Lanotec Hyundai Excels Kick Off in Fine Style

The Lanotec Hyundai Excel Vic State Race Series started with a bang at Sandown Raceway over the weekend, with a bumper field turning on two days of action-packed racing.

Overall for the weekend, Supercars enduro co-driver Jay Robotham claimed overall honours with a pair of race wins from the hard-charging Hugo Simpson, who won the finale, while Brad James claimed third for the meet after a consistent showing.

Polesitter James won the jump into the first turn of the opening 20-minute-long race, but Robotham forged his way into the lead at turn two, as Ed Narkiewicz spun two corners later.

As the battle between James and Robotham raged, Harry Tomkins was brought into the fight.

With 6 minutes left in the encounter, Tomkins forged his way into second at the final turn, while Tyce Hodge and Bradley Vereker joined the lead train.

Behind the front runners, an even more intense battle of six cars scrapped over positions six and back.

With 2 minutes remaining, Tomkins unsuccessfully attacked at the top of The Esses, before Robotham was able to break away to claim the ultimate win, with James coming out on top from a hectic last lap battle ahead of Tomkins, Hodge and Vereker, who were three wide at the chequered flag, split by less than a tenth of a second.

After starting at the back of the pack for the opener, Hugo Simpson continued his forward march in Sunday morning’s feature race and was in the thick of a four-wide battle for the lead at the first corner, with James emerging in the lead.

That advantage, however, lasted as long as Dandenong Road Corner, when James had a massive tank slapper, somehow reemerging onto the circuit without contact, with the walls or other machines, in fourth position.

Simpson meanwhile forged into the lead past Robotham at the start of lap two, as the safety car was called to retrieve the errant car of Tabitha Ambrose at the end of the back straight.

Ashton Cattach and William Sala came together at turn one, while within the last couple of minutes, Robotham made it back into the top spot on the back straight.

Simpson, however, didn’t settle for second, and attacked Robotham at turn one, at the end of the back straight, and into the final complex of corners, with Robotham just holding on for the win.

James finished third from Tomkins and Vereker.

Robotham led a mad scramble into the opening turn of the finale, with he, Simpson and James breaking away at the head of the field.

With less than 8 minutes remaining, Simpson made his way into the lead around the outside of the opening turn, while Jack Carpenter recovered from a high-speed spin in The Esses.

Robotham, however, retook the top spot at the end of the back straight, while Ethan Wilson came to grief at the same portion of the track later in the lap when he heavily backed into the wall.

Simpson retook the lead with an identical move at turn one, and with the race called short, was able to just hold on from Robotham and James, with Tomkins and Hodge a little further back.

The Lanotec Hyundai Excel Vic State Race Series is proudly supported by, Specialised Engineering, Brakes and More, Lodge Bros Stonemasons, Lucas Oil Australia, Racing Image and Lancefield Bakery.

The next round of the Victorian State Race Series will be held at Winton Raceway from March 16-17.

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