Australia’s first 4.4 second run highlights Winternationals day two

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The Gulf Western Oil Winternationals delivered spectacular action over its second day but at the conclusion of racing everybody was talking about ‘that’ run.

Damien Harris’s 4.443 in the Santo Rapisarda Jnr-tuned Top Fuel dragster dropped the quickest time in Australian drag racing by a full six hundredths of a second. It was the eighth quickest quarter mile time in the history of the sport and made Harris the third quickest driver in history.

“It felt really clean. It turned the tyre a little bit but I wasn’t lifting and the chutes went out and it threw me pretty hard against the belts,” said Harris as he described the run.

“I pulled up at the bottom end and the boys down there said I went 4.4 and I was like ‘woah’.

“The best part for me is we didn’t go 4.499, we went deep into the four forties, so take that everyone – come and get us.”

Rapisarda said he was trying some different stuff with the car to make it run hard.

“I was figuring it would run a low 3.80 to 1000 feet and it ran a little better than that,” he said. “It is a testament to what we have learned and what Lee (Beard) has taught us. We are happy to do it for Dad and the family. We threw down, we threw the kitchen sink.”

Beard was proud of the achievement, one he has assisted in mentoring for over the past few years.

“For them to do that time here shows they can do it on both sides of the pond,” he laughed.

Peter Xiberras was next quickest in Top Fuel with an early shut off 4.78 in the new look gold Premiair dragster. It was a planned shut off as the team wanted to be sure their repaired chassis was up to the task. Terry Sainty clocked an impressive 4.93 for third, Darren Morgan a 5.03 for fourth and Larry Dixon a tyre smoking 11.42. Anthony Begley and Rachelle Splatt stayed in the pits and will come out to qualify on Saturday,

Gary Phillips paced Pro Alcohol with a 5.40, well ahead of Jon Sting’s 5.53. From there things got much tighter with the tough field bumped at Luke Marsden’s 5.82 after only one session.

John Zappia leads Pro Slammer with a 5.65 in their opening stanza, a new Willowbank track record. Sam Fenech impressed with a 5.84 for second while Tony Defelice also hit a 5.84. The bump spot is a relatively sedate 6.26 currently held by Pino Priolo.

Tyronne Tremayne is number one in Pro Stock with a 7.020, matched by Lee Bektash’s 7.020 but sitting slightly higher due to terminal speed. The field is a close one with the bump held by Scott Porter on a 7.10.

Chris Matheson impressed in Top Bike with a 6.18, shutting off at 1000 feet. A return to the baseline tune seems to have done wonders for the team. Damian Muscat’s 6.53 and Gavin Spann’s 6.78 followed on.

Brad Lemberg’s 7.14 is the current leader in Pro Bike, but is likely to improve come Saturday with, Daniel Rabnott sitting second in the five qualified bikes following a 7.30.

Sportsman update to follow in the morning.

Check out our gallery from day two here.

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