May 25, 2014
GROVE/MCLAUGHLIN VICTORIOUS IN EPIC CARRERA CUP PRO-AM
It was the greatest driver line-up to ever grace Porsche Carrera Cup Australia as the pairing of Stephen Grove and Scott McLaughlin performed faultlessly to claim the 2014 Porsche Pro-Am title.
V8 star David Reynolds dominated the race early, jumping to the lead by Lap 2, though the former Carrera Cup champion couldn’t gap the field once a safety car was called to recover the Porsche of Nick Foster, which stopped on the circuit.
The sequence of driver change pit stops commenced soon after the race resumed, where Craig Baird handed over to Max Twigg, leaving the triple Elite Class champion in the lead mid-race.
Twigg held the lead for eight laps before being caught by the pursuing Professional Class racers Nick Percat, Warren Luff and Shae Davies – all who failed to finish Race 1 – and McLaughlin.
Percat and McLaughlin navigated their way to the front of the field and concluded the race with a spectacular battle on the final lap, with Percat and his regular co-driver Shane Smollen taking the race win from Grove, Luff (Geoff Emery), Davies (Adam Gowans), Richards (Damien Flack) and Race 1 winners Craig Baird/Max Twigg in sixth.
The feat was the first outright race win for Smollen and the sixth for Percat.
McLaughlin and Grove finished a close second – a result which secured the duo the outright victory and the 2014 Porsche Pro-Am title along with taking the Elite Class round win from James Bergmuller/Dale Wood and Ash Samadi/Jonny Reid.
Grove was ecstatic with the round result, which was the fourth time in Carrera Cup Australia history the round winner had not scored a race victory to achieve the result.
“It’s great to win the Elite Class and also to win the Pro-Am overall. I’m just stoked,” said Grove.
“The Pro-Am is a great format; you really get to learn a lot from the Professional guys which enhances your driving, and Scott is the best of the bunch. His knowledge and ability to pick the weather, to pick the conditions and his ability to drive are unquestionable. He’s just a superstar.”
McLaughlin was impressed with the championship and was happy to take the Carrera Cup outright round victory on debut.
“It’s pretty cool to get the round win; I’m now one win from one round; not a bad record. I love trying different cars and new challenges and this weekend was really fun,” said McLaughlin.
“It was a privilege to get invited to come and race this weekend in what was an amazing event. Stephen and his family are great and it has been an awesome weekend for the team. It’s certainly something I want to do next year.”
Sixth place in Race 2 secured Baird and Twigg the Professional Class round win from Sam Power/James Koundouris and Renee Gracie/Tim Miles.
Power and Gracie visited the Professional Class podium for the first time while Baird achieved his long awaited return to the top step of the podium.
“What worked for us yesterday with safety cars worked against us a little bit today but to come out with the Professional Class round win is great," said Baird.
“It was a great weekend from a championship point of view. It was hard for Max because he hadn’t been in the car all year but he did really well in both races.”
Luff now leads the Outright and Professional Class standings from Richards, while Baird has moved up to third in the points after a strong Pro-Am performance.
Pro-Am winner Grove has jumped to the Elite Class points lead from Bergmuller and Lago.
The championship returns to its single driver format for the next round of Porsche Carrera Cup Australia at the Townsville 500 on July 04-06, 2014.