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May 26, 2013

SETON AND PEARSON TAKE FOUR HOUR BATTLE

IT WAS A BATTLE against the elements and against bitter rivals BMW, but Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X pilots Glenn Seton and Bob Pearson have won today’s Great Southern Four Hour at Phillip Island.

In a race that was closer than the final results show, the Pro Duct Motorsport team edged out the Sherrin Rentals BMW of Iain and Grant Sherrin by little more than one lap after a bruising four-hour race that claimed some big names and fancied runners.

The race was only decided in the last 45 minutes when a rain shower tipped the favour in the balance of the four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi’s, whilst the Class B Sherrin BMW led through to the final pit stops and used superior fuel economy and one less pit stop to remain in contention.

Rain at the end helped the Pro Duct Mitsubishi edge out their one-lap margin, handing the inaugural Great Southern Four Hour to the experienced Production Car racing veteran and his two-time Touring Car Champion co-driver.

“It was a tense race the whole way and we didn’t know what the BMW was going to do with strategy right up to where they made their last stop,” Seton explained.

“I got in the car for my final stint and pushed as hard as I could to make sure that we would have a margin but it was closer than it looked. It was a good battle the whole way and a lot of fun – thanks to Bob for giving me the chance to come down and drive with him.

“The car was faultless the whole day which is a testament to the team and their effort.”

Jake Camilleri and Scott Nicholas were a stunning third outright in their class C Mazda 3 MPS, the front-drive car stunning in the wet weather that featured at the start and finish of the race.

The pair started from pit lane after a late strategy change, but stormed through in the early rain to get into a strong position – climbing the order and into podium contention as others faltered.

Only one Safety Car featured during the race, led at the start by Garry Holt and Ryan McLeod.

McLeod and fellow Mitsubishi driver Dylan Thomas diced for the lead in the opening hour, with Thomas’ slipping past in the second half of the first hour – but both cars would be struck down with mechanical issues.

Holt and McLeod blew an engine in the race’s second half, whilst electrical issues slowed the Thomas / Simpson EVO and ruled them out of outright contention.

The Beric Lynton / Tim Leahey BMW 1M showed race winning pace but turbo issues mid race dropped them down the order to eventually finish fourth, one position ahead of the older BMW 335i driven superbly by Peter O’Donnell and John Bowe – despite starting from the rear of the grid.

Mark Eddy and François Jouy finished sixth in their Honda Integra type R, and won the Class D battle.

Just 11 cars finished the demanding race, the winners ultimately covering 119 laps (530km) of the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

Erebus Motorsport SLS AMG driver Jack LeBrocq continued his dominant performance in his Australian GT Championship debut this weekend, backing up his race one victory yesterday with another today.

In a commanding performance, LeBrocq led early and retained the lead through the compulsory pit stops to complete a comprehensive and dominating performance across the weekend.

LeBrocq’s GT debut included pole position and a brand-new Australian GT lap record (in each race – he lowered his Saturday benchmark late in today’s race) as well as the perfect score across the two hours of racing.

Tony Quinn was strong en route to second place, whilst Klark Quinn used his wide Porsche to hold out a flying John Bowe in a battle for third at the end of today’s race.

Neale Muston continued his stunning run of domination in the Radical Australia Cup, coming from second place to win today’s 45-minute endurance race, held in wet and slippery conditions this morning.

Muston started second and ran behind early leader James Winslow in the race’s early stages, before jumping ahead of the leading car during the compulsory pit stop shuffle – and he was never headed from there.

The #1 SR8 driver won the race by a full minute, Nick Kelly and Peter White completing the podium.

Winslow and co-driver Chris Medland finished fourth, with SR3 class leader Liam Talbot the first of the four-cylinder cars home in fifth outright.

Luke Fraiser won his second consecutive Australian Suzuki Swift Racing Series round, holding out a charging Ben Grice in a thrilling finish to their one-hour race today, held within the opening quarter of the Great Southern Four Hour.

Grice was mired in the Swift field early, but after racing his way to second place was able to charge up behind the round one winner and pressured him all the way to the line in a dramatic finish – falling short by just 0.07s at the line.

Stuart Shirvington won the pair of PRB Race Series races held this morning, Chris Barry second in each.

The next round of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals will be held at Winton Motor Raceway on June 21-23, and will feature the Kumho Tyres V8 Touring Car series and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, and more.

(This story updates)