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McLaughlin scores debut win as drama strikes Wright

Posted on 29 February 2020

The opening day of racing for the 2020 PROMAXX Performance Exhausts TA2 Muscle Car Series has ended in dramatic fashion with Race 1 winner Russell Wright set to charge from the back after he was caught up in an unavoidable incident in Race 2.

The inaugural series champion and defending Masters champion, Wright scored his first outright PWR Performance Products Pole Award since his championship year in 2017 in a tight qualifying session as the provisional pole changed four times between he and John McLaughlin.

Wright's last lap effort that sealed pole for the Gold Coaster by two-tenths over McLaughlin and Michael Kulig with a personal-best effort qualifying in third.

Wright converted pole position to win the first race of the season narrowly over a fast-finishing McLaughlin. Kulig dropped a wheel off at the Turn 10 on Lap 2, letting Murray Kent through for third.

After battling early with Kobelco Motorsport’s Michael Coulter, Allgate Motorsport's Chris Formosa found the Turn 2 fence hard on exit on Lap 3, forcing a safety car period for four laps to recover the stricken Dodge.

Wright lead from the outset in Race 2 with McLaughlin staying in close contact in the early stages.

The pair were closing in on lapped traffic late in the race before Lap 9 when series debutant Jason Hassett’s motor expired in the Hass Camaro. Wright saw oil down entering Turn 5 and slowed to avoid the ailing car. McLaughlin's view was blocked by Wright and he hit the oil and spun, with the rear of McLaughlin's Mustang hitting the front of Wright.

The damage was enough to end Wright's race, while McLaughlin recovered and took the chequered flag under safety car conditions on Lap 10, two laps early.

Murray Kent scored a personal-best finish in second and walked away with the fastest lap of the race, ahead of Kulig and Coulter. KTM off-road racer Graham Cheney finished a remarkable fifth on his debut circuit racing weekend in the Illawara Engineering Camaro.

The PROMAXX Performance Exhausts TA2 Muscle Car Series is set for a further two races tomorrow to decide the opening round of the year.

QUOTES John McLaughlin, #17 myraceprofile.com Ford Mustang

“It isn’t how we planned on getting our first win, but we’ll take it,” said McLaughlin.

“There was a bit of carnage there with lapped traffic and I managed to get through relatively unscathed which was all we needed to finish the race in first.

“I haven’t really been able to utilise the pace we have in the car yet as we’ve been tucked in behind Russell Wright, but hopefully tomorrow we can show more of our speed and stay at the front.”

Russell Wright, #55 Wright Property Developments Ford Mustang

"It’s pretty disappointing to start the year off this way,” said Wright.

“As i’ve come around Turn 4 I could see some smoke from a car I was about to lap, then I saw flame and I thought there would be some oil down a backed off right away.

“Unfortunately John who was just behind me had his view blocked by me, and he may not have been able to see the car that was dropping oil. He’s come through realised too late, locked up and turned the car sideways and skidded into me as the rear of his car hit the front of mine.

“We were off to a good start but got a tail-end Charlie award in Race 2 so we’ll be fighting from the back tomorrow.”