Ryan Hansford has finished 2nd overall to Steven Johnson in the 2023 Touring Car Masters series after a thrilling final round in Adelaide. The series has come down to the last round for the past 4 seasons. Ryan has finished 2nd three times and won the title in 2022.
With wet weather looming for the Thursday start to the weekend, Ryan was quickly out of the gate in practice and straight on the pace, claiming the fastest time.
After practice Ryan said, “The first practice session of the weekend is always tricky as most of the track is a public road and the surface is dusty and slippery”. “Some corners are like driving in the wet and the track gets faster and faster each lap. I am very happy with the car, but it looks like rain is coming for qualifying later today”
Sure enough, the rain arrived and whilst the team adjusted the car for the wet, Ryan qualified 6th, with the Multispares Torana not to his liking due to the changes made with the shock absorbers to be fast across the kerbs in the dry.
First up on Friday was the reverse grid “Trophy” race where some of the field is reversed, so Ryan was to start 9th. With the same points; to start and finish; for all competitors, the Trophy race is designed to give different drivers the chance to race at the front and get some TV time, while the faster drivers can race through the pack and see if they can get to the front. This comes with some danger of damage and Ryan’s tactic is to be cautious and around the first lap then start picking off the slower cars one by one.
Ryan got a terrific start and passed two cars before the chicane, and proceeded to put in a stella drive and grab the win.
“That was fun. By the end of the warm up lap, I could feel the boys had found the sweet spot in the set up so when I got a great start, I decided to have a crack and was able to pass all the cars in front of me and take the win. Usually, I am very cautious on the first lap and by the time I pass 4 or 5 cars the front cars are too far ahead, but today the Multispares Torana was really hooked up, so I was able to put some real fast laps from the start” Ryan said after the race.
In race 1, Ryan would start 6th but once again had terrific car speed and put on some brilliant passes, even around the outside, and got to the front. On the last lap, braking hard into the hairpin at turn 6, Ryan locked the rear tyres, had a half spin, and lost one spot to SA local driver Joel Heinrich. He crossed the line 2nd.
In race 2, Ryan also finished 2nd to Joel, after getting swallowed up at the start and fighting back from 5th at the end of lap 1. Ryan set the fastest lap of the weekend, just off the lap record.
Enjoy watching some amazing passes around the streets of Adelaide , by clicking on this link – https://youtu.be/KCbYzIGwyTg
Starting 2nd for Race 3, Ryan was able to stay on Heinrichs tail into the Senna Chicane and then pull off yet another pass around the outside into turn 3. With Plenty of rubber down on the track and the Multispares Torana feeling super-fast, Ryan decided to see if he could break the lap record. Stevie J had won the championship and Ryan had 2nd place secure. He quickly gapped Heinrich but the notorious turn 8 caught him out, clipping the inside kerb. Whilst most drivers would have jumped on the brakes and careered into the outside wall, Ryan stayed on partial throttle, steering the car sideways all the way to the wall and was one of only a handful of drivers to not write off their car after hitting the dangerous but thrilling turn 8. With the rear of the car damaged but still driving ok, Ryan got the Torana home in 6th place and 3rd for the round.
Here is a link to Ryan’s around the outside pass on Joel Heinrich – https://youtu.be/gdEt5mB3qRk
In 2024 TCM will be joining Supercars for all of the 6 rounds starting at Bathurst in February, so be watching Foxtel and Kayo for all the action next year.
And don’t forget to see all the updates on the Multispares Racing Facebook page.