Super2 talking points: Can anyone catch Kai?

Dunlop Series
13 May
After a big break, the Dunlop Series will burst back into life at this weekend’s Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint

For the first time since February, it's race week for Super2 and Super3 drivers, and there is plenty at stake in Perth.

After a big break, the Dunlop Series will burst back into life at CARCO.com.au Raceway for this weekend’s Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint.

The season began at the Mountain, and it was a perfect weekend for 2023 champ Kai Allen, who opened his account with two wins.

Super2 Wrap: What went down in Bathurst

However, Perth is a vastly different challenge to Mount Panorama, with a sub-60-second lap just one of several things to think about.

Allen may have left Bathurst with 300 points, but he knows all too well how it can all fall apart in Perth, having been sent into a spin and dropped down to 19th in the first race 12 months ago.

Plenty has gone on since Bathurst, with Tony Auddino set to contest the rest of the season in an Image/Erebus Commodore, while the injured Zane Morse will be replaced by Ryan Gilroy, who returns from a long concussion-induced layoff.

Heading to Round 2, Supercars.com picks out five key talkings points from the Dunlop Series’ trip to Western Australia.

Can the champ be stopped?

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Kai Allen became the first driver since Chaz Mostert in 2012 to sweep the opening round of a new season, and has 300 points to his name. The teenager was rock solid, with his only blips being beaten by teammate Cooper Murray in the first qualifying session, and losing the lead off the line to Jobe Stewart on Sunday. However, on both occasions, Allen capitalised and led the way, and left Bathurst with the orange #1 on his window. Despite the lead, Allen isn't changing his ways, and is set to go after wins.

Cooper's comeback

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Kai Allen’s primary title rival heading into the new season was none other than Eggleston Motorsport teammate Cooper Murray, and the battle exploded from the get-go with Murray beating Allen to Saturday pole in Bathurst. However, an unforced error in Race 1 and a collision with Zach Bates in Race 2 ensured Murray left the Mountain with zero points. Murray already has a Triple Eight wildcard lined up, so he has incentive to impress. Can he get his campaign back on track and put pressure back on Allen?

Watch out for WAU

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Walkinshaw Andretti United had a strong return to Super2 last year, with Ryan Wood winning five races en route to promotion to the main game. Wood opened his account with a sweep of last year’s Perth round, proving WAU knows what it takes to get the job done at CARCO.com.au Raceway, something not lost on Zach Bates. Can Bates replicate Wood’s form and turn the tables on the leaders in Perth, and breathe new life into his title bid?

Tickford triple threat

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Tickford Racing entered 2024 with three drivers — a second-year driver in Brad Vaughan, a new signing in Lochie Dalton, and a rookie in Rylan Gray. Amid Allen’s 300-point start, Tickford’s trio kept their noses clean and ended the weekend third, fourth and fifth in the points, despite not showing their full hand. Vaughan defied ill health to podium in Bathurst, and also scored a pole in Perth 12 months ago. Dalton also has Perth form, claiming an overall weekend podium with Brad Jones Racing last year. Then, there’s teenager Gray, who recently raced a GT4 Mustang to victory at Phillip Island. Expect the Tickford Mustangs to play a key role in the weekend’s action.

The dark horses

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Image Racing and Erebus Motorsport have recently fostered some impressive talent, and Jobe Stewart and Jarrod Hughes —both Super2 rookies — have so far impressed. Hughes left his first Super2 round sixth overall with finishes of fifth and ninth, with Stewart just behind after a sterling run to second in the finale. Stewart, last year’s Super3 champion, claimed a pole and race win in Perth 12 months ago, and recently tested an Erebus Gen3 Camaro. Watch this space...

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