Best error paves way for Love victory

Dunlop Series
06 Oct
Aaron Love takes first Dunlop Series victory in incident-packed Bathurst opener
2 mins by James Pavey
  • Love wins first race after Best makes mistake

  • Wood, Morse rubbed out after early skirmish

  • Murray, Hanson crash out of third as Perkins cops engine issue

Aaron Love has taken his first Dunlop Series victory at Mount Panorama after forcing Super2 points leader Zak Best into a critical mistake.

Blanchard Racing Team rookie Love took the lead at The Chase on lap 4 after Best locked up and ran off the road. From there, Perth-born driver Love controlled the race, save for a scare at Forrest’s Elbow.

The race ended under the control of the Safety Car after a crash for Cooper Murray, who crashed out of third at Griffin’s Bend on the penultimate lap.

Murray was one of five retirements in the 18-lap race, with Eggleston Motorsport diagnosing a tyre failure as the reason behind the crash.

It was a damaging race for Murray’s fellow title combatant Ryan Wood, who registered his second DNF of the season after a first-corner clash with Kai Allen.

First lap: Drama for Wood, Morse as Best leads

Allen survived the early contact to finish third ahead of Wood’s Walkinshaw Andretti United teammate Zach Bates, with Brad Vaughan fifth ahead of rookie Aaron Cameron, Lochie Dalton and Matt Chahda.

Heading into Saturday, Best leads Allen by 42 points, with Wood and Murray now 213 and 228 points behind respectively.


Best won the start as Allen bogged down, with Wood making side-to-side contact with the #26 Eggleston Holden through Hell Corner as Love raced into second.

Lead swaps hands as Love forces Best into mistake

Zane Morse was sent into the Griffin’s Bend inside wall by Cameron McLeod as Wood limped back to pit lane. Later, Jay Hanson crashed out of third across the top of the Mountain as Jack Perkins picked up a terminal engine problem.

Murray’s crash ended proceedings under yellow, with Super3 driver McLeod and Cameron Crick rounding out the top 10.

The first lap drama saw a number of drivers make big gains; notably, Hanson moved from sixth to third, Bates from eighth to fourth, and Dalton from 16th to ninth.

Murray surrenders third with Turn 2 crash

Bates held fourth until an error at Hell Corner on lap 4 helped Murray and Allen past. Later around the lap, Best surrendered the lead to Love, who heading into the weekend, had yet to score a Super2 pole or victory.

Love opened the margin out to 1.7s by lap 6, but the margin nearly halved on the following lap when he bowled a wide at Forrest's Elbow. Love regathered and maintained a 1.1s lead, which was guaranteed once Murray crashed at Griffin's Bend.

The Dunlop Series will return to the track on Sunday for ARMOR ALL Qualifying at 8:55am AEDT, which sets the grid for Race 2 at 3:55pm.

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