Down hustles his Tatts.com Falcon around Moss Corner en route to victory.

Round One of the 2013 S3 iRacing.com V8 Supercar Series and the start of the new season at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (affectionately known as Mosport); with Tatts dominating last season– winning 10 of 12 races — everyone was wondering if anyone can stop their domination.

Qualifying offered some hope for the non-Tatts contingent as  Justin Ruggier posted a 1:18.291 to edge defending champion Madison Down for the pole. Josh Muggleton and Shaun Kelly grabbed the Row Two ahead of Leigh Day and Tony Autridge, with Leigh Ellis and Rens Broekman starting from the fourth row and Matthew Nethercote and Michael Fabian rounding-out the top 10 starters for the opening round.

When the lights went green, however, it was Down getting the jump on the pole sitter Ruggier into Turn One.  Into the final corner at the end of Lap Two, Down left a slight gap and Ruggier tried to pounce straight away.  With better traction out of the corner, however, Down was able to maintain the lead across the stripe and down into White’s Corner (aka Turn One) and keep in the lead. On the same lap Ellis left a gap open into Turn Ten as well, allowing Broekman to get up the inside.  Contact resulted, pitching Ellis sideways before he made a great save and managed to lose just four positions in the incident.

Ruggier grabbed the pole from Down, but could not match his race pace.

The first retirement of the season was recorded by Jeremy R Allen, thanks to a short, sharp, shot in the behind from Tobias Czerny at Moss Corner.  Unfortunately, Allen’s Ford Falcon was badly damaged in the shunt and unable to continue.  This would not be the last incident of the contest.  One of the best battles of the race saw Scott Fountain and Scott McLaughlin swapping places multiple times per lap for several tours of the 2.459 mile circuit.   The battle came to an end into a (hectic) Turn Ten when Fountain left a gap on the inside and Simon Black filled it.  By the time Fountain realized Black was there it was too late, the collision sending Fountain into the outside wall and spinning Black around.

For all that, THE race’s most spectacular moment came as  Mitchell Abrahall battled with McLaughlin along the back straight.  Approaching the high speed Turn Eight some door to door contact was made when Abrahall went for a dive down the inside and the LMR Falcon got sideways over the kerbing.  This sent him right on over and into the wall ending his race in dramatic fashion.

“Air” Abrahall exits the race.

But back up front there were no such dramatics, as Down held off the early challenge from Ruggier and motored to the win with Ruggier and Josh Muggleton rounding out the podium positions.  Kelly had a strong run to fourth with Leigh Day rounding out the top five. Autridge took a strong sixth place from Broekman and Ellis, with Michael Fabian and Matthew Nethercote completing the top ten after a great, race-long battle.

Top Five Drivers – Championship Points – Overall
1. Madison Down – 280
2. Justin Ruggier – 267
3. Josh Muggleton – 255
4. Shaun Kelly – 243
5. Leigh Day – 231

Split Two Winner: James McKnight
Split Three Winner: Michael Wilson
Split Four Winner:  Nathan Bey
Split Five Winner:  Luke Betts
Split Six Winner:  Colin Boyd

Broadcast done by the crew at www.v8sonline.com.au

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