SsangYong Utes
Saturday, Feb 2 11:40am
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Todd Prujean snatches SsangYong win in weekend opener

Todd Prujean has won the opening race of the SsangYong Racing Series at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park.


Prujean started off pole position with Christina Orr-West alongside, but it was Mark Mallard who got the jump from the second row and stole the lead into Turn 1.


Mallard crossed the line at the end of lap one with a handy lead, Prujean was second and Orr-West sat third after fending off Morgan Foster for the final spot on the podium.


Hedge got nerfed by the Aussie Driver Search-backed car driven by Paul Holland. He suffered a lock up into the Turn 7 hairpin and sent Hedge into a spin after bumper-to-bumper contact. A lap later he locked up again, but fortunately there wasn’t anyone in front to hit.


Australian driver Charlotte Poynting went for a ride through the grass on the exit of Turn 9 but managed to gather her ute back up. However, she was put under pressure by Lance Northcoat a few corners later.


At the front of the field, Mallard maintained his lead but the margin was beginning to narrow between he, Prujean and Orr-West.


A former Castrol Toyota Racing Series driver, Orr-West set the fastest lap of the race on lap three.


With two to go Prujean caught the Creme-backed car of Mallard for the lead. He covered the line into Turn 1 and the young gun couldn’t find a way by initially.


Mallard got wide out of Turn 9 and opened the doot to Prujean to get by. THe pair went side-by-side into the sweeper and Prujean got by. Mallard pushed to get back though and sat under the tray of Prujean down the back straight.


Mallard feigned right and tried to go around the outside of Prujean to get the place back, but the pass wasn’t on. Mallard suddenly slowed on the front straight and Orr-West blew by to take second. Mallard began to haemorrhage time to the leaders and came under pressure from third.


Mallard was rounded up by Morgan Foster onto the back straight and duly took the final place on the podium. Mallard managed to hold fourth as the checkered flag fell while Murray Brook, Kirk Stoneman, James Watson, Alexander Sherie, Tom Vanderloos and Deon Cooper completed the top 10.


Photo: Matt Smith