Patient Hayman takes first Trans Am win in race two
Tom Hayman has taken his first National Trans Am Series win after an enduring battle with Pioneer DJ’s Elliot Barbour in race two at Queensland Raceway.
12 months on after he made his series debut, Hayman perfected a patient plan of attack to cross the line just under two seconds clear of his closest competitor – closing the gap to Lochie Dalton and series leader, James Moffat in the title race.
Starting in fifth, Hayman got off to a flying start alongside Barbour to find himself challenging the two front row starters and Racing Academy entries of Cody Gillis and Elliot Cleary.
A mistake from Cleary saw the 18-year-old sacrifice second place to both Barbour and Hayman, before the duo found themselves fighting for the lead for the remainder of the race.
Barbour defended the position all the way through to lap 17, where a patient Hayman would finally make the move on the inside of turn three and run with clean air in front of him for the remaining five laps.
“It was good – car was on rails all race. Hopefully, we can back it up tomorrow and have a good day,” Hayman said.
“It was obviously a long race, so I had a couple attempts on Elliot early in the race but it didn’t pay off, so I waited until he went off a bit and went for it in the end and ended up coming out first.
“I knew I had a bit of pace over him. In certain spots through one and two, we struggled quite a lot, it was just a matter of setting it up right and executing the move, which is exactly what I did.
“I think the win will set us up good for the rest of the weekend. We might have used a bit too much tyre in that race going for the win, but it’s always good to get your first win, so it was worth it.
“We’ll wait and see how we come out in race three tomorrow, but obviously if the win is there, then I’m going to go for it. However if we struggle a bit, then I’ll definitely try and hold on to a podium, I won’t try and fight for a win, but a win is the goal every race, so hopefully we can back today up.”
Second place is a personal best finish for Barbour, crossing the line two seconds clear of Sydney Motorsport Care’s Edan Thornburrow in third place.
Whilst Hayman closed the gap in the title race, series leader Moffat put in a brilliant stint to claim fourth place.
The Valvoline GRM driver found himself in an entertaining duel with a fast-starting TPS Group/Breeze Holiday Park’s Brett Holdsworth for sixth place, taking the position on lap 10 before using his experience to get past polesitter Gillis not long after.
Despite dropping four positions in the race, Gillis did well to claim fifth and continue his red-hot form from the last round at Winton Motor Raceway – where he finished with an outright podium.
Holdsworth would hold on for sixth place, finishing ahead of AWC’s Dalton, who did not have the race he would have wanted and lost some ground in the title race as a result.
Another frontrunner who had a disappointing outing was Cleary, who could only muster eighth place after starting on the front row. It will be even more disappointing after the youngster was in the lead of race one before it was suspended.
After looking strong on Friday, the returning Tim Brook was unable to make an impact on the race and had to settle for ninth place, while another returning driver and series veteran Mark Crutcher put in a stellar performance to round out the top 10.
The National Trans Am Series will return to the track on Sunday for their second to last race of the weekend at 12:05pm AEST.