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Ricciardello wins after wheel-stand scare

TONY Ricciardello survived a scary moment and the best efforts of Jordan Caruso to take Race 3 and round honours for the Precision National Sports Sedans Series at Bathurst.

After Safety Car periods blighted the opening two encounters on Friday, the finale ran green for its duration, leaving the two front-row starters to battle it out.

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Caruso took the lead around the outside at Turn 1 aboard the Audi A4, but could do nothing about the straightline speed of Ricciardello’s iconic Alfa Romeo GTV on Mountain Straight.

A cat-and-mouse battle ensued as Caruso, whose 2:03.6473s fastest lap was almost two-seconds quicker than Ricciardello’s, was quicker in all the wrong areas.

The West Aussie pulled gaps on the two big straights each lap and eventually took the chequered flag 1.2s clear, before revealing his hair-raising moment.

“I was starting to feel comfortable and picking some pace up, and then going up Mountain Straight, over the crest, the front of the car just lifted off the ground,” he told the category’s Facebook page.

“It was more than normal, it just took off at the front. I was like ‘man, stuff this’. So every crest I was just rolling out of it.

“I’d started to pull a gap on Jordan and after that I was like ‘this is not worth it’.”

Caruso, who scored pole on Thursday with a 2:02.5436s, explained that his Audi had not been geared properly for the Mountain circuit.

“We actually had the Winton drop gears in it,” he explained.

“It was weird, I was fifth gear across the top and then at the top of sixth halfway down the straight, just lifting off.

“I was pretty stoked with the time I did. I knew I wasn’t going to get past Tony, so I backed off for one lap to (create a gap) and get the 2:03.”

Brad Shiels was nearly 20 seconds further adrift in third aboard his Fiat 124 Coupe, having won an entertaining early battle with the Holden Monaro of Ashley Jarvis.

Jarvis finished sixth behind Steve Tamasi’s Holden Calibra and the Ford Mustang of Kiwi Angus Fogg.

Race 1 winner Tamasi started from the back of the 20-car field having failed to start the second heat and charged into the top 10 by the end of the opening lap.

Further back, Ronan Murphy – the son of Bathurst legend Greg – completed his first weekend at the circuit with a 15th-place aboard a MARC Focus, having started from pitlane.

The 2023 Sports Sedan Series will conclude at the Gold Coast 500 later this month, where Ricciardello will look to secure yet another national title.

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