Holt/McLeod take out opening leg of Hydraulink 400
Garry Holt and Ryan McLeod have held off a late charge from Dylan and Dale Thomas to take out the opening leg of the Australian Manufacturers’ Championship’s Hydraulink 400 at Queensland Raceway.
With the Eastern Creek Karts team having elected to complete just one pitstop for a driver change during the flood-lit race, McLeod was forced to stroke Holt’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X to the flag as the car ran low on fuel.
A charging Dylan Thomas, whose similar Mitsubishi undertook a two-stop strategy, closed to within a second of the leader heading into the final lap, before McLeod stretch the margin to 1.4s by the flag.
The Lancer of Stuart Kostera and Inky Tulloch rounded out the podium, with the TMR factory-run car’s three-stop strategy ultimately proving uncompetitive against its competition.
Two Safety Car periods to retrieve stranded vehicles punctuated the race, a fact that Holt later admitted was crucial in the result.
“It was exactly as we expected – it came down to fuel and getting the run with the Safety car,” he said.
“We’re really pleased. The car was fantastic and we had plenty of pace when we needed it.
“The strategy paid off and Ryan was able to bring it home – it was pretty tense, though.”
The Wilson Brothers Racing Subaru of Cam Wilson and David Wood were the first non-Mitsubishi home in fourth having lacked the outright speed to challenge the leading Evos.
Ian and Grant Sherrin finished fifth in their BMW 135i, one place ahead of Beric Lynton’s debuting BMW 1M.
Lynton led the opening laps and ran inside the top three for much of the early stages, however a long stop for fuel cost significant time, ultimately dropping the car a lap down.
Early mechanical issues for the Jake Camilleri and Colin Osbourne Mazda 3 MPSs were the causes of the two Safety Car periods.
A second 200km encounter will complete the Hydraulink 400 tomorrow evening.