Sep 19, 2014
CAMPBELL SHOWS IMPRESSIVE PRACTICE PACE
A RISING young star has already stamped his mark on the final round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Pirelli, racing this weekend with the Shannons Nationals at Phillip Island.
19-year-old Warwick driver Matt Campbell is making his outright class debut in the one-make Porsche series and rocketed to the top of the timesheets in official practice on Friday afternoon – a full 1.2 seconds quicker than noted Porsche ace, Peter Fitzgerald.
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Campbell wrapped up the class B title in the GT3 Cup series at Queensland raceway and has moved up to the later-model car in an effort to grab outright wins in the series’ final round this weekend.
Driving a car he borrowed from Australian GT regular Michael Hovey, Campbell already looks like a contender for victories this weekend.
“It’s the first weekend in the A-Class car so to be in front of everyone else, by that margin, after Practice is fantastic,” he said.
“I’d like to have thought I would have been up there at the point end, but I didn’t know where I’d stack up against them. To be up there after practice it’s looking good.
“Hopefully we can carry that through the weekend and if all goes well, we’ll get a win.”
Campbell has been supported by Hovey and the experienced McElrea Racing team this season with all parties pulling together to give the youngster from Warwick a go this weekend.
“Having guys like Luffy (Warren Luff) and the McElrea guys is a big advantage. They’re switched on and it’s great to be part of the team and around them,” Campbell said.
“Michael kindly offered me his car for the weekend. He can’t be here due to business, but for him to offer me his car is great.”
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia is the first ‘core’ Nationals category to conclude their season this year and current outright point’s leader Fraser Ross needs only finish inside the top-10 of the opening race this weekend to seal his inaugural crown.
Things didn’t start brilliantly for the local driver, however, damaging the front of his Porsche 997 GT3 Cup Car in practice earlier today after running off the circuit in difficult, slippery conditions.
The team expects to have the car repaired for tomorrow when the series tackles qualifying and the opening race of a three-race schedule with the Shannons Nationals this weekend.
The field includes the national level racing debut of 17-year-old second-generation driver, Brenton Grove.
The son of Porsche Carrera Cup frontrunner, Stephen Grove, was impressive in his first run today, ending the official practice session 10th overall and less than two seconds from the top-five.
“I was a bit surprised to be the quickest Class B driver, but I’m happy with where I’m at now. We’ll go away now and look at the data tonight and see where I can improve for tomorrow,” said Grove.
“I did not expect to be where I was in the results; I expected to be further towards the back but to be where I am is a surprise, though it is practice and doesn’t mean too much. We’ll see how I go tomorrow.”
Friday action at Phillip Island was made up of a mixture of unofficial and official practice today with a typically diverse mixture of weather conditions thrown at competitors across eight racing categories today.
Saturday’s bumper program includes a bumper 20 on-track sessions including the first races for each of the eight categories competing this weekend.
Click Here for a full Friday rundown of action from the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series website..
Click Here for a rundown of practice results from the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship..
Click Here to find out what happened today in the Australian Sports Racer Series..
Click here for a full Event schedule and weekend program.