Team Mitsubishi Ralliart dominate Six Hour

Warren Luff and Stuart Kostera won the inaugural Dial Before You Dig Australian Six Hour at Eastern Creek today

Warren Luff and Stuart Kostera won the inaugural Dial Before You Dig Australian Six Hour at Eastern Creek today

Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia has dominated the Dial Before You Dig Australian Six Hour at Eastern Creek Raceway today, with Warren Luff and Stuart Kostera leading home a team one-two.

The winners finished two-and-a-half laps clear of Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X team-mates Inky Tulloch and Steve Jones, with third place going to Peter Conroy and Mark Brame in another EVO X.

Incredibly, the six hour long marathon went caution free, with the lack of a Safety Car intervention allowing the winning duo to walk away from the field.

“It was a great day start to finish,” Luff said.

“It was a true credit to the guys on the Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia crew.

“The car was absolutely perfect, and we were able to race it hard all day long.

“Once again, Stuart did a fantastic job, and the tyres were fantastic, we were able to really push on them.”

For Kostera, the win also puts his Australian Manufacturers Championship title chase back on track.

“It couldn’t have gone much better than that,” Kostera said.

“After Phillip Island we had a lot of problems with tyres, but we went back to the workshop and did our homework on geometry set up and strategy, the Dunlops were fantastic today.”

For Team Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart team principal Alan Heaphy, the result caps off some dominating performances in the previous two rounds of the championship.

“It’s great,” Alan Heaphy said.

“Preparation wise, it was perfect, the pit stops were perfect, and all of the drivers did a brilliant job.

“The driving standards and the professionalism from everyone on the crew backed up a great little motor car; nobody missed a beat all day long.

“It was a lot of co-ordination and preparation back at the workshop, but it all paid off at the end of the day.”

Tulloch’s result meanwhile did no harm to his championship chances, with circuit racing convert Jones impressing on debut.

“It was a good race, but we’re one place from where we want to be,” Inky Tulloch said.

“It was a great result for the team; bring on the rest of the championship.”

The crew of Conroy and Brame were the quiet achievers for the day, sneaking under the radar and onto the bottom step of the podium.

“We’re very pleased,” Peter Conroy said.

“We were a little bit down on speed, we know where we can find it, but other than that the car ran absolutely faultlessly, it was brilliant all day long.

“I really want to thank Mark (Brame) and the crew, look out next time!”

Fourth outright went to Glyn Crimp and Matt Cherry, with fifth going to the Class B winning BMW 335i of John Bowe and Peter O’Donnell.

“It’s a terrific car, it really is a pleasure to drive,” Bowe said.

“We struggled a bit for grip throughout the race, the car is probably better suited to Bathurst than Eastern Creek.

“But I love it, why wouldn’t you want to be here, it’s a great event.”

Sixth outright went to Gavin Bullas and Barton Mawer aboard the lone Subaru WRX Sti in the field, ahead of Jim Pollicina and Gerry Murphy (Mitsubishi Lancer).

David and Des Wall came back strongly after breaking the right front wheel hub on their Mitsubishi Lancer half way through the event to finish in eighth, ahead of Class D winners Ryan McLeod and Garry Holt (Holden Astra), and Class C winners Jake Camilleri and Scott Nicholas (Mazda 3 MPS).

The Class E win went to the Bob Holden/Justin Matthews/Craig Bradshaw Toyota Yaris, which finished in 18th outright.

The race proved to be a battle with tyre wear, with many competitors regularly changing tyres throughout the race, which also saw an unprecedented number of penalties for pit lane infringements.

Non-finishers included the Richard Gartner/Francois Jouy/Carl Schembri Renault Clio, which suffered ignition issues within sight of the chequered flag, the father son combination of Tony and Klark Quinn, who had engine issues in their Mitsubishi Lancer, and the Rod Barrett/Geoff Morgan/Peter Boylan FPV F6 that had turbo dramas.

In the Australian Saloon Car Series, Shawn Jamieson bounced back to form by winning the two action packed races in his Holden Commodore.

The third and final race was declared a non-event after a frightening accident involving Dean Kelland, who lost control on the pit straight, colliding heavily with a parked car on the side of the race track.

After a precautionary trip to hospital, Kelland was released this afternoon.

All of the highlights from the race will be shown on SBS Speedweek next Sunday, July 25th from 1:00pm.

The next round of the Shannons Nationals Motor Racing Championships will be at Queensland’s Morgan Park Raceway on August 14-15, with categories including the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Mission Foods, the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series, the Australian Manufacturers Championship, the Australian Saloon Car Series and the Australian Superkart championships.

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