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HomeNewsBrown outduels Feeney to take Taupō finale

Brown outduels Feeney to take Taupō finale

WILL Brown has continued his impressive championship campaign, getting the upper hand over teammate Broc Feeney to win the Sunday race at Taupō.

The Triple Eight teammates duked it out for several laps in a thrilling exchange for the lead in the last stint, in a superb rebound from a poor Saturday for the Banyo juggernaut.

Anton De Pasquale meanwhile kept Dick Johnson Racing at the pointy end, his third-place finish securing the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy.

Compared to the fireworks seen at the start of the Saturday race, it was a tame opening as pole-sitter Matt Payne led Feeney and De Pasquale into the first corner.

Brodie Kostecki got a bad start out of third but did enough to only lose spot and keep former teammate Brown at bay – at least for now.

The key mover and shaker from the first lap was Chaz Mostert, who found himself wide at the exit of Turn 2 and dropped six spots (ninth to 15th).

That would set the scene for a comeback mission, Mostert making up all of that ground lost within 14 laps.

It was a seesaw at the front, with Payne flying early to hold a 1.6s lead by Lap 5, only to fall back into the clutches of Feeney five laps later.

After an impressive exchange, Feeney eventually made a pass for the lead stick at Turn 5 on Lap 13.

With his tyres seemingly hurting, Payne lost further places to De Pasquale and Brown (who’d overtaken Kostecki along the way) before the #19 Penrite Mustang came in for its first stop on Lap 20 of 60.

Cam Waters was the last of the semi-frontrunners to pit two laps later, leaving the corrected order as Feeney, De Pasquale and Brown at the head of the field.

By now, several drivers had benefitted from an undercut strategy, not least PremiAir Racing’s Tim Slade and James Golding who’d also jumped Payne to be running fourth and fifth.

There was more trouble for Mostert in pitlane, a delay undoing all his hard work and dumping him back into the second half of the field.

As Payne navigated a way past the Nulon Camaros, light rain started to sprinkle just before the halfway point.

That created a strategic dilemma, especially for the undercutters, as to whether to stay out in case it rained, or to bite the bullet and pit.

Slade, Will Davison and Nick Percat were among those clearly starting to hurt, and Saturday runner-up Davison duly brought forward his last tyre change to Lap 33.

Going in the other direction, once more, was Mostert.

But Ford’s hopes of a first win in 2024 were fading fast, Triple Eight looking the goods as Brown passed De Pasquale on Lap 32 to make it a one-two.

Brown wasn’t satisfied yet, closing up to the back of Feeney’s #88, who responded by pitting first on Lap 40 to cover off the undercut.

Brown stopped the next time around, but emerged with a near-three-second deficit in terms of the net lead.

By Lap 43, everyone bar Bryce Fullwood had completed a second stop, leaving the order (excluding the #14 Middy’s Camaro) as Feeney, Brown, Ryan Wood, De Pasquale, Mostert, Payne, Golding, Davison, Jack Le Brocq and Kostecki – and there was no rain to be seen.

Wood’s hold of third was not representative though given he was off-kilter on strategy, and WAU switched him to a three-stopper.

That Lap 46 visit to the pits dropped him to 20th, albeit giving Wood a tyre advantage to the end.

So, De Pasquale was back to third, but all eyes were way up the road on the intra-team squabble at the front with Brown now all over the back of Feeney.

With Triple Eight giving its young bucks a green light to race one another, the stage was set for a grandstand finish and Feeney and Brown delivered.

They first ran side-by-side into and around Turn 11, but there – and lap after lap – the elbows were well and truly out for Feeney.

Finally, seven laps from the end, Brown forced his way past and he went on to take the chequered flag with 3.3585s in hand from Feeney, boosting his title advantage to 71 points.

De Pasquale and Payne were third and fourth, while Golding passed Mostert to grab fifth.

Heimgartner also overtook Mostert late in a desperate bid to snatch the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy, with Le Brocq, Waters and Kostecki rounding out the 10.

A fast-finishing Wood was promoted to 10th after both Kostecki and Richie Stanaway were issued five-second penalties for contact with one another.

The latter two dropped to 12th and 13th, while Davison (19th) and Slade (21st) had little to show for their early progress.  

RESULTS: Race 2, 2024 ITM Taupō Super400

187Will BrownTriple EightChevrolet60 laps
288Broc Feeney Triple EightChevrolet+3.3585s
311Anton De PasqualeDJRFord+14.2612s
419Matt PayneGroveFord+17.4316s
531James Golding PremiAirChevrolet+22.6842s
68Andre HeimgartnerBJRChevrolet+24.3817s
725Chaz MostertWAUFord+30.1327s
89Jack Le BrocqErebusChevrolet+30.4356s
96Cam WatersTickfordFord+35.6640s
102Ryan Wood WAUFord+38.0105s
114Cameron Hill MSRChevrolet+38.4963s
121Brodie KosteckiErebusChevrolet+41.0632s
1326Richie StanawayGroveFord+41.4154s
1412Jaxon Evans BJRChevrolet+41.9596s
1555Thomas Randle TickfordFord+44.8192s
1610Nick PercatMSRChevrolet+51.7161s
1718Mark WinterbottomTeam 18Chevrolet+52.3949s
1814Bryce FullwoodBJRChevrolet+52.5872s
1917Will DavisonDJRFord+56.058s
2096Macauley JonesBJRChevrolet+56.3982s
2123Tim SladePremiAirChevrolet+57.473s
227James CourtneyBRTFord+76.6001s
233Aaron LoveBRTFord+82.0507s
2420David ReynoldsTeam 18Chevrolet+1 lap
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