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#1 Posted : Monday, 4 May 2009 8:20:25 PM(UTC)
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Bullas wins Winton in Biante Touring Car Masters

Defending Rain City Racing driver, Gavin Bullas claimed his second consecutive round win in the 2009 Biante Touring Car Masters round two at Winton Raceway (VIC), this weekend.

Scoring a trio of second places, Bullas unexpectedly triumphed over main series rival, John Bowe who took victory in the opening two races.

Former V8 Supercar driver, Bowe claimed pole from the current champion after laying down a 1:32.2571m lap in Saturdays qualifying session.

With all eyes on the Bowe-Bullas battle for race one, Bowe got the jump off the start while Bullas dropped behind the GT Falcon of Brad Tilley.

Further down the pack, the 2008 Group 2 champion, Greg East spun dramatically at the first corner and, as chaos ensued, some skillful steering saw the remainder of the field siphon through miraculously avoiding a major incident.

Back to the front of the action, Bullas made his way ahead of the Tilleys Automotive GT, then blew past Bowe at the start of lap two, with Bowe returning the favour within a few corners.

Repeating the move under brakes at turn one on the following lap, Bullas again assumed the race lead.

A Winton specialist, Bowes experience was plainly evident as he once again took control of the pack.

A mistake from Bowe allowed Bullas to close the gap intensifying the battle at the front until an error at turn one from Bullas left Bowe a clear run to the chequered flag.

The reigning champion, Bullas finished second some 5.5sec down the road from Bowe despite setting a new lap record at the Winton circuit.

Series newcomer, Bernie Stack led the Group 2 cars to the finish line, impressively steering the Gawler Self Storage Porsche 911 RS to sixth place.

However, his car was later deemed 3kg underweight and disqualified from the race, elevating Graeme Cooks Racemoves / Buick Motorworks Porsche to the top Group 2 spot in eighth overall.

With a reverse-top-eight grid for race two, Cook started from pole position alongside the Ford Mustang of Drew Marget.

Cook impressively led the field for the opening two laps of 12 before succumbing to the Marget Engineering Mustang at the start of lap three.

A hard charging Bowe sprinted from eighth to follow Marget past Cook to claim second place before quickly muscling his Camaro into the race lead.

Series leader Bullas was again the fastest on the circuit as he raced to join the battle at the front.

By lap five, Bowe again headed the pack with Bullas in hot pursuit and Tilley rounding out the top three, with the trios finishing positions repeating the race one stoush.

Cook was once again the man to beat in the Group 2 class, closely followed by Trevor Talbot and Stack.

Lining up for the third and final race of the weekend without podium contender Tilley, who broke his belt housing in the previous race, the battle for the final Touring Car podium placing was wide open.

Bullas took an early lead in the 12-lap decider, but was unable to hold the advantage, coming under fire from the #14 Camaro of Alastair MacLean who assumed the race lead with Marget in second followed by Bullas and Bowe.

Delivering an action-packed battle, the race lead swapped repeatedly among Marget, Bowe and Bullas with 2007 Champion Steve Mason and MacLean ready to pounce.

Tony Karafilovskis stricken Tifs Alfa Romeo then brought out the safety car for the first time for the weekend, compressing the field and setting up a climactic final dash to the chequered flag.

As racing resumed, Bullas made the most of the Boss Mustangs horsepower and pulled a quick gap on Bowe and Marget, but his advantage was short lived as the race lead switched rapidly between Bowe, Marget, Mason and Bullas.

A costly error saw Bowe accidently switch off his fuel pump and drift back down the order in the dying stages of the race.

Rectifying the issue, the Tasmanian regained a couple of places, but forfeited the overall round win to Bullas.

The final race win went to Marget, followed across the line by Bullas, Mason, Tony Edwards and Bowe trailing in fifth place.

Talbots Dukes Body Works Torana XU-1 scored the final Group 2 race win. Talbot and Cook scored equal points for the round with the victory awarded to Cook on countback, with Talbot in second and Rory ONeill rounding out the top three.

Bullas maintains his strong championship lead with Marget now in second overall Bowe close behind in third.

Talbot has snatched the overall Group 2 series lead and now sits ahead of the Porsches of ONeill and Cook.

The Biante Touring Car Masters is set to get even hotter when the series heads to the Top End for round three at Hidden Valley Raceway (Darwin, NT) on 19-21 June.

GAVIN BULLAS:

In race one, we had a good battle with JB, but really burnt up our tyres trying to catch him.

I struggled to get through traffic in the reverse grid for race two and by the time we did, it was too late to make up the lost ground and we were never really able to catch him.

It was an unexpected win to score the overall round honours. I really thought JB would take the last race too, but its good for my own championship so Ill take it gladly.

BIANTE TOURING CAR MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(after round 2 of 7):

Group 1
Gavin Bullas
Drew Marget
John Bowe
Steve Mason
Rod Wilson
Steve Makarios
Brad Tilley
Greg East
Tony Edwards
Alastair MacLean
Nigel Benson
Tony Hunter
Bob Middleton
Ross Donnelley
Mike Erwin
Rob Burns
Jim Richards
Brett Youlden
Garry Treloar
Graham Alexander

Group 2
Trevor Talbot
Rory O'Neill
Graeme Cook
Cameron Mason
John Nelson
Richard Fairlam
Greg Waddington
Ian McAlister
Phillip Showers
Mark Forgie
Bernie Stack
Mick Wilson
Amanda Sparks
Tony Karanfilovski

The Biante Touring Car Masters is proudly supported by Biante Model Cars, Rare Spares, Shannons Insurance, Hoosier Tires, Coopers and official charity RSPCA Australia.
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