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Aug 11, 2012

HOLT AND McLEOD TAKE SATURDAY NIGHT BLOCKBUSTER

GARRY HOLT and Ryan McLeod have combined to win a gripping opening leg of the Hydraulink 400 at Queensland raceway this evening, in what turned out to be a race of fuel strategy that resulted in a tense finish.

The Eastern Creek Karts crew gambled on a safety car to meet their fuel numbers, only electing to make one stop for the driver change before driving economically – yet quickly – to make it to the finish without requiring fuel.

The gamble paid off, holding off a fast-finishing Dylan Thomas in the CXC Global EVO in a tense race to the flag in the 200km race.

With McLeod behind the wheel of the leading car, the gap dropped to just 1.4 seconds at the line – though it was less than one second with a lap to go.

The Thomas / Thomas combination finished second – having set the lap record with three laps to go - with TMR Australia third with Stuart Kostera and Inky Tulloch.

“It was exactly as we expected – it came down to fuel and getting the run with the Safety car,” Holt 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 WBR team Subaru of Cam Wilson and David Wood were the first non-Mitsubishi home in fourth, lacking the outright speed to challenge the leading EVOs.

The Subaru team just scraped home on fuel - unable to match the pace of the leading EVO trio out front in the closing stages.

Ian and Grant Sherrin finished fifth in the BMW, just ahead of Beric Lynton’s BMW 1 Series M in an impressive debut.

The one-of-a-kind BMW led the race early and ran inside the top three for much of the opening half, however a long stop for fuel – one of the only leading cars to put fuel in – cost them time and ultimately dropped them a lap behind.

Two safety car periods halted the otherwise incident free race – both to recover stricken Mazda 3 entries from the circuit after failing early in the 65-lap journey.

Jake Camilleri was out after just two laps with a suspected engine failure – whilst Colin Osborne’s 400th Production Car start finished even earlier, the car failing to complete even one lap.

The Kennard’s Hire lighting around the circuit helped to provide a thrilling spectacle – set to be repeated tomorrow when the field races into the night for the second 200km race.

Full results will be released tomorrow pending final stewards and race officials approval.