In a coming-of-age weekend for the still-new category, Jason Makris has swept to victory in the Australian Prototype Series at Winton Raceway after a series of thrilling races.
Pole and three race victories showcase a strong result for the Marina Mirage West WX10 driver however the results only tell part of the story: the Queensland-based driver forced to work hard for his victories in each of the three races.
Having qualified on pole, Makris then had to fend off Terry Peovitis for the victory in race one – a battle that was replicated in race two on Sunday morning.
Their race two battle was a thriller that saw the West driver able to grab the win in a stunning final lap.
The pair traded the lead twice in 3.1km with Peovitis grabbing the lead with a bold move at turn seven, using the FL1 cars advantage through the slow-speed corners.
Makris then used his straight-line advantage to tow behind Peovitis on the run to the penultimate corner, slicing up the inside at turn eleven to re-take the lead with a turn to go.
Behind the breathless battle for the win, John-Paul Drake finished third with Aaron Steer and Phil Hughes completing the top five.
If race two was frenetic, the third race was even better with the 15-lap finale’ putting on a show from start to finish.
The first lap saw three different leaders with Peovitis jumping to the point by the opening lap, only to come off the road at turn three – handing the lead to race two winner Makris.
He was then passed by Aaron Steer as they exited the final corner, though he wasn’t able to hold the lead for more than the length of the pit straight as Makris struck back to re-take the lead.
What followed was a highly-competitive fight for the lead with up to six cars bottled up behind the leader at any given time, each looking for a way past while battling themselves as well.
Makris ultimately held out attack after attack from Steer, who was unable to find his way past the leading West in the closing laps.
Gerrit Ruff finished third while Phil Hughes was forced to fight back to fourth place on two occasions during the race.
An off on first ccorner of the opening lap dropped him to last place, the Victorian climbing to fourth by lap ten before running off the circuit the following tour while trying to work his way into the top three.
He dropped to sixth place but was able to recover to a top-four position by the flag in another comeback drive – one that would prove vital to his championship points lead at the end of the weekend.
Mark Laucke’s best finish of the weekend came in the final race, climbing to fifth place.
After two strong runs in the opening races, Terry Peovitis survived an off-track excursion to ultimately finish seventh, behind Philip Tan.
Three highly competitive races this weekend saw even competition between the P1 Sports Racers, Radicals and FL1 open-wheelers with each class having their turn at the front of the field at some point across the weekend.
The enormously competitive racing sets the scene for a thrilling conclusion to the championship across racing in Sydney, Queensland and at Phillip Island later this year.
Makris (115 points) won the round overall ahead of Steer (102) and Peovitis (99).
After two rounds, Phil Hughes continues to lead the Australian Prototype Series overall, with 197 points.
Terry Peovitis sits second (181) while Mark Laucke retains third in the standings despite his challenging Winton weekend.
Jason Makris has climbed to fourth place overall thanks to his three race wins this weekend.
John-Paul Drake sits fifth in the standings, just 51 points behind the series leader.
Drake also leads the Kumho Cup standings ahead of Mark Short and Gerrit Ruff.
A tough weekend for Chris Sutton has seen Phil Hughes extend his lead in the Radical class standings, Philip Tan third in points.
Peovitis leads the FL1 standings after two rounds.
Round 3 of the Australian Prototype Series will be held at Sydney Motorsport Park on 7-9 July as part of the Shannons Nationals.