Mar 29, 2015
DEBUTANTS CLAIM SANDOWN OPENER
Series experience meant little in the opening race of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli with three debutants sharing class victories, with newcomer Ryan Simpson taking the outright win.
Simpson took pole position in a rain interrupted qualifying session and continued to set the pace from the race start; pulling a gap on the field in the opening laps.
The safety car was soon called to recover the cars of Jono Taylor and Scott Taylor at turn nine while Ross McGregor and James Abela were also victims of early race contact; Jono Taylor the only driver of the four to finish.
Simpson maintained his position at the front until the chequered flag to take a convincing five second win.
“I nailed the start and stayed ahead of the other guys and tried to get a gap on cold tyres. After the safety car I took off and gapped the field in the first couple of laps so I’m pretty happy with that. I’m still getting acclimatised to the Porsche but it’s great to have good pace while I’m still learning the car,” said Simpson.
The battle for second grew stronger as the race progressed. Geoff Emery held second place for the majority of the race but was challenged late by Jon McCorkindale, who came through the field from seventh on the grid.
Emery held on to claim second, the first of the Elite Class finishers, from McCorkindale, John Goodacre, John Karytinos, Dylan O’Keeffe, Tim Miles and David Ryan in eighth.
“I’ve only had the car for a week and a half and managed to squeeze in a test day and we were reasonable quick, so it’s onwards and upwards from here,” said Emery. “This is a whole new challenge for me; the Porsche is totally different to the V8 Supercar. I didn’t know where I’d fit into the picture but I’m happy where we ended up.”
Ninth placed Jaxon Evans was the best of the Class B drivers, the debutant competing among the Professional and Elite drivers for much of the race, finishing ahead of Nick Cresswell, young gun Aaron Seton, Brian Finn, Michael Tsigeridis, Shane Barwood and Jim Campbell, while Jono Taylor was the last finisher in 16th. The non-finishers list included Simon Ellingham, Jed Wallis, Sam Shahin, McGregor, Scott Taylor and Abela.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli will hold its final two races of the Sandown opening round on Sunday. To follow all Sunday’s racing from the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals, visit the Shannons Nationals website at www.thenationals.com.au.
Sunday March 29, 2015
10:30am Race 2 (12 laps)
1:20pm Race 3 (12 laps)