Tony EvangelouDexion Racing has endured a difficult yet ultimately satisfying induction to the V8 Supercar Championship Series at this weekend’s Caterpillar Grand Finale’ at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

Driver Tony Evangelou put in a workmanlike performance to bring his Dexion Racing BA Falcon home in two of the three races and cap off a strong season that has seen the team consistently inside the top ten in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar series.

Answering the call from Team Kiwi Racing, Evangelou and the Dexion Racing Falcon logged their first V8 Supercar championship series laps in Friday’s 135-minute practice session, before going on to qualify the car 30th – but less than three tenths behind full-time V8 Supercar drivers Paul Morris and Brad Jones.

The team gained two places to complete race one – a 100km affair held Saturday afternoon – in 28th position.

Race two would prove to be an unlucky affair for the Dexion Falcon, Evangelou caught up in a number of incidents that put the team onto the back foot whilst running inside the top 25.

Early in the event a steering arm was bent after contact with Marcus Marshall, before further contact with the similar Falcon of Jose Fernandez damaged the front diffuser of the Dexion Racing Falcon.

Evangelou was then ordered to pit lane by race officials due to the loose bodywork on the Dexion Falcon and ended up four laps short of receiving the flag.

Things looked to be going worse at the beginning of the third and final race of the year, the car stopping on the formation lap and eventually starting the race from the pit exit, once the field had passed.

Rebounding from the difficulties, Evangelou then posted a strong performance to avoid the chaos surrounding him to finish the race a strong and satisfying 25th, scoring 44 championship series points for his weekend’s efforts.

“We had a coming together in the second race with Marcus Marshall that bent the steering arm,” Evangelou said.

“Things were going really well up to that point – we weren’t making huge progress but we had made some ground through the field and it was going well. I had made a ripper start and we were definitely on for a top 25 finish.

“Unfortunately after that we had an incident with Jose Fernandez that damaged the front bar – we got a meatball flag and unfortunately DNF’d a few laps from home.”

Evangelou explained that the race three dramas were down to the hot weather conditions, and a slow pace lap as the field lined up for the season finale’.

“At the start of the third race everyone banked up coming down into MG on the formation lap,” he said.

“We have been having some heat soak issues throughout the season and the car just stalled and then wouldn’t refire. The safety crews weren’t mucking around so they towed us back to pit lane straight away.

“Fortunately the car re-fired straight away and we were able to have a really good race to finish 25th.”

Achieving his aim of bringing the car home in one piece this weekend, Tony said that making the step up into the Championship series was a risk well worth taking.

”If we were running in the Fujitsu series this weekend we would have been inside the top three, but this was an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up,” he said.

“This is an opportunity we would never have got, and probably won’t get again at this stage, so it was worth it for the experience alone.

“The boys did a great job this weekend and they all learnt a lot. We did more laps and got so much data which will set us up for next year when it looks like Tim (Slade) will be driving the car.

“Everyone has worked so hard and it’s been a very satisfying weekend for us.”

The Dexion Racing BA Falcon will return to the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Championship in 2007, the season set to get underway at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, March 1 – 4.