John Martin scored an unlikely S5000 feature win in an incident-packed single-seater feature race at The Bend in South Australia.
Anton de Pasquale was first to the flag but was penalised twice, once for tagging his team-mate Tom Randle on the first lap of the race and the second time for a jump-start, with the 15-second hit dropping him to fourth.
So the revised order put Randle into the runner-up spot with Will Brown in third.
There were three retirements that left seven cars at the finishing flag, but James Golding and Tim Macrow both went out after contact and Michael Gibson had a rare S5000 mechanical failure.
The South Australian weekend was only the second in the history of S5000 and the finale, after a qualifying sprint and then a reverse-grid contest, was drama packed with rare car-to-car contact.
The opening lap was when de Pasquale touched the rear of Randle, who had led from the grid, and that opened the way for a runaway at the front that was offset by penalties and led to a Martin-versus-Randle battle for the win.
Martin made one big mistake when he slid sidways down the hill at Whincup’s Folly, but he was able to block Randle and hold his lead.
“A W is a W. It’s not the way you want it but I’m happy to take it and you have to stay within the rules,” says Martin of his victory.
“I had a big slide there but I just hung onto it, and I was able to keep Randle behind me. I love these cars and I definitely want to do more of S5000 next year.”
Randle says he is surprised to know that it was de Pasquale who touched him, but was not angry.
“Mistakes happen.I really wanted to get the team a win, but second is next best,” Randle says.
“I pressured Will Brown into a mistake and I was having a go at Martin, but I couldn’t capitalise.”
For Brown, who did double duty alongside Martin in the TCR Australia Series, third place was good enough.
“Tom drove great all weekend. I locked the rears when he was behind and I couldn’t hold him off. But I was happy with the podium,” Brown says.