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Phil Lamattina battled through challenging racing conditions at the second round of the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship, fighting back into third place in the championship after reaching the 48th annual Goldenstates final.

After under-performing by the team’s expectations at the opening round in Alice Springs, LTFR were looking forward to going fast at one of their favourite venues, the Perth Motorplex. However unseasonable bitterly cold and windy weather threw an unexpected curveball to all teams, leading to tricky track conditions.

Qualifying for both Phil Lamattina and Shane Olive was full of tyre shake and smoke, with both teams unable to find a clean run in the narrow tuning window crew chiefs had on the very cold racing surface.

Q2 doubled as the postponed - due to the cold - C-Final from Alice Springs. With both LTFR Top Fuel Dragsters facing each other, Lamattina came away from the win after both cars struck the tyres on the hit, Lamattina managing to pedal the FUCHS Lubricants dragster to the stripe first.

At the close of qualifying Lamattina still qualified a reputable third on the back of his Q1 6.18 second ET, and Olive was seventh, the timeslips an indication of the struggle teams had with the conditions.

With the race program moved forward to help avoid the track falling off again, Lamattina made strong statement in round one, blasting out a clean 3.92 to defeat the Jim Read Racing team in the more favourable conditions. Olive, in the Burson Auto Parts machine had quick early numbers is his race against defending champ Peter Xiberras, before the power went out in his nitro engine at half -track.

The LTFR team mates were due to race each other in round two, but oil pressure problems after warming up the Burson Auto Parts machine couldn’t be rectified in time, and Lamattina soloed to an easy 4.00 to secure a spot in the A-Final.

Conditions were back on the cold side for the Goldenstates final, Crew Chief Aaron Hambridge cranked up the tune up for the final to try and take on RAI's in form Damien Harris. Unfortunately, without lane choice, Lamattina was in the unfamiliar - for this event - right lane, and uncertain if the track would hold the tune up.

The FUCHS Lubricants dragster left the start line hard, but in the end, overpowered the racing surface at half-track, and though Harris had his own issues in the other lane, he was too far ahead to hunt down, and Lamattina settled for a respectable runner’s up at the 48th Goldenstates.

“Up against Harris, tuned by Junior, we knew they were going to go after it, we had to do that as well, we had nothing to lose,” said Lamattina after the final. “We just hopped it up, it probably didn’t stick because we hadn’t been in the right lane hardly all weekend, and we didn’t really know what it could handle.”

“We got out, and it shook, and it was pretty much over. I went to pedal it, but could see he was already gone.”

The result was a strong bounce back for Lamattina moving him up to third in the championship standings just 20 points behind Read, and with five rounds still to run, anything can happen in the pursuit of leader, Harris.

“It was good to turn our fortunes around and get into the A-Final, be runner-up and get some points to put us on track to hunt Harris down,” concluded Phil.

Olive, also finished the event on a strong positive. The Burson Auto Parts machine came good on the final run, punching out a clean 3.993, providing confidence ahead of the next round at Willowbank in January.

“It was a tough start to the weekend for our Burson Auto Parts Top Fuel Dragster leaving us behind the eight ball so to speak compared to the other teams in chasing the track,” said Olive.

“But the team pulled together and belted out a nice 3.99 second pass at 304mph to end the event, giving the team confidence we can compete for the event win at the next event in January at Willowbank.”

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