Peter Xiberras and PremiAir Racing have raced all the way to their second Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship A-Final in a row this weekend, facing off against Phil Read in a final that had everyone gasping from start to finish.

It was a unique event for all of the Top Fuel competitors, with timing issues at the 1000ft mark of the Motorplex seeing the series resorting to alternative methods to declare the winners.

Following a meeting between the series, the track and the Top Fuel teams, a slow-motion camera was set up, and a three-strong adjudicating panel was appointed to declare winners, with an official positioned on either side of the track with a flag to signal the result. Half-track times were used for seeding and bonus points (for low ET and high speed).

In the final between Xiberras and Read, the slow-mo cameras were required, but not to decide the split at the line.

Instead, with both drivers in for an extreme pedal fest all the way down the track and neither prepared to give any quarter, replays were required to decide if Read had crossed the centre line as his dragster skated back and forward across the track.

Read was ultimately declared the winner, but Xiberras and PremiAir Racing are still smiling with their second A-Final appearance, meaning they have closed the gap in the championship.

“It has certainly been an interesting event, but it is all about putting on a show, and I think we more than achieved that tonight,” Xiberras said.

“The timing issues were clear from qualifying with issues on the tree, but no one expected them to develop as they did.

“In Q1, we accepted the green and ran to just before the 1000 foot, to record an ET of 4.233 seconds at 317.63 kilometres per hour only to later find out the 1000ft timers hadn’t worked.

“In Q2 there was just seven-thousandths of a second between Wayne Newby and ourselves at the finish line, with Newby’s 3.822-second pass bettering our 3.829-second effort.

“Later in this same session, Harris ran a 3.827, which meant that this qualifying session was declared the closest ever Top Fuel qualifying session in Australian history, with the top three all running 3.82.

“Come Sunday and racing under the workaround conditions put in place in light of the timing issue, we raced through for two wins in the opening rounds, the first over Shane Olive and the second on a solo, with the wins and bonus points for low ET of the round putting us into the A-Final against Phil Read – a rematch of our Top Fuel Slam final where we came out on top.

“It was quite the race, and while it didn’t go our way, we have closed the gap to Damien Harris in the championship chase now.

“This means that with two rounds to go, we are well and truly in the hunt for our third consecutive Top Fuel championship, and you can rest assured, we are going to be doing everything we can do to make sure it comes home with us.

“In the meantime, I want to say thank you to everyone that came out there to the Motorplex this weekend. I love coming here, it is an awesome track and what a crowd – racing is awesome, but to do it in front of a big crowd is even more special.

“Now we head back to Sydney for the Nitro Champs, where we won the last round, and hopefully, we can go one better!

Next up for PremiAir Racing is the Supercars Championship season-opener, the Thrifty Newcastle 500, to be held this coming weekend on the streets of Newcastle across March 10-12. For event information, visit

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