9 September 2023 | General

Tilley streak continues with Sandown thriller win

JAMIE TILLEY has claimed a dramatic and unpredictable Kumho V8 Touring Car Series opener at Sandown, winning one of the wildest races of the season. 

A light rain shower just prior to the start of the race caused chaos as the field launched into 17 laps of Sandown on a slick Kumho control tyre.

Polesitter Jude Bargwanna jumped into the lead, storming to the front behind a traditionally fast-starting Jim Pollicina.

That lead didn’t last long, however, as wet conditions at Dandenong road saw the ultra-experienced Pollicina sweep through to the lead.

Tony Evangelou was the next to take point – he passed Pollicina into turn one at the start of the second lap to make it three leaders in under 3.5 kilometres.

Tilley was also on the move after a slow start, having crossed the line fourth at the end of lap one.

He had moved to second by the end of lap two and then pounced for the lead on the fourth tour, jumping to the front of the field.

The recovering Bargwanna was not to be dissuaded, however, charging back to second by the fifth lap of the race.

As the circuit dried, he applied the pressure to Tilley as the pair battled for the lead with Hislop and Pollicina in close company behind.

The key moment came on lap 7 when Tilley locked a left front brake at turn one, running wide off into the escape road and allowing the Anderson Motorsport driver past and into the lead, Tilley recovering to second.

Bargwanna then gradually pulled away out front before he clipped a kerb at turn three, the moment unloading his Falcon and sending him spearing into the tyre wall on the exit of turn four.

Though his engine was still running, the championship leader was unable to recover his Falcon and was forced out of the race.

That left Jamie Tilley in the lead behind the Safety Car, with the race finishing under yellow.

Ray Hislop finished second and Jim Pollicina third, while Antonio Molluso recovered superbly from a slow start to finish fourth, while Tony Evangelou dropped back to fifth by the finish. Jason Foley, Tony Auddino and rookie Andrew Cook completed the runners, with Bargwanna a non-finisher.

With the series paying 40 points for a race win, Jamie Tilley’s win provisionally brings him to within 7 points of Jude Bargwanna’s series lead heading into tomorrow’s two races – both to be broadcast live on Stan Sport.