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Jun 22, 2013

MUSCAT AND MORRISS VICTORIOUS IN OPENING WINTON RACE

Series standout Richard Muscat has continued his impressive pace in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli series with victory in the opening race at Winton Motor Raceway, strengthening his grip on the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy.

Muscat qualified on pole position for the 30-lap endurance race, however it was the Victorian’s title challenger Michael Almond who led to the opening corner.

Almond remained in the lead until the sixth lap, when Muscat was able to grab the race lead.

Almond struck trouble seven laps later when he ran wide at Turn 7, ultimately getting caught in the run-off area and prompting a safety car period.

With Almond now a lap down, Muscat seemingly cruised to a six-second victory however later suggested that the race wasn’t as 'easy' from within his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car.

“That race certainly wasn’t easy once I was in the lead. The car was quite heavy on the scales so I ran without a cool suit. Therefore it was getting hot in the car, making it pretty hard throughout the race,” said Muscat, who was awarded maximum points for the race in the Outright and Professional Class standings.

“Michael was quick at the start and I wasn’t certain I would be able to get past him. Once I did the car had great pace and I’m thrilled with the win.”

Fellow Victorian Fraser Ross scored his equal best GT3 Cup Challenge race result of second, moving him to second in the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy standings.

Muscat's team-mate, John Morriss, started the race strongly and continued this trend throughout the race, finishing third overall and first in the Elite Class.

“I’ve very happy with the results and with my start, which has been my Achilles heel this season,” said Morriss.

“It’s also great to have Richard doing so well and a great overall results for the team.”

Peter Fitzgerald finished fourth outright, his first top-three result in the Professional Class for the season, narrowly ahead of late-race challenger John Goodacre, Stephen Grove, John Karytinos, Jack Falla.

Almond recovered to finished ninth with Scott Taylor rounding out the top 10 in the race, while Phil Woodbury failed to make it to the start line after experiencing gearbox issues on the warm up lap.

Muscat’s Race 1 victory was his fourth consecutive race win for the season; the first time a driver has achieved this feat since Matt Kingsley’s Porsche victory streak in 2010.

The endurance race domination has extended Muscat’s lead in the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy standings, now 13 points clear of Ross.

“It would be great to take the Endurance Trophy. That was one of the goals entering the series however that was going to be a challenge having never raced in endurance races before, making it quite special if I won."

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli will hold two 10-lap races on Sunday to complete the third round of the series, which can both be viewed via live streaming on the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals website at www.thenationals.com.au.

Race Schedule
Sunday June 23, 2013
11:30am Race 2 - 10 laps
2:10       Race 3 - 10 laps

Jim Richards Endurance Trophy standings

1. Richard Muscat - 60
2. Fraser Ross - 47
3. Peter Fitzgerald - 38
4. Michael Almond - 36
5. John Morriss - 34
6. John Goodacre - 34
7. Stephen Grove - 30
8. John Karytinos - 22
9. Scott Taylor - 20
10. Phil Woodbury - 20