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May 13, 2018

MAKRIS SWEEPS SANDOWN TO TAKE TITLE LEAD

 

A PERFECT weekend at Sandown has rocketed Jason Makris to the top of the Australian Prototype Series presented by Hot Wheels standings.

The Gold Coast-based driver backed up his race one victory with a commanding performance in the longer race two at Sandown, withstanding a sustained attack from teammate John-Paul Drake in the opening laps before pulling away to a four-second victory.

Dimitrios Zartaloudis finished a career-best third in the 23-lap affair, rebounding sensationally from a crash in race one.

Despite engine issues restricting him to sixth in race two, Mark Laucke completed the final step on the outright podium thanks to his impressive second-placed finish in race one.

Phil Hughes recovered from a trip to the turn one sand trap to take the Radical class honours over Tony Haggarty.

Makris’ perfect weekend has pushed him to the lead of the championship, now holding a two-point margin over J.P Drake.

Hughes’ sits third overall, just 10 points behind the lead while Mark Laucke and Dimitrios Zartaloudis sit fourth and fifth, respectively.

Sunday’s race started in the best conditions of the weekend, Makris getting an early jump and leading Drake into turn one.

He would lead the first four laps, though Drake continued to apply the pressure and ultimately swept past up the back straight to grab the race lead on lap five.

Makris quickly went on the offensive and re-passed Drake three laps later.

While Drake initially remained in close company with his teammate, a few slower laps mid-race saw him lose touch and drop five seconds behind the leader – a margin that would ultimately be too much to reduce.

The pace remained high throughout, however, Drake setting the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap.

It’s the second round in a row the Hot Wheels driver has walked away with the fastest lap of the weekend, having established the APS lap record at The Bend Motorsport Park in round one.

Laucke ran third early however dropped back through the field when his car began developing engine issues.

Zartaloudis was the big mover, passing Simon Haggarty and Neilson in the early laps before then moving past the ailing West to grab third on the eighth lap, where he would remain.

Like Drake, he also had superb pace for the duration and set his quickest lap of the race on the final lap – only 0.03s slower than his Wolf-driving rival.

Mitch Neilson finished fourth but only after a heady battle with Simon Haggarty.

The pair of Radical SR3s had retained close company and swapped positions numerous times before Haggarty’s No. 5 entry developed a puncture on the 15th lap, forcing him out.

Sage Murdoch’s horrible run of luck continued, with another non-finish.

The youngster from New South Wales’ failed to finish race one when his car lost oil pressure.

Switching to a backup West WX10, the same car he raced in round one, he then completed just three laps in race two before his car stopped at Dandenong Road.

The Australian Prototype Series presented by Hot Wheels will take a well-earned break prior to the next round of the series, at Queensland Raceway on July 27-29.

Action from round two can be reviewed on RadioLeMans.com this Thursday, and then on SBS Speedweek’ in coming weeks.