Pedders Racing Proton take Victory at Phillip Island
The Australian Production Car Endurance Championship was taken out by the Bendigo based team at Phillip Island this weekend. The six hour endurance race fielded all sorts of cars from Mitsubishi Evo X to Holden R8 Clubsport and from Toyota Echo to the Pedders Proton Satria GTi.
The team, headed by Grant Phillips recovered from a challenging day 1 of practice and qualifying to take out a hard fought victory in Class E of the Championship. The day was not without its own excitement however, Andrew Turpie started the race and looked to get past the teams main rival Maddison Gray in her Toyota Echo.
The tussling for position between Gray and Turpie was well noticed and enjoyed by all, but after some 14 laps Turpie took advantage of traffic and developed a lead that would eventually see the Pedders Racing Proton up to 17 seconds in front.
Having completed 1 hour and 55 minutes of racing, the Proton was getting low on fuel and the decision was made to pit.
The refuelling was completed by the Team Kirkham pit crew who nailed a fantastic stop while the driver change took place allowing Grant Phillips to take control of the small lead.
With the pit stop complete, Phillips was soon out amongst the racing and Gray’s co-driver Ashley Quiddington took back the lead heading into turn 1. Quiddington soon came unstuck on the very next lap when caught in traffic he turned in on Phillips and spun off of the track. Being caught in the sand trap, the Toyota Echo caused a Safety Car intervention and lost 4 laps to the Proton, however Phillips was concerned that there may have been damage to the driver’s side front end. A quick pit stop soon alleviated any worry and gave a lap back to the Echo.
On resumption of full racing, the team was notified of a black flag drive through penalty for “driver conduct”, however there was no further communication about the incident. Phillips took his drive through while his entire pit crew and Endurance Drivers stood in their pit garage and collectively waved.
Shortly after, another Safety Car intervention was required when the Safe-T-Stop Renault Clio of Richard Gartner had an impressive off at turn 6 and found itself sitting on its right side. The driver was taken away from the accident scene in the ambulance but fortunately sustained no serious injuries.
Grant worked hard to keep up with the “train” so as to avoid further penalty, however this is not always easy when you are racing in a Proton and an Evo IX or Evo X wants to go faster. On return to a green track he then continued to lap at respectable times whilst staying out of trouble and was not required to pit until the 4 hours and 20 minute mark.
Another text book fuel stop and driver change saw Daryl Martin take control of the GTi in its final stint. With a good track and warm tyres, Martin was soon on the expected race pace and then caught in a tussle with key rival Maddison Gray who had stopped 3 laps earlier. The two cars racing side by side around turn 2, then 3 and finally 4 was an impressive sight before Martin was given team orders to not get into a full blown race and backed off.
Several laps down and some good times coming in saw Martin brake late and find a flat spot coming into turn 4. This meant overshooting the turn and being forced to do a 3 point turn on the return road to safely return to the track. The laps then counted down as did the clock and with just over 30 minutes remaining Daryl made the same mistake at turn 4 but with rolling off the edge of the roadway when completing a 3 point turn, almost found himself bogged in the soft wet surface. Commentary again enjoyed some moments for the live on track telecast.
With just 10 minutes remaining in this 6 hour endurance race, Martin was paying particular attention to his fuel readings. Having the fuel light coming on at regular points was a key indication that they were in fact low on fuel, however backing off a little helped to conserve enough that the car made the chequered flag with fuel to spare.
Soon after parking the car, the whole team attended Presentation where the Pedders Racing Proton team drivers Grant Phillips, Andrew Turpie and Daryl Martin along with the Pedders Bull were presented with their first place trophies for the Australian Production Car Endurance Championship Round 1 and also for first place in Round 2 of the Australian Manufacturers Championship
The win gives the team a handy lead in the championship with 3 rounds still remaining, although we do know that in motorsports anything and everything can happen. The drivers would particularly like to thank their pit crew, John Burley, Damian Martin, Mike Ibbott and Jack Burley.
The Pedders Racing Proton is proudly supported by Pedders Suspension, Bosch, Valvoline, PBR, DBA, Whiteline Flat Out, MulchitES, Mark Weragoda Signs, J&A Light Freight, Moro & Dooly, Atomik Motorbikes Bendigo, M&C Tyres, DNA paints, Reliable Rack and Pinion and Australian Driver Magazine.