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Paddon claims combative Perth enduro in closest RCA finish

PETER PADDON has clung on to take his second victory of the First Focus Radical Cup Australia Season, edging out Cooper Cutts in a 45-minute thriller at carco.com.au Raceway in Perth today.


Now the clear championship leader, Paddon started from pole and aside from pit stops led a vast majority of the 33-lap race – but it wasn’t as clear cut as that.


The Sydneysider had to survive three Safety Car restarts and an attacking trio of Arise Racing contenders late in the race before edging to his fourth career RCA victory by just 0.29 seconds – officially the closest racing finish in the series’ history.


Paddon led the field to green from pole position and edged away from Schutte and Bryce Moore in the opening stages, peeling off to pit lane on lap 15 – one of the first of the leading group to make his mandatory pit stop.


Paddon, Schutte and Cutts stopping early – followed by Moore, and Jon Collins a lap later - would prove to be advantageous as a Safety Car period called for a spun Adam Naccarata at turn 7 split the field into those who had stopped, and those who hadn’t.


The race resumed with Cade Bell assuming the race lead, though having yet to make his mandatory stop.


He was followed by Ash Samadi and Andrew Eldridge, that pair and the remainder of the contenders yet to stop peeling off into the lane on lap 21.


Looking to build as large an advantage as possible before stopping, Bell went one lap further than his closest rivals however spun his car off into the Turn 7 gravel trap as he attacked the pit lane entry on his way to make his stop.


With Bell forced to watch the leaders stream past, Paddon re-asserted his position on point of the race with Jon Collins a surprise second, having made up five spots throughout the pit stop sequence.



With teammate Collins as rear-gunner on the third and final restart, Paddon launched into another solid lead as the race resumed with 13 minutes remaining.


Collins was left to defend from an attacking Arise Racing trio with Cooper Cutts – having passed Elliott Schutte – close on his tail.


Cutts attacked on lap 27, his move also allowing Schutte to slip past at the same time. Chris Reindler than passed Collins a lap later, before the latter spun at turn one to undo all of his hard work and drop to an eventful 13th position finish at the end.


Collins reported brake issues aboard his SR3, costing him in the battle with the Arise Racing trio and ultimately contributing to his spin at turn one to end an otherwise strong performance.


The leading quartet then exchanged fastest laps late in the race, Paddon slowly being hauled in by the West Aussies behind.


John DiGiovanni spun at the final corner with four minutes remaining, race control electing to run the closing stages of the race with that corner under waved yellow flags; essentially removing it as an overtaking opportunity.


Still, Cutts pressed hard in the closing laps and – with Schutte close on his tail as well – the trio were locked together for the final two laps; Paddon ultimately prevailing by a tiny margin as they raced to the line.


With Cutts second and Schutte third, Reindler and Moore finished a strong fourth with Brad Russell getting the big gains in race one, climbing to 5th position.


Terry Knowles and Barton Mawer gained ground by climbing to 6th position, in front of Peter Clare and Josh Hunt in the first of the Volante Rosso entries.


The sister car was right behind: Greg Kenny and Melinda Price making significant ground throughout the race to climb to eighth position by the flag.


Zara Horn recovered from an early moment at the final corner to claim a strong  top-10 finish in 9th, with Ash Samadi completing the top-10.


Having been forced to make their MPS in the final 10 minutes of the race due to the Safety Cars and their incident at the final corner, Cade Bell and Mark Cirillo finished 17th.


Four cars failed to finish; Jay Wong / Iain Oon, John DiGiovanni, James Hernandez and Colin Ivory unfortunately not making it to the flag.


The series turns to sprint racing mode next; a pair of 25-minute dashes to decide the outcome of Round 2 of the series on Sunday. Both races will be shown live on Fox Sports 506 and Kayo Sports.

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