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The sixth round of the Touring Car Masters series was run at Phillip Island at the weekend and while Jim recorded competitive times in the Shannons AMC Javelin he had to settle for 8th place in each of the three ten lap races.

In the two practice sessions on Friday Jim finished 5th and 7th on the fast flowing circuit with times that indicated the racing at the front was going to be close.

That was reinforced in qualifying where Jim finished 6th behind John Bowe in the Torana, Jason Gomersall in his Torana, Glenn Seton in the Mustang, Eddie Abelnica in the two door Falcon and Adam Bressington in the Chevrolet Camaro.

While Bowe blitzed the field only one second separated the next five cars and it was obvious a good start would be essential just to maintain position let alone improve on grid position.

Not surprisingly there was a scramble down to the tight turn four and when Brett Youlden in the Monaro made a dash down the outside followed by Steve Johnson in the GT Falcon Jim found himself back in 8th and unable to improve as those in front were recording similar times.

Abelnica scored an impressive win from Bowe and Seton with Seton recording a new TCM lap record but interestingly the first eight cars all got within six tenths of the Seton time to again demonstrate how close the racing was.

In the second race Bowe won narrowly from Seton with both drivers breaking Seton’s short lived time and then there was a gap back to a charging Johnson.

All six drivers from Johnson back to Jim in 8th recorded fastest laps that were only seven tenths apart making in virtually impossible to make up positions.

The final reverse grid race saw Jim start from 11th on the grid which was further back than expected but he had a good run and at the end of the race was 8th again with Bowe winning from Tony Karanfilovski in the Mustang and Johnson again third.

Overall for the weekend Bowe finished on top with 166 points from Abelnica and Seton who were tied on 158 points from Johnson on 136 and Jim on 122.

The top three for the weekend are also in the same order in the standings with Bowe on 941, Abelnica on 874 and Seton on 869 with Jim in 6th on 636.

“It would have been good to finish higher up in each race but overall I’m happy with the weekend. We came away without any damage and all we need to do is change the rear axle ratio and do a general spanner check and we are ready to for the next round”. said Jim.

The penultimate round of the series will be at Bathurst in four weeks time as a support for the Bathurst 1000 Supercar race and for the Australian TCM teams there will be added pressure with at least 16 New Zealand cars coming across the Tasman to compete at the mountain.

The NZ cars run to a different set of technical regulations to the Australian series and the top NZ drivers are expected to be very much on the pace on the Bathurst track.

“The cars have larger diameter and wider wheels as well as more horsepower and lighter weight so they should be very quick. The one advantage the Australians have is their years of experience of racing at the circuit and I would expect our leading drivers to provide plenty of competition”. said Jim.

There has always been fierce rivalry between NZ and Australia and with over 40 cars expected to line up for the three races it’s set to become one of the highlights of the weekend.

Apart from major sponsor Shannons Jim is also supported by Adrenalin, Leatherman Tools and Porsche.

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