The Team Betta Electrical effort today by Paul Radisich driving car 65 was something to be applauded. Radisich had set himself up for a big weekend. The two days leading up to the Big Pond 300 at Queensland Raceway had given every indication...
The Team Betta Electrical effort today by Paul Radisich driving car 65 was something to be applauded. Radisich had set himself up for a big weekend. The two days leading up to the Big Pond 300 at Queensland Raceway had given every indication that he was set for a podium finish.
In the shootout Radisich finished in 10th position on the grid for the start of the big race. Pole position was taken by Mark Skaife and 2nd was Marcus Ambrose. The second driver for Team Betta Electrical driving Car 66, Dean Canto started in position 13 after a good lead up to the race as well.
Radisich got off to a good start rising to 7th position by lap 5 of the 96- lap race. He was challenged by Murphy early in the race but managed to hold him off.
In lap 35 the team decided to bring Radisich in for one of his compulsory pit stops. This was the window the team chose to use for the refuelling stop.
While Radisich was in the pits getting his fuel, Canto was busy on the track defending, after what appeared to be a bump from Larkham, in an incident that also left Brad Jones in a car that struggled. Canto recovered and did not sustain any damage from the incident, apart from exiting the circuit loosing valuable placing's. Shortly after, the team brought Cano in Car 66 in for a fuel stop as well.
Excitement grew around lap 44 when both Ambrose and Skaife pitted. Ambrose was in for Tyres and Skaife was in for fuel. In the duel it was Ambrose who re-entered the race first.
The team brought car 66 in for the tyre stop on lap 44. Unfortunately bad luck struck here for Canto with the car stuck in gear.
While one team of mechanics battled to get car 66 back on track, the other team was busy carrying out a tyre change for Radisich who had been instructed to come in for tyres.
During this time, Canto was losing valuable places, finally re-entering the race when the balance of the field were on lap 51. Pit lane was particularly busy around this time and Ambrose collected a drive-through penalty for contact with Ellery in pit lane.
By lap 74 Radisich had again regained his 7th placing and was looking strong for a good finish for Team Betta Electrical.
On lap 81 he had a duel with Lowndes and Bowe and unfortunately was passed by both these experienced drivers.
This put Radisich back in 9th position. At this point Canto was still struggling to make up for his time spent on repairs and was now in 26th position.
On lap 89 Skaife's race finished, experiencing trouble with his car and Ambrose was able to go through to 2nd place, a position he retained until the end of the race.
The hard work done by the 'Rat' throughout the race came undone in a big way on the second last lap, when the car ran out of fuel. Consequently Radisich was officially designated as a DNF.
"I can't believe that such a thing could happen", said Radisich, "To think you can do 94 laps of a 96 lap race and run out of fuel so close to the line, one does have to ask the question how can such a thing happen, it has cost me valuable points in the series, something I may never be able to make up" he said.
"We were running very consistently and maintaining position, the car certainly had pace in the early stages and it wasn't until the later stages that the tyres started to loose their grip causing my lap times to fall away a little" Radisich commented.
An extremely disappointed Radisich went on to say that "all I can do now is to focus on Oran Park, round 8 of the Championship Series and put this all behind me".
Canto finished in 22nd position, not able to make up any further placing's after his previous delayed stay in the pits with a jammed gearbox earlier in the race.
"It was a demanding race, however I did enjoy the event and felt I was maintaining the pace until the gearbox problem raised its head, this put me into a real situation from which I could not recover from" said Canto.
Both drivers are now looking forward to better results at the next race at Oran Park - August 15 - 17, another 300-kilometre event.