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HomeNewsFeeney wins action-packed Albert Park opener

Feeney wins action-packed Albert Park opener

BROC Feeney led home teammate Will Brown to extend Triple Eight’s unbeaten run in the 2024 Repco Supercars Championship on Thursday evening at Albert Park.

The first of four sprints for the weekend in Melbourne provided plenty of action right to the end, including Matt Payne sliding out of third place on the penultimate corner.

Payne, however, still took the final place on the podium as the only driver to overtake him, Nick Percat, had a five-second penalty for earlier contact with Chaz Mostert.

The race was fought-out over 18 laps after an unexplained issue on the initial start triggered a second formation lap, reducing the racing total by one.

Polesitter Feeney lost the start to fellow front-row starter Anton De Pasquale but was gifted the lead when the Ford driver ran wide at Turn 3.

Matters soon worsened for ADP, who was put under investigation for a false start (for which no penalty was forthcoming) and proved unable to hold the pace of the front-runners.

Brown relieved the Shell Mustang of second on lap four, at which point Feeney – managing his tyres – was just half-a-second up the road.

The next action happened behind as former teammates Percat and Mostert battled hard for fourth, resulting in the latter being nudged wide at Turn 14.

That dropped Mostert back to 10th while Percat charged on. The latter was issued his five-second penalty as he was rounding up De Pasquale for third.

Payne was next to pounce on De Pasquale before also nabbing Percat and then closing down on the Triple Eight duo.

The pace of Payne loomed as a headache for the Red Bull team, which had Brown all over the back of the conservative Feeney.

Feeney then turned up the wick with five laps to go, extending the gap to Brown to 2.3s at the flag – nabbing a bonus five points for setting the fastest lap on the final lap, vaulting him into the championship lead.

“We were just trying to manage it a bit,” explained Feeney post-race.

“(Brown) had some real good pace through the middle there so I just tried to put the hammer down at the end to make sure I had no pressure on those last few laps.”

Brown said post-race that “it would have been nice to have a bit of a go” at his teammate, prompting the question as to whether he had been told to hold station.

“I think they’ve done an awesome job of managing it, you know what I mean?” Brown replied. “If it was someone else there it would have been on!”

Percat was 3.7s behind Feeney at the flag but was dumped back to sixth by his penalty.

That left Payne with his second career podium in third ahead of Mostert, whose recovery drive included a clean late overtake on Cam Waters.

De Pasquale ended up seventh from James Courtney and Erebus duo Todd Hazelwood (despite a five-second penalty for a driving infringement) and Jack Le Brocq.

Mark Winterbottom was 11th ahead of Richie Stanaway, who started eighth but lost five places during a hectic mid-race battle triggered by an overtake from Mostert.

A tough day for Brad Jones Racing ended with its two top finishes, Bryce Fullwood and Andre Heimgartner, 17th and 18th.

Rookie Ryan Wood was 19th after an early clash with James Golding, who spun in the incident and ended up 23rd.

Thomas Randle was also in the wars, 22nd after spearing off at Turn 3 in the early going, and Jaxon Evans, who backed the SCT Camaro into the wall at the final corner early in the race.

The Supercars drivers have just one track session on Friday, Race 2 at 2:55pm, for which Waters will start from pole.

RESULTS: Race 1, 2024 MSS Security Melbourne SuperSprint

188Broc Feeney Triple EightChevrolet18 laps
287Will BrownTriple EightChevrolet+2.3253s
319Matt PayneGroveFord+4.7124s
425Chaz MostertWAUFord+5.1586s
56Cam WatersTickfordFord+6.1099s
610Nick PercatMSRChevrolet+8.7801s
711Anton De PasqualeDJRFord+9.2341s
87James CourtneyBRTFord+12.7935s
999Todd HazelwoodErebusChevrolet+14.7979s
109Jack Le BrocqErebusChevrolet+15.5365s
1118Mark WinterbottomTeam 18Chevrolet+16.6633s
1226Richie StanawayGroveFord+18.0143s
134Cameron Hill MSRChevrolet+18.5574s
1417Will DavisonDJRFord+19.9169s
1523Tim SladePremiAirChevrolet+20.3518s
1620David ReynoldsTeam 18Chevrolet+21.2806s
1714Bryce FullwoodBJRChevrolet+22.3756s
188Andre HeimgartnerBJRChevrolet+23.5647s
192Ryan Wood WAUFord+24.1932s
2096Macauley JonesBJRChevrolet+24.8619s
213Aaron LoveBRTFord+27.9654s
2255Thomas Randle TickfordFord+28.3189s
2331James Golding PremiAirChevrolet+29.9857s
2412Jaxon Evans BJRChevrolet+66.2375s
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