ALEX GARDNER and Elliott Schutte have continued their intense battle for the Workhorse Radical Cup Australia Series title, the pair of contenders once again finishing first and second in Race 1 at Shell V-Power Motorsport Park in South Australia.
The pair ended a tense race split by less than 10 seconds, Garnder edging away from his West Aussie rival in the latter stages of the 50-minute race – held in bright, sunny and mild conditions on Saturday afternoon.
Gardner led the field away from pole position and set about building an early lead over the chasing pack.
Making quick moves was Josh Hunt, who slipped past both Elliott Schutte and Chris Perini to move to second in the #47 Volante Rosso machine.
Schutte settled into third while Jordan Oon moved into the top four above Zig Fuhrmeister and Chris Perini – who slipped from third to sixth in the early laps.
A majority of the leaders headed to pit lane on the seventh lap as soon as the compulsory pit stop window opened.
Hunt stayed out and assumed the lead, running longer before handing over to his co driver, Peter Clare.
Nick Kelly and Adam Naccarata also stayed out for an additional lap.
Hunt pitted on lap eight, Peter Clare resuming in a net fourth position as Gardner reasserted himself at the front of the field.
Once the stops were complete – Nick Kelly was the last to cycle through The Bend’s pit lane – Garnder found himself in front by nearly three seconds, with Perini recovering back to third position with 20 minutes to go.
Peter Clare was fourth and Adam Lisle, having taken over from Jordan Oon, who was fifth.
The final 20 minutes saw Gardner edge his margin over Schutte, before the latter began to close the gap down in the closing stages – the pair ultimately finishing three seconds apart.
Perini was a further 30 seconds down the road in third – having copped a 30 second time penalty for going beneath the minimum pit stop time - while Adam Lisle and Jordan Oon claimed fourth for Arise Racing.
Zig Fuhrmeister climbed into the top five by race’s end, at the expense of Peter Clare who slipped down the order to finish seventh in the closing stages – Terry Knowles between them.
Nick Kelly, Brad Russell and the Kenny / Price Volante Rosso entry completed the top-10.
The race was a relatively trouble-free affair with the only significant non-finisher Arise Racing’s Cooper Cutts.
The West Aussie had contact with local driver Mark Rosser on the opening lap with the subsequent damage forcing his #16 car to pull to a halt at turn five on the first lap of the race.
Rosser was penalized 15 seconds for his role in the contact on the opening lap.
The Workhorse Radical Cup Australia continues on Sunday at Shell V-Power Motorsport Park, with the second 50-minute race to be broadcast live on 7+ with an 11:20am ACDT start time.