Newby sets pace in Top Fuel qualifying

Top Fuel competitor Wayne Newby at Willowbank. Image: Dave Reid.

Wayne Newby has set the pace in qualifying for Round 3 of the 2022/2023 Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship at Willowbank Raceway, Queensland.

Newby blasted a 3.815s pass to best Damien Harris and Peter Xiberras in the Top Fuel class for the New Year Nitro fixture.

“In the first session we saw the RAI [Rapisarda Autosport International] sister car of Damien Harris do so well in that lane, so we made some educated decisions to try and get our car into the same window and it seemed to deliver after what was a very conservative first run, so the dividends paid out well,” Crew Chief Santino Rapisarda said.

“After a good run, you have to focus on not getting too excited, you need to stay humble and do your maintenance second-to-none as per usual so you can make sure you can make good decisions based on what the track is doing.”

Rapisarda said the team will be mindful of the conditions, ahead of today’s races.

“We will just try and be smart about it, we will do our best to read the track and extract what we can from the car given the track conditions,” he added.

Top Doorslammer competitor Kelvin Lyle and Pro Stock steerer John Barbagallo were the class of the field in their respective classes in qualifying.

Lyle set a 5.706s pass in topping the timesheets ahead of John Zappia and Daniel Gregorini.

“This is only my second time at Willowbank Raceway and my first time racing here since I crashed my last car here back in 2019,” Lyle said.

“Everyone was a bit nervous and so to get the first qualifier out of the way with a really good number, that was really good.

Barbagallo was pleased to set the benchmark in the Pro Stock class with a 7.312s pass.

“We are actually testing an engine that we have been putting together,” Barbagallo said.

“We are reasonably happy for its first outing.”

The New Year Nitro action will continue today from 14:00 local time/15:00 AEDT, with racing for Top Fuel, Top Doorslammer and Pro Stock taking place at 16:00 local time/17:00 AEDT, 18:15 local time/19:15 AEDT and 20:45 local time/21:45 AEDT respectively.

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