Grant O’Rourke has locked away third in the first 400 Thunder Pro Slammer Championship with a semi-final appearance at the 2016 City of Ipswich Winternationals, held at Willowbank Raceway (Queensland) at the weekend.

O’Rourke and his O’Rourke Motorsport Pro Slammer qualified second fastest in the 16 car field with a 5.848s/249.95mph pass, and also picked up bonus points for the biggest mile per hour marker set during the three sessions of qualifying.

In front of strong crowds at what is the largest championship drag racing event held outside of Northern USA; O’Rourke would face off against Bill Goonan (round one), Sam Fenech (Quarter Final) and Mark Belleri (Semi Final). His result in the Quarter Final saw him not only proceed to the Semis, but also set a new personal best for miles per hour.

“We had 18 cars competing for a 16 car field, a great category sponsor in our fellow Pro Slammer racer Stuart Bishop, some awesome crowds, a personal best (mph in quarter-final) and bonus points for top mile per hour after qualifying second quickest – it was a pretty good weekend,” said O’Rourke.

“Heading into this final round of the 400 Thunder Series we were locked in a battle with Belleri for second position on the standings.

“By making it to the Semi Finals we left with third, but we put on some great racing for some great fans and we left no stone unturned, so we are satisfied with the result.

“Special thanks has to go to Stuart (Bishop) who suffered a pretty bad car fire during the event for his support of our bracket, and also to all of our team, our fans, the officials, track staff, sponsors, media and more who support this event – it really is one of a kind.”

In round one, O’Rourke took the win against a red-lighting Gonnan, completing a lazy 9.82s/79.28mph run after seeing that Goonan had jumped the start. In the quarter-finals. In the quarter-final, Sam Fenech provided a strong match-up especially in the burnout stakes, but a 5.910s/250.46mph effort from O’Rourke was too much for Fenech’s 6.787s/177.07mph pass.

In the Semi-Finals, O’Rourke had lane choice over Belleri however his competitor was able to take the win with a 5.83 pass to O’Rourke’s 5.95 effort.

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