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Super2 talking points: Title fight loading?

Dunlop Series
02 Jul
Supercars.com picks out five key talking points from the Dunlop Series’ trip to North Queensland
3 mins by James Pavey, Main Pic by Walkinshaw Andretti United
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It's race week for the Dunlop Series, and after the drama of Perth, there's plenty to look out for as the rising stars of Supercars arrive in Queensland.

After winning the first three races of the season, Kai Allen was brought back to the pack in an action-packed final day in Perth, which saw one of the most controversial and dramatic flashpoints in series history.

Through all the drama, it was Zach Bates who picked up the pieces, with the Walkinshaw Andretti United driver taking his first race and round wins to close the gap to Allen.

Heading to Round 3, Supercars.com picks out five key talking points from the Dunlop Series’ trip to North Queensland.

Title fight loading?

bates rob starr perth 2024 wau

It seemed the Kai Allen show would roll on after the Perth opener, with the reigning champion opening up an 81-point lead over Aaron Cameron, with Zach Bates 144 points down. However, a qualifying nightmare saw Allen buried in the pack for Race 2, which was won by Bates. With Cameron fifth and Allen ninth, the top three arrive in Townsville covered by just 84 points. Max Vidau and Cameron McLeod are just within reach, sitting 156 and 167 points down. Given Allen won last year's title after sitting seventh after Round 2, 104 points down, anything is possible.

Bouncing back after rebuilds

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Cameron McLeod and Mason Kelly made headlines during and after Perth, thanks to frightening moments that required big rebuilds. While Kelly's engine failure took a hard-earned top five away from the youngster, McLeod at least secured a top three finish after his crash, with results backdated a lap due to a red flag. The two rising stars will be determined to reward their teams' efforts since Perth, with both cars fixed in time for Townsville.

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How Murray responds

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Cooper Murray's start to 2024 has been a rollercoaster, with a double Bathurst DNF followed by a runner-up result in the Perth opener behind teammate Allen. Then, everything changed once again when contact saw Cameron McLeod sent tumbling through the air, with Murray disqualified over the incident. Murray took to social media to express his disappointment, but quickly turned attention to Darwin, where he impressed on debut in the main game. Having left Perth behind and raised eyebrows in Darwin, Murray could be a serious force in Townsville.

Veterans return

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Jack Perkins and Dean Fiore will add a fresh flavour to the field in Townsville, with the veterans getting valuable laps under their belt for the enduros. Perkins will steer a Blanchard Racing Team Ford, which will carry a stunning retro look. Perkins will race a Ford in the Dunlop Series for the first time since 2011, and while he has an eye on the enduros, won't settle for a quiet result. Then, there's Fiore, who will substitute for Jett Johnson at AIM Motorsport. Fiore crossed the line first in his last Super2 race, at Sandown in 2022, but was penalised over a time penalty for starting outside his grid box. However, finishes of third and fifth were enough for a cameo podium, proving Fiore is still one to watch. Can he repeat the feat this weekend?

Tweaked qualifying format

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The Dunlop Series will use a revised qualifying format in Townsville, with all drivers to compete for Boost Mobile Pole in single 20-minute sessions. Previously, grids were set by a split qualifying format, with Group 1 and Group 2 split into upper and lower 50 percent groups following practice. The grid was then set by the combined results of the two groups. Drivers have one session on track together to settle pole, and while traffic could play a role, everyone has the same track conditions to play with.

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