Saliba overcomes engine issues in the desert

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Darren Saliba

Despite niggling engine issues which have plagued him since Nitro Up North, Darren Saliba clean-swept the Top Sportsman proceedings of the Desert Nationals at the weekend.

The event at Alice Springs Inland Dragway marked round two of the 18/19 Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series. Now, the South Australian is hoping he can get his engine issues sorted in time for round three at Mildura’s Sunset Strip across September 22-23.

“It was a total shock to take the win in Alice Springs, to be honest we didn’t expect to get through the meeting the way the engine was,” explained Saliba, who thanked his family, crew and sponsors Creative Concrete SA, Competition Automotive and Autobarn Elizabeth as well as Howard Springs Caravan Park for their support during the Alice Springs event.

“In Darwin we Top Qualified and then we hurt the engine, we put a new lifter in and kept going and went out in the semi-final to Rick Smith.

“Then we were off to Alice and continuing to have problems, seeing us trying to work out why one bank on the car was not working, and we still have that problem now!

“We still managed to Top Qualify and then had a bye run into the semis. Once again, we faced off against Rick Smith in the semi-final but this time we were able to get the win and we went on to race the Australian number one, Jason Arbery, in the final.

“Jason is one tough competitor to beat, but I cut a good light and we were able to take the win. It was a very pleasant surprise as we didn’t know how we were going to make it through the meeting or if it was going to pull up or blow up, luckily it didn’t blow up!

“Now, the car is on the hoist and we are draining the oil out; there is so much metal coming out of the sump. The engine will be pulled out shortly and we are hoping to get it sorted so we can get to Mildura, but we will just have to see how we go.

“In the meantime we reflect on a great tour up north – we had a really enjoyable time and we can’t wait to see what we can do across the rest of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series season,” concluded Saliba while giving a nod to ANDRA, Summit Racing Equipment, the Central Australian Drag Racing Association and Hidden Valley Drag Racing Association for their support of the events.

Round three of the 18/19 Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series will be held at Mildura’s Sunset Strip across September 22-23. For more information, visit or

– ANDRA Media Release

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