Heading to the Hidden Valley Drag Strip this weekend (June 17/18), the battle for 2022 Burson Auto Parts Top Fuel Australian Championship is too close to call.
Defending Champion Peter Xiberras leads two-time champion Phil Lamattina by a razor thin margin of just 10 points heading to the season finale.
Two rounds of qualifying and three rounds of ‘all-run’ racing separate the highly respected pair from knowing their championship fates, with absolutely no room for error on the table for either racer.
“It is of course best to be heading to the final ahead in the points, but the reality is that with just 10 points between us, it isn’t much of an advantage – this chase is going to come down to whoever finishes the best on Saturday evening,” Xiberras said.
“We are leaving no stone unturned in our preparation – we want to secure this title for the second consecutive time so badly we can taste it, but you know what – I can assure you that Phil and his crew are of the exact same mind!
“There is one thing I can guarantee, and that is that the fans are going to have a hell of a show to enjoy on Friday and Saturday night not only from Phil and I, but the entire Top Fuel field. I can’t wait to be a part of it.
“While we are leading the championship, we are yet to take out an event win this season, so hopefully we can be celebrating with the event trophy as well as the championship trophy come Saturday!
“As we look ahead to what will hopefully be a successful Friday and Saturday for our team, I want to say thank you to all of my crew for their dedication and hard work, my wife Carmen and my family for their ongoing support, and to our valued supporters including Fuchtard and Muscle Car Warehouse – here’s hoping we can all be celebrating hard come Saturday evening!”
Lamattina is hopeful that his strong form this season will stand him in good stead heading into the finale.
“It has been a bit of a weird lead up to the final, with a combination of nervousness as well as excitement. I don’t ever get nervous to drive the car, but I get nervous about the result and in this case, we know there are no more chances to make up anything, this is it, we are fully exposed!” Lamattina said.
“We are going to give it a red-hot go, and we are not going to make it easy for anyone. For us to be able to put an exclamation point on the season with a third win and the championship at the same time would be just great. Here’s hoping that Pete keeps up with his recent form,” Lamattina chuckled.
“In all seriousness, it has been a huge season. We have been careful to not make too many changes heading into the final round. There is added pressure on all of the Top Fuel racers this weekend with the combination of our event with the Supercars, so we don’t want to be leaving anything to chance, so we are keeping everything standard – we hope to keep it simple, just go the rounds, and win, but we all know it isn’t quite as easy as it sounds!
“I have to say thank you at this point to Shane for all the hard work and to all of the crew and Aaron back at the shop for all the hard work they have put in this season, especially with how the rounds have gone with the scheduling being quite tight. I also want to say thank you to Fuchs – this is their 19th year of supporting us and they are looking at hopefully carrying on into the 20th year which is a great thing. The MD of Fuchs is going to be in Darwin so hopefully we can get the job done for him. Finally, thank you also to my family and especially my wife Sarah, she keeps me on the straight and narrow!
“I also want to make mention of everyone involved in putting this whole championship together – we are already very excited about season two, which is going to be even bigger and better.”
Two rounds of qualifying will be held on Saturday evening at the Hidden Valley Dragstrip before three rounds of racing on Saturday evening decide the Burson Auto Parts Top Fuel Australian Champion for 2022. Nitro Up North will also host the opening rounds of the 2022/2023 ADRC Top Doorslammer and ADRC Top Fuel Motorcycle titles, and the final round of the TFRA Top Fuel Bike Championship.
Fans can watch all of Saturday’s action live and free, with the event telecast on both Fox and 7+.