Ryan Wood has returned to the top of the Dunlop Series podium with a convincing victory in this evening’s opening race at Sandown.
The Walkinshaw United driver, who will step up to the main game in 2024, started the day in convincing fashion, claiming pole with a best lap of 1:09.6140, 0.0929 seconds faster than Aaron Love.
An electrical issue late in qualifying for Jack Perkins forced him to pull over between Turns 9 and 10, resulting in a red flag and an early end to the session.
Love had also found trouble earlier in the run, getting stranded in the Turn 9 sand and requiring a tow out under red before returning to qualify second.
Series leader Zak Best was fast to get away from fifth on the grid in the evening’s race, taking the lead through Turn 1 while Wood held off Love and slotted into second.
A superb criss-cross from Wood at the exit of Turn 1 proved the difference, with the Kiwi retaking the lead and pulling clear of the field.
His lead extended to as much as seven seconds over the laps that followed, with the gap at the chequered flag sitting at just under six seconds.
Best kept Wood’s teammate Zach Bates at bay throughout the race to claim second and his extend his championship lead over Kai Allan, who finished fourth, to 84 points.
Wood’s victory sees him jump to third in the standings, 135 points off the lead.
The Dunlop Series returns for Race 2 qualifying at 11.00 am tomorrow, with proceedings getting underway at 2.35 pm.