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The 2022/2023 Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship kicked off on September 1st and 2nd and for the first time ever, the nitro powered dragsters were as the headline act for Alice Springs’ amazing Red CentreNats event!

The Lamattina Top Fuel Racing team joined the annual horsepower pilgrimage to the centre of Australia as a part of a host of motorsport events – including a huge burnout competition – at venues across Alice Springs.

The event was the very first time Top Fuel have held a championship event at Alice Springs Inland Dragway (ASID) and LTFR was keen to start the season successfully.
LTFR used the short championship break to adjust the tune ups of both the FUCHS Lubricants and Burson Auto Parts Top Fuel dragsters in the hunt for more consistency.

Unfortunately, mother nature had other plans and with predicted heavy rain forcing organisers to cancel Thursday’s racing program which included two qualifying passes for Top Fuel. As a result, qualifying was a one-shot deal on Friday, that left crew chiefs with little track data from only the single qualifying run to adapt a competitive tune up for round one of racing.

Qualifying saw Phil Lamattina lined up against last season’s nemesis Peter Xiberras as the first pairing down the racetrack. The FUCHS Lubricants dragster was on a strong on the run, before dropping cylinders. Lamattina elected to lift off the throttle to coast to a 4.26-second pass, good enough for the number two qualifying spot.

For Shane Olive, the Burson Auto Parts machine half tracked quickly, before climbing up on the tyres leaving Shane no choice but to lift due to the tyre smoke for a 4.88 to qualify fourth spot.

Round one of racing started with a timing system malfunction during Lamattina’s first round race against Phil Read, with both cars asked to be shut down following their burnouts as they attempted to bump into stage. On the restart Lamattina cut a .066 reaction the best of the event for any driver however the FUCHS Lubricants dragster dropped several cylinders again early in the run for a 4.24, robbing the horsepower needed to stay ahead of the Phil Read 4.06-second pass.

Crew Chief Aaron Hambridge explained, “The air is a bit thinner here, not as dense compared to the rest of the country, so we must take fuel away from it, but obviously it wasn’t enough. What effect it had on the car, having to shut it off, and start again, who knows.

The sister car also struggled when Shane Olive’s Burson Auto Parts machine suffered a technical issue at the 60-feet mark, handing the win to Wayne Newby.

Round two though saw some good signs for the Burson Auto Parts dragster of Shane Olive, with his best run of the weekend against Damien Harris. Launching on an impressive .094 reaction, the two dragsters were stuck side by side to the stripe, unfortunately the Burson Auto Parts machine come up just short of the win, 4.25 to a 4.01- second pass.
Again, the shut down and restart of the cars seemed to affect both cars with both machines going up into instant tyre smoke on the restart. Read was able to recover and pedal the best to take the win again in trying circumstances.

Lamattina lamented, “Technical issues shift your focus on what you meant to be there for, and what you’re meant to be doing, but it is what it is.”

Rounds two saw some good signs for the Burson Auto Parts dragster of Shane Olive. On his way to best run of the weekend against Damien Harris in round two with an impressive .094 reaction. The two dragsters were stuck side by side to the stripe, unfortunately the Burson Auto Parts machine come up just short of the win, 4.25 to a 4.01- second pass.

The results would see team LTFR race each other in the C-Final that was due to be run later in the night, but the cold conditions in the desert night forced racing to be called off, and all the Top Fuel finals will be now run in November during the Perth round of the championship.

Lamattina concluded, “For Shane and me, we won’t dwell on today’s event, we will just regroup and focus on round two. At the end of the day, sometimes you just have one of those meetings that just doesn’t go right. Disappointing as it is, it’s the first round of the season, we will take what we have learned and take today on the chin.”

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