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Jun 06, 2014 - 07:33 AM
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Hot Field Ready for TCM Thunder Valley 100 in Darwin
Posted by: newsla on Jun 06, 2014 - 07:32 AM
Sports Cars
Hot Field Ready for TCM Thunder Valley 100 in Darwin


ACTION at the pointy-end of the ENZED Touring Car Masters field is likely to be as hot as the weather when the series returns to the Top End at the SKYCITY Triple Crown V8 Supercars event in two weeks time.

 

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The Shannons Thunder Valley 100 will be the third round of the 2014 series and the event features a strong entry across the three race format.

28 cars representing five different brands and 13 different models are entered for the trip to the top end.

| ENTRY LIST - Click here.

Three different drivers won the three races at the series most recent round at Winton Raceway in May and five different names have featured at the top of the outright results sheets so far this season, from six races contested.

The competition at the front of the field is likely to be just as competitive when the series returns to Darwin for the seventh time, the challenging 2.87km Hidden Valley layout suiting different types of cars across its distance.

The V8-powered muscle cars love the 1.1km long front straight, whilst the more nimble Porsche’s delight in the twisty bits that make up much of the lap distance.

Amanda Sparks returns to the series for the first time this year following surgery on her wrist during the offseason, running the sister 1973 Porsche 911 RS to husband, Greg Keene.

The Thunder Valley 100 will mark the fourth anniversary of the husband-wife team competing head to head for the first time – their on-track rivalry commencing at the Darwin event in 2010.

Porsche’s are a proven commodity at Hidden Valley with Michael Almond qualifying his 911 third – behind only Bowe’s Mustang and Greg Crick’s Charger – last year. Keene qualified fourth outright at Winton recently.

John Bowe is the ENZED TCM king of Darwin, amassing an incredible record across six series visits to Darwin.

The Tasmanian former V8 Supercars champion has won three rounds, ten races (of 18) and qualified on the front row every year that TCM has headed North – scoring pole on five of the six occasions.

Bowe and long-time Touring Car Masters rival Jim Richards have forged a strong Darwin rivalry, too – the pair having locked out the front row on four occasions since 2008, Bowe in front of Richards three of the four times.

The pair battled one of the closest ever TCM race finishes when the series first visited in 2008, Bowe edging Richards by just 0.04s in the final race of the inugural Darwin round.

Four different drivers won the first four ENZED TCM Rounds at Hidden Valley, Bowe having to wait until 2012 to repeat his first-up round win when the series first travelled north in 2008.

Between then, two-time champion Gavin Bullas (2009), Richards (2010) and Andrew Miedecke (2011) took the big trophy home before Bowe slammed home back-to-back wins in 2012 and 13.

However, Bowe’s Darwin dominance is likely to be tested next week with a host of strong contenders all shaping up with winning potential.

Despite running in a different class, ProAm runner Tony Karanfilovski was in top form at Winton and recorded his first ever outright race win in the series driving his Ford Mustang TransAm – a car similar to Bowe’s entry.

Strong pace from Ford Falcon XB Coupe runners Keith Kassulke and Eddie Abelnica in the opening two rounds has them on the list of ‘potential winners’, the wide-open expanses of Hidden Valley set to suit the big aussie hardtops having been relatively constrained in the opening two rounds at Adelaide and Winton.

Whiteline Transport Camaro racer Andrew Miedecke won the 2011 Darwin Round, taking two race victories in the process. 2010 Darwin winner Jim Richards returns in his faithful Falcon Sprint that offers perhaps the best all-round package for Hidden Valley, balancing the need for straight-line grunt and strong handling perfectly.

Tony Hunter's Chevrolet Monza 2+2 and Territorian Bruce McLeod’s XA Falcon Superbird will both make their respective Darwin debuts at the Hidden Valley Event.

The Seven Network will cover two of the weekends three races live as part of their extensive weekend coverage across June 20-22.


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