Murphy dominates SuperTourers first round
Greg Murphy got off to the best possible start at the first round of the V8 SuperTourer series, avoiding drama on the track and an afternoon oil slick to claim all three race wins at Hampton Downs.
Murphy bagged the first and second races in style, before a superb performance in the 30-lap feature race saw him complete the treble.
"I have to admit that in practice I was worried, the front of the car and the rear of the car were not connected and that did not make the car good," he said.
"We made a few changes and this morning in qualifying we had the car working exceptionally well. It stayed like that for the rest of the day and despite oil along the racing line for most of the lap in the final race, I was still able to control the race. It's a great start, I don't expect it will be easy as we move into round two, but we've got to be happy with a start to the season like this."
In stark contrast to Murphy, reigning champion Scott McLaughlin had a weekend to forget. After a mid-pack qualifying run, he was involved in a huge first-corner incident that took six cars out in the first race.
His was the worst damaged and his team spent most of the day repairing it. He started the final race, but only lasted eight laps before retiring.
Ant Pedersen, the feature race winner in 2012, again shone in the solo International Motorsport car and was Murphy's major challenger in the first two races.
In the third race he was affected more than most by the oil on the track and had a huge moment late on but executed the best save of the day to keep his race alive.
"I did think I was in the wall, so it was a bit of luck that it came back to me and I was able to continue."
Sixth place in the feature race netted a fine second overall for the round.
Third overall for the weekend was Richard Moore, clearly benefitting from M3 Racing's collective sharing of expertise.
At the sharp end throughout the day Moore looked fast and consistent and his third place was well-deserved.
New drivers Dominic Storey and Ashley Walsh showed great turns of speed at stages during the weekend, and will surely add a little more spice to an already exciting BNT V8 SuperTourer field.
Shane van Gisbergen just got better and better and his second place in the final race was very popular with the crowd.
John McIntyre was back on form after his season ending crash at Ruapuna, taking a great third place in the feature race, finishing just a couple of seconds up on Craig Baird, who also showed huge pace in the race. Paul Manuell - the oldest racer in the field - had a strong weekend and took sixth overall for the round despite losing a lot of time in the final race.