Sep 25, 2012
ENGEL LEADS EREBUS 1-2 AT PHILLIP ISLAND
German ace Maro Engel led an impressive Erebus Racing one two finish in race 2 of the Australian GT Championship – protected by Sargent Security at Phillip Island today.
With the pole position in qualifying and a close 2nd place to Craig Lowndes in race 1 on Saturday, Engel led home team mate Peter Hackett, a hard charging Lowndes and a determined Klark Quinn to take the overall round win to top off a very successful weekend for the likeable German.
"I could not have asked for a better weekend of racing” said Engel as he held his trophy aloft. “Everyone in the paddock has made me feel so welcome and the crew at Erebus Racing prepared an excellent car. The Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3/Michelin never missed a beat all weekend and my dices with Craig, Peter and Klark were very enjoyable.”
Craig Lowndes was equally pleased with his weekend of racing, “I’ve had an absolute ball racing here and have actually recorded my fastest ever lap around Phillip Island in the process, these cars being quite a bit quicker than a V8 Supercar thanks to their advanced engineering and aero packages. Hopefully next time I’ll go one step better and get to stand on the top step of the podium though”
From race start, Engel made his race winning intentions clear taking the lead from the OneWorld Bar Audi R8 LMS/Pirelli of Lowndes into turn 1 with the pair never being separated by more than a few metres right throughout the first stint, but following their pit stops Lowndes was not able to replicate the late race charge he delivered on Saturday and could not take the fight to Engel in the dying stages of today’s race.
Title protagonists, Klark Quinn’s Sargent Security backed Porsche 911GT3R/Michelin and Peter Hackett’s Erebus Racing Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3/Michelin were also locked in their own intense battle for the entire race with Quinn holding the upper hand in the early stages but Hackett having the advantage when it counted.
the compulsory pit stops certainly added spice to the race with all four leading drivers working their own strategies in an effort to find an edge. With Engel and Lowndes having an extra 18 seconds added to their timed stops due to their seeded driver status, it was Quinn who won the biggest advantage emerging from his stop to take a narrow race lead over Hackett, Engel and Lowndes, all in very close company. The ensuing laps saw an epic tussle between the four before Engel muscled his way past and started to assert his authority, drawing away to win by almost 8secs at the flag.
This left the other three scrapping over the minor places with first Hackett and then Lowndes finally managing to get past the hard charging Quinn, but Lowndes couldn’t find a way past Hackett no matter how hard he tried and all three raced line astern to the finish.
Behind the top four there was some equally impressive racing with Nick O’Halloran / Allan Simonsen securing 5th in the Maranello Motorsports Ferrari 458 GT3 followed by the Ash Samadi / Dean Grant ASR Mother Energy Drinks Mosler, John Brigg’s Audi Centre Brisbane Audi R8 LMS, Rod Salmon in the second of the OneWorld Bar Audi R8 LMS’s, the leading Trophy class Equity One Mortgage Fund Lamborghini of Dean Koutsimidis / Andrew McInnes and Tony Defelice / Renato Loberto’s Defelice Homes Ferrari 458 GT3 rounding out the finishers.
A concerted charge toward the end of race 2 saw Simonsen reclaim his GT Lap Record, broken on Saturday by Engel, recording a blistering 1.31.2837 in the Michelin shod Ferrari
Martin Wagg in the Alamoana.com.au Aston Martin DBRS9 and Rob Knight / Marcus Marshall in their Challenge class Premium Private Wealth Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car did not finish.
The Australian GT Championship – protected by Sargent Security now heads to the Gold Coast 600 on October 19-21
Championship Points – top 5