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Number five for Paddon in intense SA opener

PETER PADDON has fended off Cooper Cutts in the most intense First Focus Radical Cup Australia race of the season to date, to continue his season 2024 winning streak in South Australia.

In a tension-filled thriller akin to something from a Tom Clancy novel, Paddon wrestled the lead away from Cutts at the start of the 45-minute race on the 4.9km international circuit at Shell V-Power Motorsport Park and then spent the remainder of the race holding his young West Aussie rival off.

The pair traded lap records out in front and while Cutts gave away three seconds throughout the Compulsory pit stop window, he closed again in the closing stages to trail Paddon home by just 0.5 seconds after a race with zero Safety Car interruptions.

The lap record was broken on five occasions in today’s race, Cutts re-setting James Winslow’s existing benchmark with a 1m50.2406s best on lap 13.

Every time Cutts would close on the leader, Paddon would respond and he also lapped beneath the existing lap record as he held on to his lead.

It was his fifth consecutive victory of the season and builds his championship lead as the series reaches its half-way point this weekend.

Chris Reindler and Bryce Moore finished third in their Lance East Exotics Arise Racing entry in what was the key comeback story of the race.

With Reindler starting, the car found itself pointing the wrong way after spinning at the start as the field jostled for position through the opening complex at The Bend.

That set about a strong recovery drive with Reindler handing the car over to Moore in sixth position.

The latter continued that strong progress following the stops and crossed the line fourth, only to inherit one further position on account of a late race penalty imposed on the Peter Clare / Josh Hunt Volante Rosso entry.

Hunt had been running third late in the race following a strong opening stint from Clare, and was one of three drivers to break the existing lap record at The Bend as he tried to chase down the warring leaders.

However, the #47 car was beneath the 91-second minimum pit stop time and was delivered a drive through as a result. Hunt served the penalty with two laps remaining, dropping the car from third to fifth in the final classification.

Also gaining as a result were Terry Knowles and Barton Mawer, who benefited from a strong early stint from the former that allowed the latter to gain ground late in the race.

Pitting last of the leaders, Mawer climbed to fourth position at the line as the duo look to entrench their position in the top three of the outright championship.

Behind the Clare / Hunt entry in fifth, Greg Kenny and Melinda Price were sixth while Brad Russell finished seventh – spending much of his race fending off teammate Jordan Oon.

Oon and co-driver Adam Lisle were another on a strong recovery program following a turn one drama for the #14 entry.

Their sister car, driven by John DiGiovanni and Caleb Sumich followed them home to eighth position after starting from the back on account of a fuel pump issue in qualifying that saw them failing to record a time.

Adam Naccarata completed the top-10 runners, with James Hernandez, Sue Hughes and Warwick Churche rounding out the finishers.

Ash Samadi failed to finish after his car had a clutch issue that forced him out after just four laps.

It was a tough day for a Sydneysider who missed out on qualifying after his car blew its engine early in the session, meaning he failed to set a lap time.

Race two will commence at 10:00am on Sunday at The Bend, with live streaming coverage available via the Radical Cup Australia website or via Blend Line TV’s You Tube Channel.



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