NZTC
Sunday, Feb 11 05:44pm
AUTHOR: Matthew Hansen

Bargwanna avoids carnage to win BNT V8s Manfeild finale

Jason Bargwanna has claimed victory in the last race of the BNT V8s at Manfeild, after benefiting from an on-track incident that knocked André Heimgartner out of the lead. A fourth place was enough meanwhile for Nick Ross to win the round, as the series prepares to visit Hampton Downs. 

 

In dry conditions, the reverse-grid race started with the Class Two cars kicking clear (Liam MacDonald leading Robert Wallace and Chelsea Herbert). 

 

Behind them Class One fired away; Bargwanna and Heimgartner leading the grid. A fast starting Smith tried to get both of them up the inside with two wheels on the grass, but lost out in the braking zone, forcing him to assume third ahead of Nick Ross and Lance Hughes. 

 

After shadowing him for a few corners, Heimgartner took the lead from Bargwanna at Higgins, and then Smith grabbed second at the final corner. 

 

About this point, the light rain started to increase to a more moderate amount. On slicks, the field slipped and slid through the tricky infield, and the gaps between the top three all shuffled. Ross would have been up with them, but an off at the last corner dropped him down the order. 

 

Smith was the key driver out of that group. He appeared to make the most unforced errors, but also was the fastest in the group. The gaps between the three swung in the middle, but never swelled larger than a second. He was naturally the one that made the first move, diving inside Heimgartner at turn one. 

 

The move was unsuccessful, and saw Heimgartner get tipped into a spin. Smith's loss of momentum cost him too, as it opened the door to Bargwanna up the inside for first place — an opportunity Bargwanna didn't refuse. That effectively decided the race; Bargwanna leading Smith to the flag by 2.589 seconds. 

 

Smith's second place was in question, as the possibility of a penalty looms. Third place went to Hughes, with Ross recovering for fourth and the round win. Missing from the top four was Heimgartner. After his spin, the Camry had started to smoke heavily. Officials handed him the 'meatball' flag for the smoke, and on the penultimate flag he pitted out of third. He eventually returned to the track and finished fifth. 

 

In Class Two, Brock Timperley took his third win in three races after coming through the field. Early leader Liam MacDonald was second, and Matthew Podjursky was third. 

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