Feeney arrived at the Australian Grand Prix second in the points but, after taking pole position for the weekend’s opening race, he could only watch on as Anton de Pasquale took an early lead in the shortened 18-lap race.

But the positions swapped back before the end of the first lap, with Feeney passing Dick Johnson Racing Pasquale driver. The latter’s day continued to get worse as Will Brown and Matt Payne also progressed past the Shell-liveried Ford Mustang in the early stages.

The two Red Bull Ampol drivers and Payne – of Grove Racing – pulled away at the front and were able to look after their tires on a track much cooler than it had been in afternoon qualifying.

Payne’s third place was somewhat fortuitously protected by the car behind. Nick Percat was hit with a five-second penalty after early-race contact with Chaz Mostert so while the Matt Stone Racing Chevrolet driver was showing podium pace, he was never going to get the result that it would otherwise deserve. Just like that; Payne ran wide on the final lap and Percat got past, though the penalty dropped him to sixth place.

Moving up to fourth was Mostert, who recovered well to retake many of the places he had lost late in the race, and Cam Waters, whose brand-new Tickford Mustang appeared much more competitive than the car he raced in the opening round of the championship last month at Bathurst.

They were well clear of a battle for the minor placings that saw, at one stage mid-race, 10 cars fighting within two seconds. De Pasquale salvaged seventh ahead of the Blanchard Racing Team Ford of James Courtney.

To rub salt into the wounds of the opposition, both Feeney and Brown set their fastest laps on the final circuit, although Feeney’s fastest lap earned him an extra five championship points.

That fastest lap means that Feeney now leads the championship points but narrowly, his 359 just two points over Brown. In third place is Mostert (327) ahead of Payne (238) and Percat (237).

Broc Feeney, Triple Eight Race Engineering Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Photo by: Edge Photographics

“That was an interesting race, we just tried to manage it as best as we could out front,” said Feeney after the race, which he won by 2.32 seconds. “It has been a hectic day, pole, and win and fastest lap.

“I have [Brown] “had some real good pace at the end, I just tried to put the hammer down at the end.”

Brown admitted that he had the car in front not been his teammate, the second half of the race might have been different.

“I have [Feeney] had pretty good speed, it would have been good to have a bit of a go. If it was someone else there, it would have been on!”

Payne was philosophical after his last-lap scare.

“We had a bit of speed in qualifying and I knew it was going to be tough racing. I made a pretty bad mistake at the last corner, I grabbed both pedals. I knew Percat had a five-second penalty so I wasn’t that fussed!”

Friday’s second race will be over 20 laps and qualifying has already been held, with Waters to start from pole position ahead Brown, Feeney and Mark Winterbottom (Chevrolet).

Race results:

Cla No. driver Car/Engine gap
1 88 Broc Feeney Chevrolet
2 87 William Brown Chevrolet 2.3253
3 19 Matthew Payne ford 4.7124
4 25 Chaz Mostert ford 5.1586
5 6 Cameron Waters ford 6.1099
6 10 Nick Percat Chevrolet 8.7801
5-second penalty
7 eleven A. De Pasquale ford 9.2341
8 7 James Courtney ford 12.7935
9 99 Todd Hazelwood Chevrolet 14.7979
5-second penalty
10 9 Jack Le Brocq Chevrolet 15.5365
eleven 18 M. Winterbottom Chevrolet 16.6633
12 26 Richie Stanaway ford 18.0143
13 4 Cameron Hill Chevrolet 18.5574
14 17 Will Davison ford 19.9169
fifteen 23 Tim Slade Chevrolet 20.3518
16 twenty David Reynolds Chevrolet 21.2806
17 14 Bryce Fullwood Chevrolet 22.3756
18 8 A. Heimgartner Chevrolet 23.5647
19 2 Ryan Wood ford 24.1932
twenty 96 Macauley Jones Chevrolet 24.8619
twenty-one 3 Aaron Love ford 27.9654
22 55 Tom Randle ford 28.3189
23 31 James Golding Chevrolet 29.9857
24 12 Jaxon Evans Chevrolet 1’06.2375


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