AARON CARATTI CLAIMS FIRST CARRERA CUP VICOTRY Western Australia's Aaron Caratti (Parklands on Bertram) has won his first ever Carrera Cup race after taking out Race One at the FORMULA 1 ING Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this ...
AARON CARATTI CLAIMS FIRST CARRERA CUP VICOTRY
Western Australia's Aaron Caratti (Parklands on Bertram) has won his first ever Carrera Cup race after taking out Race One at the FORMULA 1 ING Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this afternoon.
Caratti backed up his maiden pole position from earlier in the day to lead from start to finish winning the first of four races for the weekend.
It was a brilliant drive from Caratti, who had to withstand a mountain of pressure from Kiwi Craig Baird (ACER/leading Solutions) throughout the eight lap race.
Baird was all over the back of Caratti for the entire race and would have finished second if not for a spin on the second last lap.
Baird's spin opened the door for another Sandgroper, Dean Fiore (Complispace/Advance Energy) to finish second, while Bryce Washington (ADRAD) rounded out the podium.
Peter Hill (Boost/Globe) took the Pilatus Challenge win (which is for-non professional drivers over the age of 30) for his 10th placed overall finish, while James and Theo Koundouris (Supabarn Supermarkets) took second and third respectively after they finished 12th and 13th.
David Russell (Boom Logistics) had a brilliant drive to finish seventh after he started at the rear of the grid. He was sent to the back after opting for new tyres after qualifying 13th earlier in the day.
Andrew Moffat (V8 Super Loans) was another driver to shine and his 11th was his best ever Carrera Cup finish.
It was a brilliant race from start to finish, as the action on the track matched the blistering 38 degrees in Melbourne.
After a beautiful start handed him the lead, Caratti was forced to fend off Baird as he made lunge after lunge for position.
It seemed it was only a matter of time before Baird's experience would see him through, but Caratti held his cool under extreme pressure to take victory.
Understandably he was ecstatic with the win.
"He had me under pressure for most of the race but luckily I was able to hold on," Caratti said.
"It's a great feeling to win my first race and hopefully I can carry it on for the rest of the weekend. The conditions are pretty tough out their but I knew if I focused on what I wanted to achieve I could do it."
Fiore was gracious in accepting his second, knowing it was a stroke of fortune for him.
"It was a pretty easy race for me," he said.
"I was pushing hard trying to catch the two cars in front but I couldn't reach them. I was pretty lucky that Craig spun off but I'll take second place any time it is handed to me like that."
While Caratti and Baird were battling away, there was action aplenty further back, with the likes of Wall, Washington, Rodney Jane (Bob Jane T-Marts) and James Moffat (Bob Jane T-Marts/Trueline) fighting for positions fourth to seventh.
While they were going at it Rodney Forbes (Jaimie Vedda Racing) and Jonathon Webb (DTM Wheels) joined the action to make it a six way fight for places.
It didn't last long however, with Moffat spinning out of the race, while Webb damaged a radiator and was forced to retire.
Jono Lester (Blackwoods/JBS Tools) -- who is competing after he broke his leg two weeks ago -- was also right among it with Russell, Forbes and Barton Mawer (Opes Prime Stockbroking). He looked likely to finish well inside the top 10 until he went into turn three too hot, locked his rear brakes and spun out of the race.
Max Twigg (Truloc) and Shaun Juniper were others to spin and while they both finished the race, Twigg's proved especially costly as he was leading the Pilatus Challenge at the time.
But the race belonged to Caratti and the Perth-based driver will be intent on adding more wins over the rest of the weekend.
Race Two of Carrera Cup takes to the Albert Park circuit from 17:10 on Thursday, with Races Three and Four on Saturday and Sunday.
The final race of the weekend will screen live on Channel 10 from 11:55 Melbourne time.