TargaRacing’s Chris Gough was on the other side of the pit wall last weekend at the iconic Sandown Raceway. In a last minute call up West End Mazda’s W215 Motorsports Adam Dodd, who was fighting for the class championship, needed a co-driver for the final round of the Australian Manufacturers Championship. The race, which was held on the Sunday afternoon, was 3-hour endurance that incorporated pit stops for fuel and tyres.
Having never been to Sandown before nor ever driven the W215 Mazda 6 MPS, Chris was dropped in the deep end Friday when he hit the track for the first time. Due to a wedding, car owner Adam would not be arriving until the Saturday morning – just in time for qualifying.
The W215 Motorsport and TargaRacing team worked together on Friday to set the car up for the track and fine-tuned the suspension and steering set up over the course of the day. Saturday dawned overcast and cold but dry – suiting the turbocharged cars in the field. Qualifying consisted of one 20-minute session per driver and the team elected to run the older tyres for both sessions. By the end of both qualifying sessions the guys were separated by 2 hundredths of a second and scored pole ahead of the other championship rivals in the Renault Megane RS and BMW 130.
Early on race day again saw overcast skies however these had cleared to mostly sunny and cool by the time the 1.30 start came
around. Adam began the race and working to a predetermined pace set about keeping the opposition in view over the course of the opening laps. Before the race the team had decided a good strategy that offered various options due to safety car interventions and the like. Both pit stops for fuel and tyres went off without a hitch and Chris jumped in just after the half waypoint.
The mighty Mazda 6 powered on over the second half of the race, which included a great dice with the Renault Megane as both cars swapped, places several times. In the end the Renault brakes faded with the constant work stopping at the end of each straight and it was forced to pit for running repairs. Amazingly when it rejoined a few laps later it was just behind the Mazda 6 and the battle continued to the end of the race with the margin at they end just 3 hundredths of a second!!
In the end Adam and Chris finished an amazing 4th outright and 1st in class. Adam was also crowed the Class C Australian Manufacturers Champion.