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Good start for Round 3, but is it series over for Cramp?

Darren

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CVW Manta Racing travelled to Eastern Creek last weekend to contend Round 3 of the STS Turbo Australian Performance Car Championship complete with new 2006 partner for this round, SEI Carbide. After enjoying a relaxed and quick practice session on the Friday the team were confident about Saturday’s qualifying session. The car was performing well and Steve Cramp was consistently sitting in 2nd spot with a large gap back to the rest of the field when the team decided to call it a session and pulled the car back in. The degree of competitiveness in the category was apparent though when the team were approached and challenged to beat then series leader Holt in the Mitsubishi Evo. Cramp was eager to take up the challenge and returned to the track where he posted the fastest time of the day before returning to the pits. Not to be out done Floyd (HSV) and Holt kept going and secured positions 1&2. Cramp’s team was by this stage concentrating on Race 1 for Sunday morning.

With a good start, Cramp maintained the third position he started in - a solid result and a good strategic position for the next race.

In Race 2, Cramp passed Floyd and moved into 2nd position. Lynton (BMW) and Lillie (HSV) pulled in closer and when the group took to the hairpin turn, an unsuccessful move by Lillie to overtake on the inside resulted in a hit to Cramp. This allowed Floyd, Lynton and Morcom to all move through, until Floyd and Morcom came together and Cramp was able to take advantage to reclaim some positions and eventually finish the race in 4th place.

A top position in Race 3 would have seen CVW Manta Racing on the podium for the round and it was the team strategy to go all out for the win. However, as Cramp maintaining 4th position, it appeared that Morcom directly in front was having difficulty with grip on the track. Just prior to the bridge, Cramp decided to use this and took his chance to move through while Morcom’s car was drifting, the two cars touched and Cramp backed off as the other car went into a spin. When trying to manoeuvre past ths another collision caused Cramp’s car to pirouette landing on the left hand corner and rolling three times before resting on its roof. It is estimated the car would have been travelling at approximately 150 km and although battered and bruised, Cramp escaped lightly.

The HSV did not fare as well and is a virtual write off. “It’s coming back to the workshop by the end of this week” a very subdued Cramp explained. “We will strip it down to the shell. The roof and pretty well everything from the windscreen forward will need to be replaced. My first thought was that our series is over, which is so disappointing as we have had an incredible amount of support from our long standing partners to get us here. In reality, it probably still is the case, however we will be looking at every option we have to try to get the car ready for the rest of the season. We don’t care how much work we need to put into it, the team is prepared to work around the clock for as long as it takes. It’s really a matter of whether we can come up with the funding. The category and other competitors have been very supportive, they really want us there. We’ll be doing the evaluation early next week, (the car will go straight to the bodyworks), to see how much we actually need. This thing flies around Phillip Island, Mallala and Symmons Plains which are all coming up. I’d hate for all of us, the team and our partners, to miss out on that”.

Round 4 of the championship will be held on August 19th – 20th, 2006 at Phillip Island.
 
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