Sunday, 10 March 2013

Corse trifecta in Radical opener

Radical Cup stars Nick Kelly, Neale Muston and Ash Samadi celebrate at Sydney Motorsport Park Radical Cup stars Nick Kelly, Neale Muston and Ash Samadi celebrate at Sydney Motorsport Park Good Publicity photo

Good Publicity client Corse Motorsport enjoyed its most successful race weekend on March 9-10, with wins and major placings at two meetings in different States!

Neale Muston, Ash Samadi and Nick Kelly scored a trifecta in the Radical Australia Cup opening round at Sydney Motorsport Park, while at the Phillip Island Classic, Terry Lawlor beat former V8 Supercar ace Mark Skaife to win the last of four Group A & C touring car races!


Neale, Ash and Nick, driving their new SR8 Radicals, dominated the RAC round, which was part of the massive two-day Top Gear Festival Sydney. The series for the British-built Le Mans-style sports cars included the V8-powered model for the first time, alongside the familiar four-cylinder SR3 version.


As the defending SR3 champion, Neale predictably set the pace in Friday’s two first practice sessions, with Nick and Ash not far behind. But qualifying on Saturday morning was a lottery. Finding a clear lap on SMP’s full combined 4.5km ‘Brabham’ circuit was a tall order, compounded by the session being split into two consecutive 10-minute mini-sessions.


The first session was for starting positions in the first of two 15-minute sprint races, and the second session was for the 50-minute mini-enduro. Neale was continually held up by slower cars in the first portion, and had to settle for second fastest time, a half-second off pole position. But he blitzed the second stanza to score pole by a staggering 2.7 seconds!


Ash and Nick shared the Corse team’s qualifying runner-up bragging rights – Ash in the first session, and Nick in the second. Both were still fine-tuning their cars’ set-ups after limited testing, but Ash had a great excuse for his first session time: A delicate part of his anatomy was trapped between the crutch straps of his safety harness!


“It was agony every time I braked!” he joked.


Race 1 on Saturday afternoon began with Neal following pole-sitter Nathan Antunes from the rolling start. But that only lasted until Nathan slid wide at the hairpin, three-quarters of the way around the first lap, and the red Excalibur Racing SR8 took the lead.


Neale bolted away from the field to win by nearly 20 seconds, with Nathan second, Ash third and Nick fourth. He had another comfortable all-the-way victory in the second sprint race on Sunday morning, this time with Nick second and Ash third.

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 Ash just beats a fast-finishing Nick to the finish line in Race 3. [Good Publicity photo]

Sunday afternoon’s mini-enduro made it three out of three for Neale. The only time he lost the lead was when he pitted early during the compulsory one-minute pit stop ‘window’, but he was back in charge after the other drivers had made theirs.


He crossed the finish line 30 seconds ahead of Ash, who just held off a fast-finishing Nick by a tenth of a second! The overall results put Neale first in the RAC pointscore, Ash second and Nick equal-third with Nathan Antunes and his co-driver John Corbett.


Corse owner Mick Mitchell was thrilled with the results from the opening round.


“This would have to be one of our most successful race meetings since Corse opened 20 years ago,” he said.  “All three drivers all did a tremendous job. The SR3 is as quick as a V8 Supercar at most circuits, but the SR8 is another step up – close to a Formula 3 openwheeler.


“Neale was always going to be in with a good chance of winning, given his level of skill and experience in these cars. He drove very fast, as he always does, without putting a wheel wrong. But Ash and Nick were just as impressive, considering Ash hadn’t raced a Radical before, and Nick only did a few rounds of last year’s series.


“It’s worth bearing in mind that none of them had driven on the full Sydney Motorsport Park circuit before either!”


The second round of the 2013 Radical Australia Cup series is just two weeks later (March 22-24), again at Sydney Motorsport Park but on the 3.93km 'Grand Prix' circuit.



Points after Round 1 – Sydney Motorsport Park ‘Brabham’ circuit (4.5km), March 9-10


1.  Neale Muston (Excalibur Racing) 72
2.  Ash Samadi (Apartment Hotel) 63
=3.  Nick Kelly (Industrie) 60
=3.  Nathan Antunes (Django Racing) 60
=3.  John Corbertt Jnr (Django Racing) 60


For the Phillip Island Classic report (following the Radical Australia Cup report) and more information about Corse Motorsport, go to www.corse.com.au.