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Aug 6, 2013


Points leader Klark Quinn effectively sealed back-to-back titles at Queensland Raceway today during the penultimate round of the Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli, but despite taking two race wins from three races across the weekend, the result may very well have swung in Tony Quinn’s favour had the Darrell Lea Aston Martin not suffered a rare mechanical glitch in the closing laps whilst holding an unassailable lead.

Reigning GT Challenge class champion Jan Jinadasa overcame the difficulties of Phillip Island and Sydney Motorsport Park to claim his maiden victory in GT Trophy, whilst Brendan Cook and Matt Kingsley continued their march up the leader board with another win in Challenge class to move within striking distance of points leader Ben Foessel heading to the final round at Highlands Motorsport Park.

After dominating all weekend to add to their victories at Phillip Island and Sydney, Mark Griffith and Jack Perkins won all three races at Queensland, but despite the victory, they’ve dropped back to third and fourth in the points, with former points leader Michael Hovey regaining the class lead after using his ‘joker’ card to double his points haul for the weekend setting up a title showdown in New Zealand.

RACE THREE (40-minutes)

Sadly race three saw the attrition continue with John Modystach and Jonny Reid withdrawing after morning warmup with a dropped valve in their Porsche GT3 Cup Car, leaving 15 cars in the starters hands for the final 40-minute race of the weekend.

Courtesy of his race two victory it was Klark Quinn who controlled the start of the final race with Greg Murphy alongside in the Trofeo Motorsport Corvette, but whilst Quinn was quick, Murphy was quicker, forcing the point on the run into turn one to snatch the lead.

Behind them Liam Talbot was keen to follow up his outstanding debut in Rod Salmon’s Audi, holding down P4, with Justin McMillan, Matt Kingsley and Tim Macrow in tow.

The top four started to pull away with Macrow quickly through to fifth after working his way through from the tail of the field, but whilst there were individual class fights going on right through the field it was the lead of the race the fans were watching closely, with Tony Quinn the big mover.

He grabbed second from Klark on lap three and set out after Murphy, ultimately making his way through to the lead - despite Murphy’s best efforts to drive the world’s widest Corvette - on lap nine. From there he started to eke out a lead, and the result looked ominous as his advantage stretched further during the compulsory pit stop [CPS] window.

Tony Martin was first in for his CPS, followed closely by George Foessel, but unfortunately for the Motor School Porsche pilot, his stop was terminal, the team withdrawing with front left suspension failure.

The first of the lead pack to pit was Macrow to hand over to car owner Dean Koutsomidis, the stop ten seconds shorter than team-mates and rivals Rod Salmon and Liam Talbot by virtue of their lower starting position, a situation which set the stage for a third consecutive battle between the two Audi teams.

Ultimately Klark Quinn was the first of the outright drivers to pit, followed two laps later by race leader Tony Quinn and Liam Talbot, with Greg Murphy hanging out to the closing seconds of the window, pitting from the lead again on lap 21. By that stage it was advantage Tony Quinn, by an impressive 20+ seconds, with Klark Quinn inheriting second.

After an interminably long stop, Murphy became part of an Audi sandwich after leaving the pits immediately behind Salmon, and immediately in front of Koutsoumidis, but he was soon back through to third and off in pursuit of the Quinn Porsche.

Whilst Murphy worked his way past Salmon, Koutsoumidis closed in on the orange R8 again like a man possessed eager to see if he could repeat his opening race performance and take the Audi honours once more. He did what he could to follow Murphy, and in the process of following one of Australia’s best drivers, he caught Salmon as Murphy went through, then made the move under brakes at turn six.

From there the field started to settle down, but two laps from home, Tony Quinn’s almost certain race and round victory came to a sudden end, rolling to a complete stop between turns five and six. That allowed not just Klark Quinn to move into the lead, but by the time he got restarted, Murphy, Koutsoumidis and Salmon, although he was quickly through on the two Audis, to claim third at the line.

As Klark Quinn claimed an eight second victory, further back Justin McMillan was getting quicker and quicker, the Lamborghini pilot catching Salmon on the final lap.

