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HomeNewsBathurstLove takes BRT’s maiden win in Bathurst Dunlop Series opener

Love takes BRT’s maiden win in Bathurst Dunlop Series opener

AARON Love took the first race win of his Dunlop Series career with a commanding victory in the opening race of its Bathurst round.

Along with the being the 21-year-old’s maiden win on the Supercars ladder, the victory is the first for the Blanchard Racing Team across its ‘main game’ and Super2 Series operations.

Love prevailed in a race-long duel with polesitter Zak Best, who extended his Super2 points lead while several of his key rivals struck trouble.

The race was a disaster for Sandown round winner Ryan Wood, who exited the race on the opening lap with suspension damage after a clash with Kai Allen at Hell Corner.

While Best bolted from pole, a sluggish start from fellow front row-starter Allen left him vulnerable to both Love and Wood on the run to the first corner.

Love made it past before the apex, but Wood made contact with Allen on the exit and carted the Eggleston Motorsport Holden wide onto the grass.

Allen continued after losing several spots but Wood wasn’t so lucky, slowing on the run up Mountain Straight with broken front-right suspension and bottling up the pack as it arrived at Griffins Bend.

Zane Morse spun to avoid Wood and tapped the inside wall, causing suspension damage of his own and leaving both the magenta Mustang and black Holden to crawl back to the pits into retirement.

“I got a good start finally, which was awesome, and was down the inside of Kai at Turn 1 and we just made wheel-to-wheel contact and unfortunately it ended in this,” Wood told Fox Sports.

“It’s going to make the championship hard so we’ll just have a crack and see how we end up.”

The dramas left Best and Love with a small margin over Jay Hanson, who took advantage of the squabbling to nab third and proved the only driver able to hang with the leading pair.

Behind Hanson was a multi-car dice for fourth led by Zach Bates, until the WAU driver dropped his right-rear wheel onto the grass entering Hell Corner on lap 5 and had a half-spin that dropped him to sixth.

The margin between the front-running pair began to narrow, and it was a defensive Best that flinched with a locked brake at the Chase that sent him off the road and cost him the lead.

Love quickly built a margin exceeding two seconds, only to lose half of it with a mistake of his own at Forrest’s Elbow on lap seven. A locked brake sent the Petronas Mustang wide, Love gathering it up in time to avoid the tyre barrier on the exit.

Hanson’s impressive run ended on the following tour, the Image Racing youngster slapping the wall at Sulman Park and limping back to the pits to retire.

“It’s upsetting,” Hanson told Fox Sports.

“We’ve got a fast car that we’ve worked so hard to get so fast, and this weekend we’ve finally got the thing on point and then something like that happens, so it’s pretty upsetting. We’ll just regroup tonight and then go again tomorrow.”

Best continued his pursuit of the lead but was unable to get close enough to attempt a pass.

Cooper Murray’s crashed Eggleston Motorsport Commodore. Source: Fox Sports

The pressure came off Love entirely when the Safety Car came out on the penultimate lap, third-placed Cooper Murray having crashed his Eggleston Motorsport Holden at Griffins Bend.

“I think a tyre has gone down,” team co-owner Ben Eggleston explained to Fox Sports.

“(Murray) did say, when he braked for the corner his tyre started to feel a bit funny and then obviously it’s either blown or something’s gone on and he’s straight into the tyres.”

The Safety Car confirmed the victory for Love over Best, with Allen benefitting from his teammate’s late drama to take third place.

Bates hung on for fourth place over Brad Vaughan, who ran off the road mid-race after a failed bid to pass around the outside under brakes for the Chase.

Aaron Cameron, Lochie Dalton and Matt Chahda were next ahead of Super3 class winner Cameron McLeod in an impressive ninth, with Cameron Crick rounding out the top 10, while Super3 points leader Jobe Stewart extended his points margin with an 11th-place finish.

The Dunlop Series is back on track at 8:55am AEDT on Saturday morning for qualifying for Race 2.

RESULTS: Race 1, Bathurst Dunlop Series

178Aaron LoveFord Mustang GTDS218 laps
217Zak BestFord Mustang GTDS2+0.5437s
326Kai AllenHolden Commodore ZBDS2+1.8694s
425Zach BatesHolden Commodore ZBDS2+2.1924s
55Brad VaughanFord Mustang GTDS2+2.429s
627Aaron CameronFord Mustang GTDS2+2.7806s
743Lachlan DaltonHolden Commodore ZBDS2+4.0392s
818Matt ChahdaHolden Commodore ZBDS2+4.624s
992Cameron McLeodNissan AltimaDS3+5.2494s
1038Cameron CrickHolden Commodore ZBDS2+5.5812s
11999Jobe StewartHolden Commodore VFDS3+6.5495s
1254Jordyn SinniHolden Commodore ZBDS2+6.9289s
1330Aaron SetonHolden Commodore ZBDS2+7.9212s
1467Nash MorrisHolden Commodore ZBDS2+9.1138s
1522Mason KellyNissan AltimaDS3+10.1507s
163Valentino AstutiNissan AltimaDS3+10.9679s
1733Callum WalkerHolden Commodore ZBDS2+11.5269s
186Elly MorrowFord Mustang GTDS2+12.2648s
19117Jett JohnsonNissan AltimaDS3+14.2029s
20219James MastertonFord Mustang GTDS2+1 lap
2188Cooper MurrayHolden Commodore ZBDS2NTR
2270Jack PerkinsHolden Commodore ZBDS2NTR
2349Jay HansonHolden Commodore ZBDS2NTR
2411Zane MorseFord Mustang GTDS2NTR
252Ryan WoodHolden Commodore ZBDS2NTR

V8 Sleuth’s ongoing coverage of the Dunlop Series for Super2 and Super3 is proudly presented by Biante – Fuel your passion with winning model cars. Visit Biante here to check out their range of model cars in a range of scales from 1:64 to 1:10.

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