PETERS Paddon and Carr have held off championship leader Chris Perini to claim a sensational 40-lap Radical Cup Australia opener at Queensland Raceway, injecting further excitement into the 2022 title race.
A thrilling finish to the 50-minute race saw Peter Carr holding on to a diminishing lead as Perini chased him down in the most tense and competitve finish of the year.
Behind them both, Mitch Neilson was quicker than both leaders and closing the margin down at a significant rate as the race drew to a close.
The field compressed to the point where the three were line astern as they crossed the line; Perini unable to squeeze by Carr – who shared his car with Peter Paddon as usual – and Mitch Neilson – who shared with Brad – just behind.
It was a clutch win for the Paddon / Carr combination with the pair only trailing Perini by a handful of points heading into the final two rounds and four races of the season.
Polesitter Adam Lisle and Jordan Oon finished fourth and set the quickest lap of the race, while Sebastien Fiorenza completed the top-five.
The frenetic race saw the #47 entry of Peter Clare lead the opening two laps of the 50-minute race, before Elliott Schutte grabbed the lead on the third lap.
The Arise Racing driver would lead the next three tours before the #31 First Focus entry driven by Peter Paddon assumed the race lead for the first time.
He led the race to their compulsory stop on lap 14, returning the lead to Clare in the Shared Runway / Volante Rosso entry.
He stopped on Lap 16, Zig Fuhrmeister taking point until he stopped three laps later – handing the lead to Carr.
Starting off the front row, Perini made quick work through the field and climbed to second by the sixth lap of the race. He stopped on the same lap as the Paddon / Carr entry, and briefly grabbed the lead on Lap 28, before ceding the lead back to his closest title rivals a lap later.
The pair ran nose to tail for the remainder of the race with Perini closing in towards the end, but unable to launch an attack for the lead.
The Neilson’s ran sixth in the early stages but gradually worked their way forward through the field as the race evolved, ending up third by the time the stops had been completed. With Mitch behind the wheel, the #38 Streamlined Energy entry was the quickest on the track in the closing stages and closed to within a few tenths of Perini at the end.
Adam Lisle and Jordan Oon finished fourth, the latter setting the fastest lap at 1m10.8715s on lap 35.
Sebastien Fiorenza finished fifth, Peter Clare sixth having led early with Zig Fuhrmeister, Ash Samadi, Warwick Morris and Jonathan Grant completing the top-10.
Crucially, from a championship point of view, one of the three non-finishers was title contender Elliott Schutte, who was out after 30 of the scheduled 40 laps with damage to his front splitter.
The Radical Australia Cup returns for the final 50-minute race of the weekend on Sunday morning at Queensland Raceway.