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DAMIEN HARRIS MAKES AUSSIE TOP FUEL HISTORY AT PERTH MOTORPLEX

Rapisarda International Autosport International star Damien Harris has become the first driver in the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel championship history to claim back-to-back wins.

The historic occasion played out as part of a double-header meeting at the Perth Motorplex, November 11-12.


His first win came after defeating two-time champ Phil Read in the final of the Red CentreNats, initially scheduled for September but postponed due to inclement weather.

His time of 3.77 also established a new track record.


Twenty-four hours later, Harris outpaced “Carrot King” Phil Lamattina to win the final of the 48th annual Goldenstates second win came at the expense of “Carrot King” Phil Lamattina.


"To take one win was a great result for the team," Harris said. "But to back it up with another was fantastic and credit to the talent and focus of our tuner Santo Rapisarda Jr. and his team. They are giving me a great car to work with and putting in all the hours at the workshop back in Sydney to make it happen.”

For Lamattina, second place was a massive turnaround after finishing fifth on the opening night. “The conditions today were more favorable for our team,” said Lamattina. “In the final, neither “Damo” nor I had anything to lose. I got out there, shook, stabbed at the pedal and saw him go past.”


To the parochial Western Australian crowd, the highlight of the meeting was the debut of privateer Kyle Putland.


Virtually unknown outside his home state of Western Australia, he qualified and finished fifth overall.


“We’ve had a truly amazing weekend,” said Putland. “We started smoking the tires during the first two qualifiers and ended the meeting getting down the track with a 4.30 and 250 mile per hour at half-track. The other Top Fuel teams have been fantastic and said to me if there's anything you need, we're here to help you.”

Day one featured the A, B and C Finals from the Red CentreNATS and two qualifying rounds for the Goldenstates meeting.


In the A-Final, Harris led from the green to easily account for Read and also established a new track record. No speed was recorded due to a timing malfunction. Read’s quest to land his maiden win of the season ended after shaking the tires off the line.

Harris’ teammate Wayne Newby nailed the B-Final against reigning champ Peter Xiberras. Both smoked the tires - Xiberras on the hit and Newby 1.5 seconds into the run.

The C-Final pitted Phil Lamattina against teammate Shane Olive. Both struggled for traction, however, Lamattina prevailed after getting on and off the throttle to win.

At the end of the day, the qualifying order for the Goldenstates meeting had Harris on Top, followed by Xiberras, Lamattina, Newby, Putland, Read and Olive.


ROUND ONE Harris, on a solo, continued to set the pace with a 3.86, 272 mph despite tossing a belt. Xiberras, with a slick .07 reaction time, took honors over Olive, who was in the race until half-track, then smoked the tires. With a 3.92, 302 mph, Lamattina easily defeated Read, who sheared a bottom pulley on the hit.

Newby spun the tires just after half-track yet still ran a 4.19, while Putland dropped the #7 cylinder about 400 feet and hung on to post a tidy 4.77.

ROUND TWO

Xiberras’ hopes of advancing to the A-Final ended after a .006 redlight against Newby, who battled tire shake off the line.

Harris continued on his winning way and despite an early shut-off, still ran a 3.83, 320 mph to defeat Putland.

Lamattina had a solo when his teammate Olive was a no-show due to oil pressure issues.

Read, also on a solo, put a cylinder out at 3.3 seconds and shut off early.

FINAL ROUND

The Harris versus Lamattina battle thrilled the near-capacity crowd as two of the most experienced campaigners in the field went head to head. Harris quickly took the lead and prevailed with a 4.20. Lamattina began to slow over the later stages and finished with a 6.05.

Xiberras drove around Newby for a comfortable win in the B-Final and Read produced his best performance of the weekend, a 3.83, 313 mph to defeat Putland in the C-Final. Olive rounded out the field with a 3.99, 303 mph.

Reigning Australian Doorslammer champion Daniel Gregorini returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since the 2022 Westernats with a solo run when his opponent John Zappia was stranded in the pits with engine woes.

“We qualified second with a 5.72 and built from there,” said Gregorini. “We ran a pair of 5.75s to make it to the final. The car felt good and when the lock-up converter kicked in, it started to smoke the tires, began turning towards the wall, and I decided to get off it."

However, all was not lost for “Zap”, who defeated fellow Western Australian Kelvin Lyle in the final of the Red CentreNats held the previous day.


Round three of the ATFC is scheduled for Willowbank Raceway Queensland, January 6-7.

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