Thomas takes first blood in AMC Evo battle
Dylan Thomas has recorded an impressive victory in the first of two 60 minute races for the Australian Manufacturers’ Championship at a wet Phillip Island.
The New South Welshman ran just sixth following the completion of his Compulsory Pit Stop, but a decision to put soft-compound tyres on the left-hand side of the CXC Global Mitsubishi Evo IX triggered a major turn-around.
The tyre strategy allowed Thomas to circulate 3-6s per lap faster than the race leading cars of Garry Holt/Ryan McLeod (Evo X), Jim Pollicina/Dean Lillie (Evo X), Stuart Kostera/Inky Tulloch (Evo X), Des Wall (Evo IX) and Jake Camelleri (Mazda 3 MPS) for much of the second half of the race.
Thomas eventually took the lead from Kostera with nine minutes remaining before cruising to a 3s victory.
McLeod won a last-lap duel with Kostera to snatch second, while Wall, Class C winner Camelleri, Peter O’Donnell (BMW 130i), Pollicina/Lillie (Evo X), Class D winners Declan Kirkham/Phil Kirkham (Ford Fiesta), Colin Osbourne (Mazda 3 MPS) and Richard Gartner (Renault Clio) rounded out the top 10.
The race featured four different leaders, with Holt showing the way for the first 45 minutes, before Wall, Kostera and Thomas each took their time in the top spot.
The Safety Car made its one-and-only appearance when Matt McGill’s Toyota Celica became stranded on the edge of the saturated circuit at the 15 minute mark.
A second 60 minute race for the Australian Manufacturers Championship will take place as part of Round 3 of the Shannons Nationals presented by Hi-Tec Oils at Phillip Island tomorrow.