ALEX GARDNER has claimed his second win of the Workhorse Radical Cup Australia season as he raced his way to the front in a topsy-turvy opener at Queensland Raceway on Saturday afternoon.
Starting from pole, Gardner was beaten into the first corner of the race, however used a pit stop undercut to leap to the front of the field early in the race and then survived several Safety Car interruptions – and the subsequent restarts – to edge his way to an assertive victory.
It was the home-town heroes second win of the season following his breakthrough at Round 1 at Sydney Motorsport Park.
A typically unpredictable race saw Elliott Schutte race his way to second and Cooper Cutts to third, while early leader Peter Paddon slipped down the field in the closing laps.
In stunning conditions, the race commenced with a flat-out four car battle for the lead as Peter Paddon led the field into turn one.
Jordan Oon started the #14 Arise Racing car and quickly raced his way to the front with a great pass on Paddon after several corners of side-by-side racing.
Gardner then passed Paddon to climb to second moments before a safety car was called to recover Simon Arthur’s car, which was stranded at turn two.
The pit window opened the moment the race went green, with Alex Gardner taking the opportunity to dive into pit lane the moment the window opened.
The early undercut worked a treat, with the Volante Rosso Racing entry emerging in front of Paddon, Elliott Schutte and the Oon / Lisle Arise entry once the stops were complete.
The entire field, except for Terry Knowles and Bill Medland, had stopped when a second Safety Car was called 28 minutes into the race to recover Ash Samadi, who was off at turn one.
The restart saw the leaders at the back of the queue, Gardner leading Paddon, Schutte, Cutts and Lisle on the run home as the race resumed with 15 minutes to go.
The field had cleansed when a third Safety Car was called with 12 minutes remaining as Warwick Morris was another victim of treacherous Turn 2.
The race resumed with just seven minutes remaining, Gardner holding a narrow margin over Paddon – thanks to several lapped cars in between he and the GWR Australia entry - as they went back to green.
Elliott Schutte then jumped to second position as he snuck by Paddon on the 25th lap, with Cooper Cutts just behind the duelling pair as he looked to grab the final spot on the podium – which he did with a move on lap 26.
Ultimately Gardner would pull away to claim his second win of the season, with Schutte a fine second after a fighting drive through the field late in the 50-minute race.
Cooper Cutts impressed en-route to third position while Paddon survived a challenging final few laps to finish fourth.
Jordan Oon and Adam Lisle paid for being caught out of position during one of the late Safety Cars, a late wave-through not enough to allow them to get back into podium contention late in the race.
Zig Fuhrmeister finished a stout sixth, Josh Hunt and Peter Clare seventh.
Bart Mawer / Terry Knowles, Bradley Russell and James Hernandez completed the top-10.
The Workhorse Radical Cup Australia field returns tomorrow for a second, 50-minute encounter with that race to be broadcast live on 7plus and the Motorsport Australia and Radical Cup Australia Facebook pages.