Joey Mawson seals incredible Phillip Island S5000 victory
Sydney driver Joey Mawson has won a dramatic and unpredictable VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship feature race at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit, claiming the inaugural Alfie Costanzo Trophy in the process.
The 24-year-old Form 700 / ALABAR Team BRM driver started the weekend by failing to set a lap in qualifying, but rebounded with a series of fast starts and breathtaking overtakes to work his way to the front in each of the three races this weekend.
RESULTS: S5000 Race 3
After finishing fifth in race one and third in race two, Mawson started the feature from the third row of the grid but a blinding start saw him carve his way through to second on the opening lap, before passing teammate Thomas Randle late in the race to record a stunning victory.
Four-time (1980-83) Gold Star champion Costanzo presented Mawson with his trophy following the race.
“To be honest, I really didn’t expect it,” Mawson said.
“After qualifying I thought the whole weekend was ruined but I had the attitude of never giving up in the races.
“I set myself an optimistic goal to get to the podium from sixth in the feature and as they say it’s never over until the fat lady sings.. a lot of things happened.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was in the lead. I’m really happy with the weekend – thanks to the Team BRM boys, Form 700 and ALABAR for helping me be here.”
Mawson had flown from sixth to second at the start before the race was red flagged after an incident on the opening lap involving Nathan Herne.
His Valvoline Team GRM entry had made a flying start, however contact between his car and polesitter Thomas Randle – who was defending his position – saw Herne’s car spectacularly launched into the air after his front wheel made contact with Randle’s rear.
The car landed on all four wheels, Herne climbing from the car under his own power before being taken to the circuit medical centre.
The race was suspended under a red flag while his car recovered, while the 18-year-old has been taken to hospital for precautionary scans following the incident.
The race restarted following a delay with Randle leading Mawson, Tim Macrow and James Golding back to the green flag for what would be an eight-lap dash to the flag.
Randle, who was battling a poor handling car following the earlier contact, found himself under immense pressure.
The Castrol Car ultimately ceded the lead to Mawson at turn two on lap six – Macrow and Golding also passing the championship leader in a series of ultra-competitive moves within sight of the flag.
Randle was also passed by his young Kiwi teammate Kaleb Ngatoa, however an off on the final lap of the race elevated Randle back to fourth on the final lap.
Golding then slipped his Valvoline GRM entry up the inside of Macrow’s USC Group car at Turn one on the final lap, securing his best result of the season with Macrow third.
Randle crossed the line fourth with Luis Leeds fifth – Webster, Capo, Ngatoa, Astuti and Willmington completing the top-10.
Provisionally, Randle now leads the VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship and the battle for the Motorsport Australia Gold Star award by just six points heading into the third round, to be held next weekend at Sandown Raceway.
Tim Macrow retains second while Mawson’s Phillip Island victory closes him to within seven points of the championship lead.
The Gold Star title campaign continues next weekend at the Sandown SuperSprint event on March 20-21.