Mountain mastered

Mountain mastered

Two Mount Gambier racers Kai Allen and Jobe Stewart conquered a different mountain on the weekend as they climbed through the ranks at Mount Panorama for the opening round of the 2024 Dunlop Super2 Series.

Reigning Super2 Champion Allen won race one on Saturday with Stewart finishing 19th after an unfortunate stroke of luck at the start line.

“I still do not really know what happened, the clutch just started to burn out pretty much straight away as soon as I got on the throttle,” Stewart said.

On Sunday morning, Allen crossed the line only 0.08 seconds in front of Stewart in the second qualifying session to place the pair on the front row of the grid in race two that afternoon.

“After practice we were pretty confident and Saturday qualifying fifth we knew we had the pace to run with the front guys,” Stewart said.

“Once I did qualifying Sunday I was a little bit surprised by that, I knew we had it in us but it was a pretty good lap and then going into the race I knew we could stay up there, so it was just about hanging on.”

Stewart got the jump on Allen early, snatching first place before Allen regained the lead only a short while later.

“Sunday I was especially careful obviously on the start, just really easy on that clutch and then pulled away pretty nicely and got into the lead, so it was a big change from Saturday,” Stewart said.

Allen was pleased with his weekend and enjoyed the competition with his fellow local Stewart.

“Jobe got an absolute ripper and he did a really good job, led the first lap and then my car was being unreal down the chase the whole weekend,” Allen said.

“I saw that I was in the distance and just threw it in there and hoped for the best and came out the other side on top, so that was pretty exciting.”

Allen took the win again in a collision filled race two, with Stewart finishing second only 0.582 seconds behind to nab the second spot on the podium for the race.

“After my mistake (Saturday) on the start, it is great to just come back and show what we can do,” Stewart said.

SPEEDY STEWART: Mount Gambier racer Jobe Stewart took to the Mount Panorama track at Bathurst over the weekend for his Dunlop Super2 Series debut.

“After the first few laps I could stick with him (Allen) and was slowly pulling away from the guys behind.

“I think if it was green all the way, I definitely could have put a challenge to him.

“If I could have caught him towards the end I would have, but I was not able to.”

It was Allen’s fifth straight podium finish, with commentators already speculating that he might be the first driver to win back-to-back Super2 Championships.

“It is exciting, leading into the round it was tricky to see how it would all play out,” Allen said.

“I’m pumped to come out on top, I think we just stayed out of trouble the whole weekend.

“At the moment I’m not too worried about the championship, I just want to bag a few points in the first couple of rounds and then just see where we end up at the last couple of rounds.”

Stewart said despite he and Allen being on-track rivals, it was fantastic representation for Mount Gambier to have the two young racers on the big stage.

“Both of us coming from Mount Gambier and locking out the front row and backing it up for a one-two result for Mount Gambier is great,” he said.

“Now the first round is behind us, we (the team) know that we can compete for wins now so going into the next round that is just what we will do.”

The two Mount Gambier drivers will continue their rivalry at the Perth SuperSprint on May 17-19 in which Allen carries a 42 point lead in front of runner up Aaron Cameron while Stewart sits in seventh place.

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