Ryan Hansford has started his 2022 season with 2nd overall for the round at Sydney Motorsport Park for round 1 of the Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters series.
With the terrible flooding in Qld and NSW, the first Supercar round at SMP was extremely lucky to go ahead the weekend before last. Despite heavy rain in the lead up to the event Supercars took a punt on the forecast and they got it right. Showers over the 3 days meant the track conditions varied every time the cars went out, but the event got run.
Practice got underway Friday after lunch on a very wet track and given Ryan’s success at SMP last year he concentrated on working out where the wet track had grip and where it was slippery.
“The Multispares Torana feels fabulous in the wet and I really explored all of the track, trying the usual lines and the wide lines, as its most likely going to be wet over the weekend” said Ryan
“Normally I would be disappointed with 6th but I really didn’t have a crack at a full lap so looking at the lap times I’m confident in the car, so let’s wait and see what the weather brings for qualifying tonight under lights” Ryan added.
For qualifying the track had dried out but with the amount of water that had fallen over many days there were many sections that had rivers running across the track and there was no way it would be completely dry for a whole lap.
The 20 minutes for qualifying was all action, with the quickest 5 cars all having a turn at being the fastest. There was also a red flag for a crash, so all the cars came into pit lane and were released with just enough time for 2 or maybe 3 flying laps. Ryan had been quickest prior to the red flag but both Bowe and Johnson beat that on their first flying laps after the red flag. That info was relayed to Ryan over the pit to car radio and Ryan delivered with two fabulous laps both good enough for pole position and his best .66 of second faster than John Bowe in 2nd.
Check out both his laps to snare Pole position – https://youtu.be/u1nuz8M59aE
Race 1 was on the Saturday and the weather had cleared a little more, but the track still had plenty of water. As the race approached all the teams were constantly checking the BOM app and the sky to the southeast. Would it be wet tyres, or dry tyres and the big chat was all about tyre pressures.
“One of the unique things about racing in TCM is the Hoosier tyres” said Ryan. “Not only do different cars work at different pressures but one of the challenges is getting the tyres to work early in the race or later in the race. With water still running across many parts of the track we went with pressures to work early in the race, get a gap and then try hold onto the end” Ryan added.
It didn’t work…. The rear tyres overheated even though there was plenty of wet track, and Ryan finished 3rd.
“Four years into this TCM journey we are still learning”. We are talking 1- 2 pounds of pressure that makes the difference, but I just lost the grip and drive in the rears and lost a couple of spots. It was really tricky conditions that we didn’t have any data on, but we had a crack and it’s still good points.” Ryan after Race 1.
Race 2 was scheduled for Sunday morning, but the team woke to heavy rain and sadly the first 3 races had to be cancelled which included R2 of TCM.
The rain did start to ease mid-morning, so Supercars elected to continue with the event and TCM was soon gridding up for Race 3 on a wet track but with only light rain. Ryan and the team had the Multispares Torana adjusted for a full wet race and they were starting from the 2nd row.
As always, the field got away with a rolling start and it was really tight into turn 1 with 5 cars all fighting for the same bit of racetrack. Ryan got a good start but got boxed in behind Bowe and Miedecke, with the fast-starting Steve Johnson stopping a move down the outside. As the group swept into turn 2 the second XD Falcon of Marcus Zukanovic also made a brave move in the spray and got around Ryan. With the track fully wet and Ryan feeling the car under him had grip, he settled in behind the pack of 4 and spent a lap sizing up if he had the pace to move forward.
“I got a good start, but I just had nowhere to go after first trying to get between Bowe and Miedecke and I decided there was no point in doing a silly move. I felt good in the car and the front end had plenty of bite, so I just thought I have plenty of laps to pass them back.” Said Ryan
And sure enough, the pace of the Torana was good and it wasn’t long till he passed Zukanovic back and set his sights on Johnson and Bowe. Bowe was the first in trouble making the same mistake with tyre pressures and in the end it was an easy pass for Ryan. Johnson had pace so it took a surprise pass getting down the inside of him exiting the fastest corner on the track at turn one, which left Ryan on the inside for turn 2. Ryan then put his head down, and eyes forward to see if he could catch George Miedecke, and just as it was looking like he might catch him they through the chequered flag out a few laps early denying what possibly could have been a brilliant win.
And don’t forget to see all the updates on the Multispares Racing Facebook page.