Allen resists Murray in Perth Dunlop Series opener

Dunlop Series
18 May
Reigning champion continues perfect start to 2024 with sublime lights-to-flag performance
3 mins by Zac Dowdell
  • Allen heads home Murray in Eggleston one-two

  • Zach Bates jumps to third in the standings after rounding out the podium

  • Late race pass sees Burcher continue his perfect start in Super3

Kai Allen has proven once again that he is the man to beat in the 2024 Dunlop Series with a clinical performance in Race 1 at Perth.

The reigning champion got the better of his Eggleston Motorsport teammate and pole sitter Cooper Murray at the start and was never headed, and was delighted with his performance.

“It’s a good way to start the weekend in Perth,” Allen said post-race.

“Got the jump and just managed the gap behind me to Cooper. It was good to see a really long green race in Super2, especially as this track is good for us young drivers to learn the tyre deg.”

Allen did his future propositions no harm with a mature performance, a fact that was not lost on the 18-year-old.

“It’s really good for me, hopefully stepping in the main game next year, to get those longer races under my belt, which we haven’t seen in the past in Super2.

“Really strong performance, can’t thank the boys enough. We’ll try and tune it up tonight, and see how we go tomorrow."

Whilst there was jubilation for Allen, Brad Vaughan’s day was over before it began as a starter motor failure before the formation lap wasted his third position on the grid.

That meant there was a blank space on the second row of the grid as the remaining 24 cars were released after an unusually long hold.

First lap: Allen pounces on pole-sitter Murray

Zach Bates got a good start from the third row to muscle his way past Cody Gillis into turn one, and proceeded to pull away from the BJR rookie with the two Eggleston cars.

Further back into the pack, Gillis’ teammate Elliott Cleary got launched skywards on the run to turn three after contact with one of the Tickford cars, miraculously escaping without major damage.

A solid start for Mason Kelly came to naught when the Kelly Racing Mustang toured the gravel whilst running well inside the top ten, plummeting down to the rear of the field, though that wouldn’t be the worst of his troubles.

Meanwhile, all eyes were on the front of the field as Allen, Murray, and Bates were all setting near-identical lap times as the gaps between them fluctuated between half a second and one second.

However, the race was turned on its head on lap 24 when Jett Johnson attempted an opportunistic move on Callum Walker at turn one following Cody Burcher.

Johnson nailed the inside kerb and tagged Walker into a spin, with Mason Kelly an innocent bystander as he was collected by the spinning Ascot Demolitions Commodore.

Kelly and Walker collide after Johnson contact

The safety car would be deployed whilst Walker and Kelly recovered, whilst Johnson would be handed a drive through penalty for his role in the incident.

The restart would come on lap 28, and although Allen didn’t drop Murray and Bates right away, he had saved enough tyres out in the lead to eke out a margin in the closing laps.

Any chance of a fight for the minors was dashed when Bates would receive a bad sportsmanship flag for exceeding track limits at turn seven, the young Canberran following Murray home to claim the final spot on the podium.

Bates was a big winner from Saturday, launching from eighth to third in the points standings after claiming his second podium of the season, though with a 144-point deficit to Allen.

Cody Gillis maintained his fourth position from qualifying for a personal best Super2 result, with Aaron Cameron rounding out the top five to maintain second in the points standings 81 points behind Allen.

In Super3, Cody Burcher maintained his perfect record after a late race pass on Thomas Maxwell, with the MW Motorsport Nissans finishing in 15th and 18th outright respectively.

The Dunlop Series returns to the track tomorrow morning at 11:05am AWST/1:05pm AEST for Boost Mobile Qualifying for Race 2.

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