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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.