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Paddon claims round honours at Phillip Island season opener

Peter Paddon has driven his brand new First Focus Radical SR3 XXR to a race two and round victory at the First Focus Radical Cup Australia Series season opener at Phillip Island.

Paddon took the lead at turn two on the opening lap from pole-sitter Josh Hunt after a spectacular side-by-side run through turn one. 

There was everything to play for in race two, and Paddon wasted no time setting his race-winning intentions, leaving Hunt to battle with race two and round second-place getter Cooper Cutts for the next several laps. 

Hunt and Cutts were the first to pit when the compulsory pitstop window opened, triggering a flurry of pitlane activity as the rest of the field followed. 

Paddon dove into the lane two laps later, emerging in a strong position to resume the race lead, just ahead of Cutts, who settled in to challenge for the race lead.

However, a short Safety Car period mid-way through the race would derail the West Aussie’s plans, with Cutts finding himself tangled in lapped traffic as Paddon extended his lead. 

He would go on to fight his way through to clear air but ran out of time to catch Paddon, who had opened up an eight-second gap before the end of the 45-minute session.

Tim Macrow Racing driver and Radical Cup Australia newcomer Ethan Brown delivered a strong showing across his debut weekend. Thanks to a fourth-place finish in race two, he joined Paddon and Cutts in claiming round honours and grabbing the final spot on the podium. 

It was a positive end to the weekend for Arise Racing duo Bryce Moore and Chris Reindler, who brought the #28 home in third in Sunday’s race.

Terry Knowles and Barton Mawer and pole-sitter entry of Peter Clare and Josh Hunt were fifth and sixth, respectively.

Ash Samadi led the way in the Workhorse Am class in seventh outright, ahead of fellow Am class contenders Andrew Eldridge in eighth and Brad Russell in ninth, while the Volante Rosso pairing of Greg Kenny and Melinda Price rounded out the top ten.

Race two saw several great battles throughout the field and a couple of big moments, including a three-wide run at the restart from the Safety Car.

Bill Medland and James Hernandez both found themselves battling technical issues, with Medland making a cautionary visit to pitlane during the out lap for a faulty oil pressure sensor, while Hernandez was unable to finish the race. 

First Focus Radical Cup Australia will next head west to Raceway (Wanneroo) for the Repco Supercars Championship Perth SuperSprint from May 17 to 19.


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