MEDIA RELEASE/Radical Australia Cup – Photo: supplied
The 2019 Radical Australia Cup comes to its conclusion this weekend, with the title contenders heading back to Highlands Motorsport Park at Cromwell on the South Island of New Zealand to settle the season-long dispute between three-time champion Peter Paddon and title rivals Chris Perini and Mitch Neilson.
After a sabbatical in 2018, Highlands returns to its place as the host of season finale, with Perini holding an eight point advantage over his Garth Walden Racing team-mate Peter Paddon and a 66-point lead over Mitch Neilson. With 84-points still on offer, there is still much to play for, whilst in an ominous warning for Perini and Neilson, over the past five races at the popular New Zealand 4.1-kilometre, 22-turn circuit, no-one has ever beaten Paddon in qualifying or a race..
For Perini and Mitch Neilson – both of whom are still within reach of the title – neither have competed at Highlands in the past, although both have carded multiple race wins this season, both sharing three wins apiece, equal to Paddon’s 2019 record, although perhaps of note is that Paddon has not won a Cup race since early March, whilst Perini has bagged all three of his wins since. In fact Paddon has only seen the podium three times in the last six races, whilst Perini has been there in all but one event, whilst Neilson has also carded three podium finishes.
They won’t be the only drivers contending for a win at Highlands, with the field including six drivers who have competed at the South Island circuit in the past, four of them as starters in both 2016 and 2017.
Team-mate to both points-leader Perini and former champion Paddon, Kosta Pohorukov is also a former podium finisher at Highlands (race one and race two in 2016), as is the returning Phil Anseline (race two in 2016). After a challenging season on his Cup return, Tilton Interiors driver Pohorukov will be keen to close out the year with a result in a car that has some history in NZ, the ex-David Crampton SR3RSX that landed on the podium twice in 2017..
Series veterans Chris and Bill Medland can never be discounted, nor the returning Peter Clare who is looking for another strong close to the year after a mid-season podium at Sydney Motorsport Park and a tough run last time out at Tailem Bend, the Volante Rosso driver hoping to push for another podium trophy before the season draws to a close.
Brad Neilson will make his debut at Highlands in the SR3 that took he and son Mitch to victory at the opening round of the season at Bathurst, whilst Mitch will be looking for victory in his fight for the title with Perini and Paddon after a couple of setbacks with technical issues in the ex-Rowan Ross SR3RSX at both Tailem Bend and Phillip Island.
Paul Braico is one of five Highlands rookies, the round four podium finisher alongside GWR team-mates Paddon and Perini hoping to impress on his first run in New Zealand, having been caught up in much of the pre-event hype to find a spare car on site allowing him to make his third start of the 2019 Cup season.
Of all the Radical Australia Cup entries, arguably the happiest to attend Highlands will be Cup rookie Jim Hernandez, the expat American wearing the world’s widest grin since his season debut at Sydney Motorsport Park in March – the chance to try one of the most spectacular motorsport venues in the world, just too good an opportunity to pass up.
Whilst the action will continue to provide for the teams and the passionate local crowd, the focus will be very much on the championship with the returning Peter Paddon (who completed just a partial season last year), looking to add a fourth title, whilst both Perini and Neilson will quickly need to find their feet if they have any chance of upsetting the historic balance at Highlands.
With snow still on the nearby mountains and spring still slowly emerging after a long winter, conditions will be typically unpredictable, with some rain scheduled on Saturday, whilst low overnight temperatures (zero predicted on Saturday night) will ease to provide much more pleasant conditions with daily highs expected in the mid teens.
Action for the final of the 11th season of Radical Australia Cup begins on Friday, 4 October with three official 30-minute practice sessions ahead of just a single qualifying session on Saturday morning. Sunday will then provide both 50-minute races, with the first at 9:35am, ahead of the final race of the year at 12:40pm.
Follow the action across the weekend through LIVE timing (details will be released on the website and social media) and via the Radical Australia Facebook page.
2019 Radical Australia Cup
Rnd#6, Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell, NZ
4-6 October, 2019
Schedule: (time – NZDT, GMT+13)
Friday, 4 October
8:20am – Practice#1 (30-minutes)
11:30am – Practice#2 (30-minutes)
2:40pm – Practice#3 (30-minutes)
Saturday, 5 October
8:55am – Qualifying (30-minutes)
Sunday, 6 October
9:35am – Race#1 (50-mins)
12:40pm – Race#2 (50-mins)
- Chris Medland (RA Motorsports Radical SR3RS) – 2016/2017
- Phil Anseline (WT Partnership Radical SR3RSX) – 2016/2017
- Kosta Pohorukov (GWR/Tilton Interiors Radical SR3RSX) – 2016
- Jim Hernandez (RA Motorsports Radical SR3RSX)*
- Peter Paddon (First Focus Radical SR3RS) – 2016/2017
- Mitch Neilson (Volante Ross Radical SR3RSX)*
- Brad Neilson (Volante Ross Radical SR3RS)*
- Peter Clare (Shared Runway Radical SR3RS) – 2017
- Bill Medland (Medland Orthodontics/RA Motorsports Radical SR3RSX) – 2016/2017
- Paul Braico (GWR Radical SR3RS)*
- Chris Perini (GWR Radical SR3RSX)*
* Highlands rookie / 2016/2017 past years competing at Highlands
For all our news keep your eyes peeled on the Velocity Magazine website and social media, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for our daily updates and to get the latest edition of our glossy magazine subscribe here from just $55 for 12 months subscription.