As they approached turn four, McMillan dived up the inside under brakes. Contact ensued, which was almost inevitable as one driver did everything he could to claim another position, whilst the other driver did what he could to protect that position. Both spun as a result, with Salmon recovering to cross the line with the left front of his Audi looking very second hand, whilst the rear of McMillan’s Lamborghini also copped a hiding, although he did recover to claim sixth at the line.

For Klark Quinn though it was victory number two for the weekend, and in all likelihood, his second consecutive title.

“That was a great weekend for the team,” he agreed. “It was great to have my grandparents here to enjoy the weekend with us, so in the end it was a real family affair. The car was faultless apart from the little issue we had in opening practice, but it was made easier by the Aston rolling to a stop.”

“I got stuck in fourth gear,” Tony Quinn shrugged. “I don’t know what happened, but it just wouldn’t come out, and it was getting slower and slower, so in the end I decided to just stop the car, re-set the computer and hope it cleared up, and it did. Disappointing, but sometimes that happens..”

Greg Murphy too was reflective about the weekend, wondering what the result would have been like with a later specification car. “It is what it is,” he shrugged. “I love driving the Corvette, especially the aero grip it has through turns one and two. I knew I had to charge early, but I was always going to be introuble with the parity driver penalty I had during the compulsory stop, so thanks to Tony for gifting me another spot.”

It was a different Dean Koutsoumidis who lined up for the Equity-One team at Queensland Raceway, and he was rewarded with a fine fourth place in the final race, on merit too, the Victorian with Tim Macrow alongside rewarded with his best GT finish, and in the process, elevated himself to third in the championship points..

Rod Salmon was disappointed with the outcome of the final race, but admitted to having enjoyed his on track battles with team-mate Koutsoumidis, but after another master stroke employing the services of young gun Liam Talbot, he also admitted to enjoying his racing more than he has done in a while.

For Talbot though, he showed that he could run with the best of them, having all but matched pace with the leaders through the opening stanza of the race. “That was one of the most fantastic experiences I’ve ever had in my life,” he beamed. “I can’t thank Rod enough for giving me that opportunity.”

He may have finished the weekend with the rear end torn out of his once immaculate GB Galvanizing Gallardo FLII, but Justin McMillan was typically all smiles after the final race. “That was fantastic,” he grinned. “I was getting faster with each lap again as my confidence built, and having never been here before, I can now tick that box as we build towards next season.”

Steve McLaughlan’s race two fuel pressure woes were resolved just prior to the final race, the Victorian Dodge pilot working his way through to seventh and first Trophy class car home, although his race one spin and race two DNF dropped him to third for the round as reigning Challenge class champion Jan Jinadasa claimed the round win.

“I was following Graham Lusty around most of the race but was unable to make a pass because my gearbox oil temperature was up dramatically, so I had to wait for the right opportunity and it presented itself in the end,” he explained. Jinadasa crossed the line in ninth place, immediately ahead of the Lusty Mosler.

Matt Kinsgley grabbed eighth place in the Walz/Surelift Crane Hire Porsche of Brendan Cook, the pairing claiming their sixth consecutive Challenge class win to jump to within striking distance of points leader Ben Foessel heading into New Zealand.

For the Foessel team there were more dramas, their local circuit proving less than kind, George retiring early with suspension failure, whilst Ben too fell away towards the end of the race with another mystery knock.

Mark Griffith and Jack Perkins were again the stars of the GT4 Sports class, taking position 11 at the flag, for three consecutive wins, but it was Michael Hovey and car-owner Tony Martin who grabbed the top step of the podium for the round courtesy of playing their ‘joker’ card which automatically doubled their points. The result also put Hovey back on top in the championship race, with Martin also leap frogging Griffith and Perkins to be second heading to Highlands Motorsport Park’s series final.

Unfortunately for Darrell Dixon, the GT4 Skyline was withdrawn after the parade lap, the G&D Wheels team struggling with wheel studs, having broken a number of them across the weekend. “They’re an Achilles heel with these cars,” Dixon explained after race two, “so without the dedicated parts it’s a punt as to whether other replacements will do the job. Sadly it wasn’t to be, but we’re looking forward to NZ, now it’s just a matter of whether we take the Mosler or the usually unbreakable Nissan..”

