Major Mt Panorama incident puts a dent in the championship fight for Craig Dontas
CRC Racing’s Craig Dontas has had a serious run of bad luck at the Bathurst 1000 for Round 6 of the 2016 Australian V8 Ute Racing Series.
Kicking off the weekend on a high, Dontas finished Practice 1 and 2 on the Mountain in P8 and P5 respectively.
A strong Qualifying session in the #45 Ute set Dontas up for a P7 start to Race 1.
Dontas had a great start to the Race, before a big crash on lap one meant he was held under safety car for the majority of the Race.
As a result, Dontas was limited with 2 of 6 racing laps and only able to climb one place to finish P6.
“It’s frustrating; you need race time to pass cars, there was only two laps of actual racing but we got up there which is better than nothing but we would have moved much further forward if there was more race time,” Dontas said.
Race 2 saw Dontas taken out on the first lap at Griffins Bend and the Ute was damaged at high speed, ending Dontas' Race.
“Basically it was wrong place at the right time, we got taken out and put into the fence and tore the front out of the ute on the second corner,” Dontas said.
Sieders Racing Team worked extensively to prepare the ute for Saturday's closing race.
“The guys did an amazing job to put it all back together and we had a huge turnaround and it was fantastic for them to get it back out there,” Dontas said.
Race 3 was the final 6 lap race, with the rolling Grid meaning CRC Racing started from P16.
Dontas fought back to climb 6 positions and finish in P10.
“We started at the back and got back up to 10th after a bit of a struggle, we are thinking that we have a bit of a dodgy engine because it’s hard with straight passes but we did have speed but not enough,” Dontas said.
The CRC Racing Ute will return to the Sieders Racing Team Workshop to assess any Engine issues and ensure the Ute is 100% prepared for the Gold Coast 600.
Overall, it was a tough weekend for Dontas who could have closed the Championship Standings gap if he wasn’t plagued by a DNF Result.
“It’s frustrating when if we had the right speed we could have taken it to the leaders and finish at least 4th or 5th or something around there,” Dontas said.
“We were doing everything right, if we didn’t get taken out in the second race we would have been in the top 2 or 3 which would have given us the starting positions to defend in Race 3.”
Dontas is now sitting 4th in the Standings and the CRC Racer will have to fight in the remaining two rounds to climb back into the Top 3.
“To win championships we need to finish races and when people take you out they take that opportunity away from you which is very frustrating,” Dontas said.
Only 2 rounds remain in the 2016 Season now, the Castrol Gold Coast 600 and the Sydney 500.
Dontas will now prepared for Round 7 of the 2016 Australian V8 Ute Racing Series at the Gold Coast 600 on October 21-23.