12 February 2022 | General


JOEY MAWSON commenced his S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship title defense in the best possible fashion, leading lights-to-flag to win the opening race of the season at AWC Race Tasmania today.

Starting second, Mawson made the perfect start from the outside of the grid to lead arch-rival James Golding into turn one.

From there the Sydneysider was never headed, holding off an early challenge from Golding before pushing hard in the final 10 laps and setting a new outright lap record as he extended his margin in the closing stages.

He ultimately won the race – his fourth S5000 victory – by just under one second, with Golding remaining in hot pursuit all the way to the flag to grab second.

After clinching the 2021 championship, Mawson was thrilled to start his 2022 defense in style.

“It was a great race for us,” Mawson said.

“Once I got the start and the lead into turn one, I knew I was going to be in a good position because it’s challenging to follow.

“I was really comfortable starting from second position and the start was great, from there I just had to manage the pressure from James. The team gave me a great car and I was able to push on later in the race and build a bit of a margin later in the race. It’s a great start to the year.”

Tim Slade finished third in his wings and slicks racing return, holding off a race-long challenge from young gun Cooper Webster’s Versa Motorsport entry throughout the race.

Webster made a stunning start from fourth on the grid, beating Slade into the hairpin on the opening lap – however it only took one more lap for Slade to power his Form 700 / ALABAR entry past the Versa Motorsport car.

Tim Macrow finished a solid fifth, losing touch with the leaders early in the race before showing solid race-long pace to offer some potential for tomorrow’s pair of races.

Blake Purdie finished sixth in his Nippy’s 88 Racing entry, while teammate Josh Fife was not far behind in his car from the same team.

Adam Garwood and Kaleb Ngatoa completed the runners in the 25-lap race.

Earlier, James Golding edged out Mawson to grab his second career S5000 pole, setting the fastest ever lap of Symmons Plains Raceway in the process.

Mawson was just 0.0653s behind – the second closest pole margin in series history – while Tim Slade qualified third and Cooper Webster fourth.

Tomorrow will see the top seven cars inverted for the second race, before the 25-lap finale decides the overall winner of the opening round this year, that grid to be determined from the points accumulated in races one and two.

With points awarded from qualifying and race one, Joey Mawson leads James Golding by two points in the championship following today’s action, Tim Slade, Cooper Webster and Tim Macrow completing the top five.

Races 2 and 3 will be shown live and ad-break free on Stan Sport, with Race 2 also live on 9Gem.