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Brad Hodge dominates Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge with a start to finish win

Brad Hodge maintained his qualifying form with a decisive and calm victory, leading a determined group of celebrity racers at the 2013 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix today.

Hodge capitalised on mistakes made by Sir Chris Hoy and Jonathan LaPaglia, helping him edge away on the second lap and take the exciting race by an impressive 11.3 seconds.

It was a battle of the Underbelly stars for the remaining podium spots with Underbelly: Badness actor Jonathan LaPaglia just beating Jared Daperis - who will play ‘Squizzy Taylor’ in the next instalment of the Nine Network’s popular crime drama.

“He was right on me the whole time,” LaPaglia said. “It was the young gun going for the old gun and he was racing really well. I was hanging on for my dear life the whole time!”

British Olympian Sir Chris Hoy, who was headed for a podium result yesterday, surprised the field when he went wide at turn three and got bogged in the gravel trap, losing ground and momentum in the race.

“I was a bit ambitious going into the corner. I was side-by-side with Jonathan and there had been a few bumps before that,” Hoy said. “I had a good exit on the corner previously to that point so I knew that I had a bit of speed on but I was just way too ambitious. The weird thing was that at the end of the race once I was out of the sand I was way more relaxed. The race was over for me but I was driving really well, so the key is definitely to be more relaxed tomorrow.”

The exciting session had plenty of bumper-to-bumper action, with Mark Beretta engaging in a few tussles with Shane Delia in an attempt to get higher on the grid for tomorrow’s race. Vanessa Amorosi also went out early, failing to finish the race.

“The best thing was walking through the door and having Skaife say that it was entertaining racing,” Beretta said. “Hearing that is amazing for people who have been working together and doing this for a whole week. It is just incredible.”

Anna Meares continued to dominate the women coming in sixth place, ahead of Kate Peck in 11th and Em Rusciano who finished 12th.

The Mazda6 Celebrity Challenge continues tomorrow with the second race of the weekend.

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