The final round of the Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli is scheduled for Highlands Motorsport Park in New Zealand in three months time for two 40-minute races followed by an invitational ‘Highlands 101’ events (101-laps). The bulk of the Australian GT field are already committing to the round, with strong interest from within Australia and New Zealand from other teams.


2013 Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli
Race#3 - 40-minutes [4 August] Queensland Raceway, Ipswich
01. 1. Klark Quinn - Porsche GT3-R [CHAMP] - 33-laps
02. 29. Greg Murphy - Chevrolet Corvette Z06.R GT3 [CHAMP]

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

04. 71. Koutsoumidis/Macrow - Audi R8 LMS GT3 [CHAMP]

05. 6. Rod Salmon/Liam Talbot - Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra [CHAMP]

06. 48. Justin McMillan - Gallardo FLII GT3 [CHAMP]
07. 75. Steve McLaughlan - Dodge Viper [TROPHY] - 32-laps
08. 25. Cook/Kingsley - Porsche GT3 Cup [CHALLENGE] 

09. 77. Jan Jinadasa -  Gallardo LP520 [TROPHY] - 31-laps
10. 70. Graham Lusty - Mosler MT900 GT3 [TROPHY]
11. 19.Griffith/Perkins - Ginetta G50 GT4 [Sport]
12. 4. Ben Foessel - Porsche GT3 Cup [CHALLENGE]
13. 9. Martin/Hovey - Ginetta G50 GT4 [Sport] - 30-laps

DNF. 3. George Foessel - Porsche GT3 Cup [CHALL] - 12-laps

DNF. 21. Darrell Dixon - Nissan GTR-R35 [Sport] 
DNS. 26. Reid/Modystach - Porsche GT3 Cup [CHALLENGE]

DNS. 88. John Bowe - Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 [CHAMP]
DNS. 23. Roger Lago - Gallardo LP560 GT3 [CHAMP]

Keep track of round three of the Australian GT  Championship presented by Pirelli via the AGT website - and via Facebook; AustralianGT

The fifth round of the Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli will be televised on SBS Speedweek on Sunday, September 1 from 2:00pm AEST (check local guides for confirmation).

2013 Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli
Championship points (after five rounds of six)

GT Championship
1. Klark Quinn (540 points), 2. Tony Quinn (423), 3. Dean Koutsoumidis (276), 4. John Bowe (272), 5. Rod Salmon (262), 6. Greg Murphy (245), 6. Roger Lago (234), 7. Jack Le Brocq (220), 8. Justin McMillan (195), 9. Peter Edwards (190), 10. Andrew McInnes (154), 11. Liam Talbot (134), 12. Craig Baird (133), 13. Tim Macrow (122), 14. Jim Manolios (70), 15. Christian Klien (70), 16. Nathan Antunes (63), 17. Andrew Taplin (59), 18. Van Gisbergen/Kingsley (54), 19. Simonsen/Salo (50), 20. Steven Richards (46), 22. James Winslow (42), 23. Ivan Capelli (37), 24. Middleton/O’Young (30), 25. Ross Lilley (28), 26. Slade/Holdsworth/Hackett (26), 27. Mok Weng Sun/Griffin (25), 28. Lowndes/Luff (21), 29. Roloff/Schneider/Jaeger (19), 30. Russell/Kox (16)

GT Trophy
1. Steven McLaughlan (265 points), 4. Jan Jinadasa (150), 3. Graham Lusty (134), 4. Jordan Ormsby (102), 5. Kevin Weeks (58)

GT Challenge
1. Ben Foessel (488 points), 2. Brendan Cook (450), 3. George Foessel (391), 4. Matt Kingsley (346), 5. Michael Almond (110), 6. John Goodacre (91), 7. Modystach/Reid (87), 8. Keith/Kian Wong (61), 9. Brenton Griguol (39)

GT4 Sports
1. Michael Hovey (530 points), 2. Tony Martin (500), 3. Mark Griffith (497), 4. Jack Perkins (490), 5. Darren Berry (219), 6. Keith Kassulke (119), 7. Liam Talbot (100), 8. Darrell Dixon (77), 9. Lee Castle (71)