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RESULTS: Tuesday Night Mixed League: V8 Supercars International, Round 8 @ Bathurst

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bathurst – The holy grail of Australian motorsport. Where the greats - locally and around the world come to do battle on one of the world’s most demanding circuits. At the Sydney Racecentre store, it would be the domain of the V8 Supercar International League finale. With the two championship leaders – Matt Refalo and Michael Gray,  a mere four points away from each other, it would prove to be a nail-biting round to the end!


Racecentre hot-shot, David Lord stepped in for the final round to test his metal against the well-seasoned league competitors. Stamping his authority early on, David set pole position with Matt the quickest of the usual runners. The beginning of a series of bad starts dropped David down the field whilst Matt and Jeremy Pernesz surged to the front. Most of the first lap saw the two race side-by-side, which was absolutely thrilling to watch. Unfortunately, Poland Lau made contact with an immovable concrete barrier and pitted for repairs, dropping him to the back of the field. Matt had a spin at forest elbow, but in the confusion was collected by championship contender, Michael and Dan Maher... Luckily, all were able to continue. Tyre wear and as a result, tyre conservation were qualities to have even in the sprint race. Some competitors found they had to pit after just a few laps! Taking advantage of this, Dan found himself in second place, but was unlucky to have a quick spin which relegated him to fourth with two laps to go. Leaving the melee behind him, Jeremy stormed home for a convincing win.


David set pole again with Matt alongside on the front row. Michael was fourth, directly behind his main competition. David’s second smokey start in a row dropped him down and saw an almost identical first-lap scrap, this time involving Jeremy and Michael. Lots of paint swapping proved just how tight the field was bunched, yet no-one could be faulted for any aggressive driving. A slight mistake by Michael at Murray’s Corner saw him swiftly drop to third from the top spot on lap two, however made the places back after passing David and Jeremy who both spun. Matt meanwhile, was having a quiet race in second spot, trying to keep pace with Michael. In the end, the gap was just a little too big and Michael took the chequered flag by a cool eight seconds over Matt. There was still hope for Matt to regain the points lead for the round, however it would take a miracle to topple Michael from his new-found form.


David made it three from three in the race for pole with Michael and Matt second and third on the grid respectively. Split by 0.4 seconds in qualifying, tensions were high as the drivers focussed on the job ahead. Another clean start by all saw the field trail Michael for the first lap. Matt had a first lap scare – touching… no wait, clobbering, the wall at Griffin’s bend. Luckily, he regained composure and the car didn’t appear to be heavily damaged. Whilst the race took on a slightly processional feel, the pit stops enabled Scott Durham to make an appearance at the front. Gunning for a one-stop strategy, his pit entry went to manure when he mimicked Larry Perkins and spun on one of the kerbs, losing valuable seconds. Poland unfortunately had a large shunt at Reid Park which ended his race. Michael, David and Matt swapped fastest laps, staying within three seconds of each other the whole time. However, with Michael in the lead, there wasn’t much Matt could do unless the championship leader made a mistake or had a mechanical failure. Luckily for Michael, the driver and car kept it together to cross the line first and thus clinch the 2012/2013 Racecentre V8 Supercar International Series Championship (try saying that ten times fast)! The jubilation on Michael’s face was apparent, however the great sportsmanship between himself and Matt was a great spectacle to see. Gracious in defeat, Matt certainly put in a gallant effort to stem the tide.

The season had its fair share of ups and downs, however the skill, improvement and excellent driving behaviour displayed by all the drivers was something to be proud of. Not one additional penalty had to be given by the race stewards due to unsatisfactory conduct or the like throughout the whole season; a true testament to the character of the Sydney crew. Some fierce racing was on display and it proved that even though the cars were mainly run on “international” circuits, the championship kept on surprising and entertaining. I thank all the drivers, whether they raced one or all eight rounds for their participation – it was a pleasure to be a part of. As they say – onward and upward!


Round Winners Round 1  Round 2  Round 3  Round 4  Round 5         Round  6      Round 7  Round 8 
Scott Durham 7 5 0 8 5 5 8 5
Poland Lau 3 0 4 4 3 4 4 2
Dan Maher 4.5 6 0 5 0 2 3 3
Michael Gray 10 10 6 6 8 8 5 10
James Kyte 4.5 8 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sam Owen 0 2 5 3 2 3 2 4
Jeremy Pernesz 0 4 8 10 4 6 10 6
Mark Kearon 0 0 0 3 6 0 0 0
Matthew Refalo 7 6 10 0 10 10 6 8
Overall Leaderboard Total
Michael Gray 63
Matthew Refalo 57
Jeremy Pernesz 49
Scott Durham 44
Poland Lau 24
Dan Maher 23.5
Sam Owen 22
James Kyte 12.5
Mark Kearon 9

By: Ryan Bestulic


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