ELLIOTT SCHUTTE has prevailed in a tense finish to claim the opening race in Round 2 of the 2022 Lumberjack WA Radical Cup Australia Series at Wanneroo Raceway.
The Arise Racing driver led a pulsating 45-minute affair from pole position, but had to survive four lead changes and some hard racing before regaining the lead late in the race.
Schutte led the field into turn one and headed a freight-train of contenders for the opening laps, Sam Dicker, Jordan Oon and Bryce Moore in close company.
A wild exchange of racing on lap 10 saw the lead change hands, Dicker wrestling the lead away from Schutte on the run up the hill to turn four and slowly pulling away to a gradual lead.
Moore was the first of the leaders to make his compulsory stop on lap 17, Schutte responding by stopping a lap later with the pair resuming in the same order but further down the field.
Dicker ran three laps longer, making his stop on lap 21 and emerging just behind Schutte in a battle of the cars with a completed pit stop.
Released into clean air, new leader Jordan Oon put his head down in front and set a series of fast laps until he pitted four laps later – his Arise entry stopping on lap 24.
A close rejoin saw new driver Adam Lisle resuming in second position, only 3.5 seconds behind Schutte once the race order had been cleansed following the stops, Moore in third and Jay Wong – now driving Sam Dicker’s entry – in fourth.
The race settled down for several laps – however that wasn’t the end of the story.
Battling for seventh position, Bradley Russell ran wide at Turn six and edged his car into the notorious Perth sand trap – firmly stuck and causing a Safety Car to be called for the first time in the race.
That closed the leading group up for a tense restart with five laps remaining, though it wouldn’t trouble the leader who put his head down and powered his way clear of the field once the green flag flew once again.
Lisle chased hard – setting the fastest lap of the race on the 42nd and final tour – but couldn’t challenge the leader, Schutte crossing the line to win his first Radical Cup Australia race in style.
Adam Lisle and Jordan Oon finished second, grabbing a massive haul of championship points in the process, while Bryce Moore followed them home in third position. Fourth was teenage sensation Caleb Sumich, who’s first ever car race was an impressive display.
Cold tyre inexperience saw the Arise Racing scholarship winner ran wide at turn one on the opening lap, dropping from fourth on the grid to the bottom half of the top ten by the end of the opening lap.
However he quickly passed several cars to work his way back into contention, holding on to fourth in the closing stages.
The Wong / Dicker combination finished a stout fifth, having led the race early. They were trailed home by Madeline Stewart in sixth, the Queensland-based New Zealander closing in on a top five finish in the closing stages of the race but ultimately falling just 0.5 seconds short at the finish.
Peter Paddon and Peter Carr finished seventh, Travis Sharpe and Joe Bergic eighth, Andrew Eldridge ninth and Championship leader Chris Perini completed the top-10. Perini had run in the top six for much of the race however an ongoing electrical issue hampered his progress.
The GWR Australia took the opportunity presented by the Safety Car – and the fact it did not pick up the leader - to pit to resolve the issue, the team managing to get the car re-fired without losing position.
However the issue reappeared soon after the race re started, causing Perini to slip to 10th position at the finish.
The second race of Round 2 will be contested on Sunday morning at Wanneroo Raceway, broadcast live on Fox Sports and Kayo Sports.