A thrilling side-by-side Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship B-Final between PremiAir Hire Racing’s Peter Xiberras and Damien Harris had a packed crowd at Mildura’s Sunset Strip on tenterhooks Sunday evening, with a review of the footage and data required to decide the winner.
Both racers had traversed the eighth-mile distance with full candles blazing, and the win light initially shined in Xiberras’ lane. However, a timing fault on Xiberras’ lane combined with the fact that to the eye, the pair crossed the line in a dead heat, meant the verification of the winner required an in-depth analysis of multiple camera angles frame-by-frame combined with race data for steward’s to make the call. Ultimately, Damien Harris was declared the winner and the third-place getter for the event.
“Who would have thought that our final would end like that – we never would have guessed it would unfold like that, you couldn’t script it, but there is one thing we all knew for sure even before they called the result – that was one hell of a race and we hope the fans enjoyed it!” enthused Xiberras.
“While we wish the result went the other way, of course, congratulations to Damien on the B-Final win and on a hell of a race.”
PremiAir Hire Racing and the rest of the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship competitors were breaking new ground at the weekend, competing at the Sunraysia Drag Racing Association’s Sunset Strip in Mildura, Victoria for the very first time.
Xiberras place in the unique B-Final was earnt following a 3.470/202.49mph round one pass against Phil Lamattina and a winning 3.237s/260+mph run in the second round against Phil Read for Xiberras, after he and the team had qualified third fastest on Saturday while struggling – along with the rest of the Top Fuel field – to get a handle on the track.
“While Lamattina beat us to the line in the first round of racing, we were still smiling after finally getting down the track in a respectable fashion after Saturday’s troubles, especially as the conditions today were event trickier,” Xiberras reflected.
“Those smiles got wider in the second round when we took the win over Phil Read, with a pass over 420 kilometres per hour, securing us our spot in the B Final.
“Then came that final which will have people debating for quite a while I think! It is no small job to make the call in situations like that and I salute the stewards for deliberating so carefully to be sure about their decision.
“We dug deep and gave it everything we could, and it is safe to say we have thoroughly enjoyed our time here in Mildura. The fans came out in droves and were so appreciative of everything we laid down all weekend, and the atmosphere here was just electric all weekend long.
“We can’t wait to return to Mildura again in the future, and in the meantime, we excitedly look ahead to travelling to Perth for the next round of the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship and hopefully, securing a winning event trophy!”
The A-Final was contested by Phil Lamattina and Wayne Newby, with hometown hero Lamattina taking out the event victory in front of an ecstatic crowd.
The result sees Xiberras and the PremiAir Hire team third in the ATFC championship standings on 130 points, behind Phil Read and Phil Lamattina who are tied for first place (155 points).
The next round of the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship will be held at the Perth Motorplex across April 8-9, as part of the ANDRA Grand Finals event. For event info, visit www.motorplex.com.au