Paul "Auto' Manuell took out Race 1 in style at the third round of the PORTERGROUP V8 Ute Championship at Hampton Downs today, taking a lights to flag victory and bringing his championship challenge back to life after his dramas at Manfeild in the previous round.

Having secured pole position in his rebuilt Partmaster Super Freight Holden, Manuell made a clean getaway at the lights and was never headed. He will have been very glad of the clean run as there was plenty of drama behind, however.

Championship leader Richard 'Danger' Moore made a phenomenal start in the Mitre 10 Trade Holden, hooking it up and launching himself from fourth up to second place past Andrew 'Hireman' Porter and Glen 'Coyote' Collinson with some ease and even having a look down the inside of Manuell as the field poured into Turn 1.  He quickly chose discretion ahead of valour however and focussed on his second place as Manuell made good his getaway, building on his points lead ahead in the title race.

Behind Moore it was all action as Porter and Collinson diced for third and a further midfield battle raged behind them. It all ended badly however, with Porter hitting Collinson heavily as the two utes approached Turn 4. Porter carried on with heavy frontal damage, but Collinson was spun out onto the sand instantly and although he got going again with relatively light damage, he was right at the back of the field with his second place in the championship chase looking seriously compromised.

Through it all into a fine third place came Matt 'Stinger' Spratt in the Primogrow Ford Falcon FG, having started from the back after controversially not being timed in qualifying as a result of transponder problems. He calmly passed ute after ute, did it cleanly and was consistently one of the fastest cars, even through traffic. His fist pump at the line was well justified and proof if it was needed that had he undertaken the full championship this year, he would have been a very serious threat.

Alexandra' Skippy' Whitley was another to suffer bad luck in the race. Once again she emerged from the early drama seemingly unscathed to be holding a comfortable third before something went wrong with the LDV Holden prompting 'torque steer that wanted to fire me off the track'. She sensibly opted for the safety of its where a wobbly rear wheel and possible bearing failure were diagnosed.

Behind the top three Brett 'The Scud' Rudd enjoyed another strong race driving to fourth in the Pallet Supplies Holden, while Peter 'Kaos' Ward looked to be recapturing some real form with a solid drive to complete the top five. Chris 'Hammertime' Hanley raced well to sixth, back in a Placemakers Holden for the second half of the championship, while Jason 'Mario' Land provided some compensation for Panorama Motorsport with his best ever drive in the championship to take out seventh.

Team Kernohan locked out the next two places, with 'Dirty' Dave in eighth and Jeff 'Ripples' in ninth, with Geoff 'SOS' Spencer a hobbled tenth after clutch issues during the race. Ripples and SOS will start from the front row in Sunday morning's Reverse Top Ten format encounter.




1.            Paul Manuell                    Super Freight Partmaster             Holden

2.            Richard Moore                  Mitre 10 Trade Racing                  Holden

3.            Matthew Spratt                 Primogrow                                   Ford Falcon FG

4.            Brett Rudd                       Pallet Supplies Racing                  Holden

5.            Peter Ward                       Ward Demolition                          Holden

6.            Chris Hanley                     Placemakers                               Holden

7.            Jason Land                      Panorama Motorsport                     Ford Falcon BF

8.            Dave Kernohan                 KCH Racing                                 Ford Falcon BF

9.            Jeff Kernohan                   KCH Racing                                  Ford Falcon BF

10.          Geoff Spencer                  Coresteel Buildings                        Holden

11.          Glen Collinson                   Panorama Motorsport DNA            Ford Falcon FG

12.          Brent Main                         Ryco 82C                                    Ford Falcon BF

13.          Alexandra Whitley             LDV                                             Holden

14.          Andrew Porter                  Porter Hire                                     Holden