Western nitro: Perth preview

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The ANDRA Top Fuel championship heads to Perth Motorplex again this weekend with round four and five of the series set to fire.


Five of the 8000 horsepower, nitro-consuming beasts will be on the track, competing in an all new format with individual championship rounds on both Friday and Saturday under the lights of the famed Kwinana Beach venue.

In the last round of the championship, Mark Sheehan took his second win in as many events at the Motorplex, defeating Phil Lamattina in a 5.40 to 5.55 pedal fest.

Sheehan is in many ways the not-so-dark house in the series. He only contests the Perth rounds but has some of the latest generation nitro equipment aboard his dragster, including gear from USA powerhouse Alan Johnson Racing.

Sheehan is tuned by the USA’s John Smith and has lost just one of his last six races at Perth Motorplex in Top Fuel. Even then it was only by .016 of a second.

In contrast, for series points leader Darren Morgan Perth Motorplex has not been the happy hunting ground it once since 2011. Out of three events he has recorded two first round losses in WA, with just plain bad luck taking him out of the running in the last event where a throttle linkage issue at the hit of the accelerator pedal silenced the 160dB noise normally expected.

Sitting second in the points and now on a streak of three finals, albeit with three runner ups, Victorian Phil Lamattina is hopeful the Fuchs team has turned around its fuel system gremlins.

The last round of the championship in Perth certainly marked a step forward for the team. In fact the 4.66/324mph pass was the quickest and fastest Top Fuel pass at Perth Motorplex since Lamattina’s own 4.59/333mph banzai pass in December 2008.

Western Australian fire fighter Allan Dobson recorded one of Perth’s quickest 1000 feet times at the last event, a 3.93, before some mechanical problems. The team now just need the car to live through the last part of the track. They have publicly stated that they are out for the national records, which currently stand at 4.56 and 332mph.

Damien Harris returns to the series this weekend in his Best Tractor Parts dragster for the first time since his second place finish in the 2011/12 season. Harris won his first Top Fuel event in Perth just over a year ago and is keen to go out with a last hurrah for his current team and car, before shifting under the Rapisarda Autosport International banner.

The February 1-2 event at Perth Motorplex will be a unique one for all Top Fuel competitors, as the first using a new trial format where individual championship rounds will be run on each day.

Single-shot qualifying will be followed by an elimination round, where the quickest winners will move into the finals.

The Top Fuel action will begin each day at 6pm.

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