Rising kiwi star Matt Payne wins Sunday race in Townsville

By Our Reporter
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Matt Payne wins the 2024 NTI Townsville 500, Event 06 of the Repco Supercars Championship, Reid Park, Townsville, Queensland, Australia. 7 Jul, 2024 // Pic supplied

Penrite Racing rising star Matt Payne has returned to winning ways, with the Kiwi victorious in a strategy-fuelled 250km race at the NTI Townsville 500.

Payne, who broke through at the VAILO Adelaide 500 last November, put a three-stop strategy to great effect in an 88-lap marathon at Reid Park.

While Ford drivers swept the podium, with Cam Waters and Chaz Mostert second and third, it was a seismic day in the championship chase after a lap 1 crash for Will Brown.

The Triple Eight driver found the fence after a collision with David Reynolds, and nursed his ailing Red Bull Ampol Camaro to 24th and last.

Teammate Broc Feeney finished seventh and slashed Brown’s lead from 141 to 78 points, with Mostert and Waters also gaining valuable ground in the hunt for the 2024 title. Mostert cut the deficit from 270 to 174 points, with Waters now 389 points behind.

Pic supplied

Payne’s win made him the 7th different race winner of 2024 and the third different Ford Mustang driver to win a race this year. It was his first in Townsville, making him just the 11th driver to win a race in North Queensland since the debut in 2009.

“Awesome, unbelievable, we’ve had a tough couple of rounds lately,” 21-year-old Payne said.

“I knew we had a good race car yesterday, my final stint pace was really strong, so to put it all together today and try and replicate that with a different strategy from the team was absolutely wicked.

Matt Payne wins the 2024 NTI Townsville 500, Event 06 of the Repco Supercars Championship, Reid Park, Townsville, Queensland, Australia. 7 Jul, 2024 // Pic supplied

“I can’t thank them enough, they gave me an awesome car, and I’m just happy to put it where it belongs. There was no backing off, with our strategy we were pushing the whole way. Tough work, but very rewarding.”

Birthday boy Jack Le Brocq started on pole position and finished fourth, the Erebus driver the best of the Camaros today. He was ahead of Thomas Randle, with Ryan Wood sixth ahead of Feeney, Mark Winterbottom, Cameron Hill and James Golding.

A slow-starting Le Brocq opened the door for Waters, Randle and Will Davison to get by, with Saturday’s winner setting about opening a gap.

Matt Payne wins the 2024 NTI Townsville 500, Event 06 of the Repco Supercars Championship, Reid Park, Townsville, Queensland, Australia. 7 Jul, 2024 // Pic supplied

All hell broke loose behind them, with Brown sent into the outside wall by David Reynolds, before being sent into a spin at Turn 8 after contact with Hill.

Triple Eight’s nightmare was amplified by a scare for Feeney, who was escorted into the Turn 4 barrier by Anton De Pasquale and dropped to 11th.

Payne and Mostert stopped for a third time on lap 62, with Payne emerged a net seven seconds ahead of Waters, with Le Brocq, Mostert and Randle behind. Mostert picked off Le Brocq with 20 laps to go, but had two seconds to find on Waters.

Matt Payne wins the 2024 NTI Townsville 500, Event 06 of the Repco Supercars Championship, Reid Park, Townsville, Queensland, Australia. 7 Jul, 2024 // Pic supplied

Mostert caught Waters with 10 laps remaining, and the former teammates went into battle for the second straight day. However, Mostert didn’t have enough to get by, as Payne sailed to a 6.0575s victory.

The 2024 Repco Supercars Championship will resume at the Panasonic Air Conditioning Sydney SuperNight. Tickets for the event are on sale now.


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