18 car field as Spratt looks to seal title

It's the final round of the championship this weekend - and after three closely fought rounds, the man who has consistently been up front and finishing races is the man with the best shot at taking out the title.

Big news for this weekend is the size of the V8 ute field – a monster 18 cars. Lots of effort has been put in by existing teams, drivers and category management to grow the field and it’s paid off, with five new drivers this weekend, four of which are making their category debut.

Liam Porter has purchased the ex-Panorama Motorsport Ford Falcon BF and makes his debut, while other Falcon BF models will be running for Derek Tremewan and Brent Main.  Main ran a full season in the V8 Utes championship last season while Tremewan knows his way around Hampton Downs in his ex-Rod Dawson ute having been a member of the circuit's GT Club for several years. Another new Ford runner is Mark Weal who makes his debut in the ex-Simon Ussher BF Falcon. Short course NASCAR racer Joe Farre from the USA  is also on the entry list in a Holden which will be run alongside the Peter Ward ute by Jake Stoneman.

Championship leader Matt Spratt in the Primogrow Ford Falcon FG has had a solid season, finishing races, winning a few and scoring big points at each of the three rounds to date at Pukekohe, Highlands and Manfeild and as a result he's got a relatively comfortable 40 point margin over Glen Collinson in another FG Ford, the DNA Paints Panorama Motorsport ute out of Hamilton. Collinson won the first round but had a miserable trip to the South Island before bouncing back at Manfeild. It was Manfeild that was an even bigger disaster for Paul Manuell. Two DNFs for the former champion all but killed off his championship aspirations for 2019, but he'll be going no holds barred for race wins and the round win this weekend in the Super Freight Holden.

Danger man for all of the top runners is Andrew Porter in the Porter Hire Holden, who is another who's been both fast and consistent. He has some good momentum going from recent rounds, has tested recently at the Hampton Downs track and will be a formidable opponent for both Collinson and indeed Spratt as the final weekend of the 2018/2019 series unfolds.

Veteran racer Peter Ward would have hoped to be higher in the standings, as he's shown great speed and racecraft this season. He's only 8 points off second place in the championship though, and anything can happen so he is still in with much more than a shout.

Alexandra Whitley sits sixth in the points and is another who would have hoped to be higher. The series only female racer is  fast and consistent and can hold her own in even the roughest of battles. She could be a dark horse for a big weekend in the LDV Vans backed Holden.

It's a full year now since Brett Rudd had his big crash at Hampton Downs and he's been playing himself back into the game this season aboard the ex-Richard Moore championship winning Holden, now in Pallet Supplies and LOSCAM colours. He looked much more like his old self at Manfeild last time out and could be another ready to upset the applecart at a circuit he knows well. Geoff Spencer was up near the front at the Grand Prix meeting too, and will be looking to maintain that form this weekend.

Simon Ussher continues his progress and will be looking for a big result in the United Freight FG Falcon, while the Kernohans are both out in their KCH Fords. Jeff and dad Dave both had their moments at Manfeild and are always amongst the toughest to pass in the reverse top ten races. Dave Lowe had arguably his best weekend in the category at Manfeild and will be looking to build on that at Hampton Downs in the Ryco 82C Ford Falcon BF, while Stu Monteith will start his second weekend in the category in his Holden and will continue on his improvement curve ahead of a full campaign next season in V8 utes.