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May 28, 2013

CONSISTENCY THE KEY AT PHILLIP ISLAND FOR MINDA

Three rounds into the 2013 Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli, Minda Motorsport’s reigning Trophy Class champions continue to punch above their weight in the Equity-One Audi R8 LMS. Team-mates Dean Koutsoumidis and Andrew McInnes continue to improve with every outing to be right in the championship fight amongst an array of much newer 2013-specification cars.

“We weren’t sure what to expect from the ‘upgrade’ from the Lamborghini we ran last season to the newer specification 2011 Audi R8 LMS, especially given the large number of new and upgraded cars we are competing against this year,” Dean Koutsoumidis explained. “But so far, we’ve been able to mix it with some of the newer cars and be right in the thick of the action, and here we are at the mid-point of the season, and we’re doing very nicely thank you very much!”

Despite almost three months since the Adelaide round with the V8 Supercars, the team had been able to turn some practice laps during test sessions at Phillip Island, with both drivers ‘in the groove’ ahead of the Phillip Island round, although by race day, Andrew McInnes was lamenting a lack of time in the car..

“Our arrangement is that whoever is the slower driver after qualifying buys dinner for the team that night,” McInnes explained. “Dean drove in two of the three practice sessions, the sponsor ride session and qualifying, and now he’s faster, so it’s my shout.. #&*%!”

Despite the unpredictable nature of the Phillip Island venue at this time of year, race one provided cool but dry conditions, although with a 3:55pm start under cloud cover, the fading light was always going to provide an added level of intensity.

Off the fourth row, alongside F3 star James Winslow in the 2012-spec Audi R8 ultra of Rod Salmon (the former car owner of the #71 R8 LMS), Dean made a great start to be in the thick of the battle over fourth position, although far enough back not to be caught up in Justin McMillan’s wild spin on the exit of the final corner on lap two.

From there he sat comfortably, not too far off the battle for fourth, to be sixth by the time he was due in for his compulsory pit stop [CPS]. Andrew rejoined in eighth position, but was quickly through on Jim Manolios and Rod Salmon to take over sixth, which became fifth after points leader Klark Quinn stopped again after damaging a tyre.

“That’s not a bad result,” Koutsoumidis grinned post-race. “It was nice to see Andrew have a bit of a go for a change.. [laughs].”

Clearly fired up by his team-mate’s comments, McInnes fired off the line in race two to give the recovering Justin McMillan and Ferrari’s Peter Edwards something to think about, the #71 Audi filling the mirrors of the two 2013-spec cars all the way to the pit stop, handing the car over to Koutsoumidis in fifth place.

Dean rejoined the race in seventh, which quickly became sixth after the demise of Roger Lago’s Lamborghini, but during his stint he was caught and passed by Winslow in Rod Salmon’s Audi, the Equity-One/Minda Motorsport Audi crossing the line in seventh place for more valuable championship points.

“The car was faultless all weekend,” Dean acknowledged afterwards. “It didn’t put a wheel wrong, and our lap times improved with almost every session. Consistency really is the key for us this year because we just don’t have the outright aero grip of the newer cars, but we’re always there, and with three rounds still to come, we’re still in the points race!”

For the Minda Motorsport team the next round of the championship will come in six weeks time at Sydney Motorsport Park (Eastern Creek) on July 12-14.

2013 Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli
Rnd#3, Phillip Island - Qualifying [May 25]

01. 36. Jack Le Brocq - Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG [CHAMP] - 1:26.5248R
02. 88. John Bowe - Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 [CHAMP] - 1:27.4308

03. 7. Tony Quinn - Aston Martin Vantage GT3 [CHAMP] - 1:28.0291

04. 23. Roger Lago - Lamborghini Gallardo LP560 GT3 [CHAMP] - 1:28.8855
05. 48. Justin McMillan - Gallardo LP600+ GT3 [CHAMP] - 1:29.0617

06. 1. Klark Quinn - Porsche GT3-R [CHAMP] - 1:29.1267

07. 71. Dean Koutsoumidis - Audi R8 LMS GT3 [CHAMP] - 1:30.5255

08. 6. Rod Salmon - Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra [CHAMP] - 1:31.3387
09. 75. Steve McLaughlan - Dodge Viper [TROPHY] - 1:33.9012

10. 29. Jim Manolios - Chevrolet Corvette Z06.R [CHAMP] - 1:35.9553

Race #1 [May 25]

01. 36. Jack Le Brocq - Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG [CHAMP] - 39-laps

02. 7. Tony Quinn - Aston Martin Vantage GT3 [CHAMP]

03. 23. Roger Lago - Lamborghini Gallardo LP560 GT3 [CHAMP]

04. 88. John Bowe/Peter Edwards - Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 [CHAMP]

05. 71. Koutsoumidis/McInnes - Audi R8 LMS GT3 [CHAMP] - 38-laps

06. 6. Rod Salmon/James Winslow - Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra [CHAMP]

07. 1. Klark Quinn - Porsche GT3-R [CHAMP] - 36-laps
08. 19. Mark Griffith/Jack Perkins - Ginetta G50 GT4 [Sport]

09. 29. Jim Manolios - Chevrolet Corvette Z06.R [CHAMP]

10. 73 Michael Hovey - Ginetta G50 GT4 [Sport] - 35-laps

Race #2 [May 26]

01. 36. Jack Le Brocq - Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG [CHAMP]- 38-laps

02. 7. Tony Quinn - Aston Martin Vantage GT3 [CHAMP]

03. 1. Klark Quinn - Porsche GT3-R [CHAMP]

04. 88. John Bowe/Peter Edwards - Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 [CHAMP]

05. 48. Justin McMillan - Gallardo LP600+ GT3 [CHAMP]

06. 6. Rod Salmon/James Winslow - Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra [CHAMP]
07. 71. Koutsoumidis/McInnes - Audi R8 LMS GT3 [CHAMP] - 37-laps

08. 75. Steve McLaughlan - Dodge Viper [TROPHY] - 36-laps

09. 29. Jim Manolios - Chevrolet Corvette Z06.R [CHAMP] 
10. 19. Mark Griffith/Jack Perkins - Ginetta G50 GT4 [Sport]