Kris 'Killa' Walton has won the first race of the 2014 UDC V8 Ute series, dominating the six lap sprint race at Highlands Motorsport Park this afternoon.
Quickest in all of the practice sessions and in qualifying, Walton also drew the number one starting slot for the first race in his Multispares Ford. At the lights he sprinted away from fellow front row starter Jeff 'Ripples' Kernohan in his Ford and never looked back, quickly getting into the 1.57 seconds bracket – a pace only the impressive Sam Barry was able to match.
"The main thing was to get away cleanly and be the first one through the bus stop. The tyre pressures came good but it is not easy round this track and if you make a mistake you are in the fence, so the focus was fully on our race and our pace and getting that right for all six laps. We're pretty happy though!"
Kernohan gave chase early on, but made a small mistake early on running wide at the hairpin and dropped to fifth, losing out to Mike 'Buzz' Lightfoot and 'Bazza' Barry in his first V8 Ute race on acceleration out of the corner. Lightfoot and Barry gave chase to Walton, but could not quite match his fierce pace.
As Walton continued to pull away from Lightfoot and Barry, so they edged away from the chasing pack, which contained Jeff Kernohan, Geoff 'SOS' Spencer, Glenn 'Coyote' Collinson in the new Ford FG Ute, Brett 'The Scud' Rudd, a fast-starting Peter 'Kaos' Ward and Elton 'Toon' Goonan, who was the only one of the fastest qualifiers to draw a low starting grid position. Try as he might though, Toon couldn't pass Ward and as Kernohan and Spencer backed up the pack.
With two laps to go the battle was well and truly on for fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth and Spencer, having made some suspension tweaks before the race, made a great move on Kernohan as the group piled into the bus stop chicane on the final lap. He made it stick and just held on for a well-earned fourth, with a pack of angry Fords and Holdens right behind him at the flag.
The first race of the 2014 championship was all about Ute ace Walton, however, and what the rest of the field will do to catch the flying Aussie.
Results here - http://www.mylaps.com/en/classification/2957512