both races. Lynton did the same in A1. Brian Anderson took line honours in Class B2. Class C went to Justin Anthony (Driver A) and Bruce McKenzie (Driver B). Class D went to the Toyota 86 of Michael James in Driver A, and the BMW of Bruce Forsyth in Driver B, while Tony Bonanno was first across the line in Class E on both occasions.

With that, Qualifying day was over, and the attention and focus was firmly on Sunday’s one-hour enduro.

Karl Begg goes in as race favourite, ahead of Beric Lynton, but anything can happen over the course of a one-hour race, but on the opening day, it was BMW and Karl Begg who dominated, sending the message that BMW would be hard to stop in the inaugural Bilstein Suspension Production Touring Car Championship throughout 2017.

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