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It’s Crunch Time For The V8 Utes Championship

The V8 Utes championship is on a knife edge heading into the conclusion of a season that has seen some of the closest racing to date. As a full field of twelve V8 Utes do battle at the season decider over the weekend of May 18-19th at Hampton Downs, there are potentially four serious contenders for the title.

Top of the pile is Brad Kroef - the reigning champion and the most consistent performer all season. Brad has pushed his P & I Pascoe-backed Ford Falcon FG ute to one pole, three wins and seven podiums putting him on top of the driver standings. Brad’s cool, relaxed demeanour off-track is at odds with his killer instinct on-track that sees him clinically and relentlessly overtake his way to the front, outpacing even the more-experienced drivers.

Yet just a few championship points behind in a similar Ford FG is his father Greg Kroef – a standout performer who’s notched up one race win and five podiums. Clearly crew-chief Vince Gee - who has an uncanny ability to read the conditions and make the right calls - has been a contributing factor in the Kroefs’ success.

Enjoying his first full-time season and just a few points back is Alex Fougere driving the Ward Demolition championship-winning Holden VF ute. Alex has managed two wins, 5 podiums with only minor electrical issues preventing him from amassing even more points.

Also within striking distance of the title is Phill Ross who’s thrashed the C & R Construction Holden ute to one race win, one round win and three podiums. Electrical issues were also a thorn in his side early in the season, but with these gremlins now behind him, expect a big showing from Phill in the final round.

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After suffering a bruising shunt at Hampton Downs in March, Simon Ussher is back with a score to settle. His Ford FD has received cosmetic surgery in the form of a new bonnet, right front guard, bumper and radiator, so his ute is now looking sharp and ready to rumble.

In a season where qualifying times have often been separated by a mere two seconds from first to tenth, we can expect to see more super-close racing as the V8 Utes race alongside the Super V8s.

Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday morning 18th May with Race One that afternoon. Sunday morning’s Race Two will be a reverse grid affair – a format that sees rampant overtaking, while Race Three and potentially the championship decider will be mid-afternoon. There’ll be no live television coverage – but of course, nothing comes close to the adrenalin rush of watching the V8 Utes trackside at Hampton Downs.

Words: Glenn Churches

© Scoop Media

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