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Brabham beats Andretti in US Trans Am opener
By Iwan Jones
Monday 27th February, 2023 - 11:27am
Matthew Brabham has claimed victory over Adam Andretti in the opening round of the American Trans Am Championship at Sebring International Raceway.
Brabham commenced his weekend by topping both practice sessions, before qualifying fourth for the 27-lap encounter in his Ford Mustang.
Mechanical failures for Chris Dyson (Ford Mustang) and polesitter Justin Marks (Chevrolet Camaro) eased the pressure off Brabham who cruised to victory to collect his fourth Trans Am victory from six races.
In doing so the third-generation driver, who is the son of Geoff Brabham and the grandson of three-time Formula One World Champion Sir Jack Brabham pipped second-generation Andretti, who is the son of Aldo and nephew of 1978 Formula 1 World Drivers’ Champion Mario, to the honours, with Keith Grant rounding out the podium in his Chevrolet Camaro.
“This was an unbelievable weekend,” Brabham said.
“Chris [Dyson] was really fast in the race, and Justin [Marks] was too, but they had issues.
This track is just really hard on the cars – I was fortunate, and sharing the podium with these guys is so cool, especially having Adam [Andretti] here.
“Hearing the names Brabham and Andretti at a track like this with so much history, in a series with so much history, is pretty cool.”
Herne endures tough initiation in maiden US Trans Am campaign
Meanwhile, Nathan Herne endured a difficult weekend as he commenced his American Trans Am Championship campaign in the TA2 class.
After impressing in his US Trans Am debut where he finished fourth in the TA2 class in a field of over 50 cars at Circuit of the Americas in November last year, the two-time Australian Trans Am Series title winner picked up where he left off, ending practice on top in the Steven Millers Racing Ford Mustang.
From there, he qualified third however, was relegated to 47th due to the frame height falling foul of officialdom.
After the green flag dropped in the race, he charged to P15 in six laps, before a racing incident saw his left-rear tyre cut.
He dropped back to 33rd in the order, before recovering to finish 13th under yellow.
“A major case of pace to burn but luck absent, although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy coming through the field twice,” Herne reflected.
“We are fast, so that’s definitely a positive.
“Reset and refresh for NOLA [Motorsports Park] in two weeks’ time.”
The second round of the American Trans Am Championship will take place at NOLA Motorsports Park on March 9-12.
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