May 23, 2015
AUDI WINS AUSTRALIAN GT 101 THRILLER
ACTION APLENTY highlighted a monster day at round two of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals event at Phillip Island – the Australian GT 101 and Porsche Carrera Cup enduro highlights in a massive day.
Thrilling finishes highlighted both opening races in the Australian Formula Ford and Australian Formula 3 championships, while the grid was also set for tomorrow’s Great Southern 4 Hour AMChamp enduro.
Yet it was the sports cars that put on the big show today with a thriller Porsche battle between V8 stars Scott McLaughlin and Nick Percat the highlight.
The second annual Australian GT 101 proved a hugely competitive and delivered another dramatic finish as German Christoper Mies and Aussie legend Greg Crick edged out defending winners Garth Tander and Tony Quinn’s McLaren.
The action today was watched by a significant trackside audience and by record numbers on the live, free stream provided by Nationals TV and the Shannons Nationals.
AUSTRALIAN GT 101
ONE WEEK AFTER winning the Nurburgring 24 hour, German Christoper Mies teamed with Aussie hero Greg Crick to win another stunning Phillip Island 101 in dramatic circumstances.
The charging JAMEC-PEM Audi R8 LMS was left on the tail-end of the lead lap following a late race Safety Car and though still in contention, was more than 1m30s behind and in third place behind the leading Ferrari and the Erebus Mercedes with less than half an hour to go.
The Trass Family Motorsport 458 GT3 driven by Jono Lester and Graeme Smyth had dominated much of the race however a late-race safety car dropped them back to the field.
The Safety Car interruption brought the Audi and the flying German behind the wheel back into the game and following the restart he pounced, taking advantage of a slowing Smyth to storm to the front with less than 20 minutes remaining.
The Kiwi Ferrari entry slowed in the second sector, dropping from the lead to fourth immediately following the Safety Car though would recover to third at the line.
Mies established himself in front but had to fend off a flying Garth Tander before his victory was secure, his McLaren – shared with fellow defending Phillip Island 101 winner Tony Quinn – storming home to second in the closing stages.
As he did last year, Tander stormed home in the final laps and got to within three seconds at the line in his pursuit of the winning Audi.
Maranello Motorsport’s Tony D’Alberto and Grant Denyer finished fourth with Erebus Mercedes SLS AMG combo Geoff Emery and Max Twigg completing the top five. Marcus Marshall and James Koundouris finished sixth in their Porsche GT3-R and the last car on the lead lap – five different brands finishing inside the top six.
The race went for 87 of the scheduled 101-laps and ran for 2hours 42 minutes before the flag was flown in near totally dark circumstances at Phillip Island.
PORSCHE CARRERA CUP
A COMBATIVE fight between V8 rivals Scott McLaughlin and Nick Percat set the scene for a thrilling Porsche Carrera Cup ProAm opener today.
Percat and car owner Shane Smollen won the race but had to scrap with McLaughlin and Stephen Grove in a thrilling battle to get the victory after nearly a full hour of Porsche racing.
Percat started from the front of the field and established an early lead however McLaughlin was the early mover, working his way through from 5th on the grid to second in the early stages.
He and Percat then staged a race for the ages as they scrapped for the lead, swapping the top spot on three occasions before the pit window opened – entering the lane with McLaughlin leading Percat by less than a car length as they stopped.
A quick stop by Smollen’s team saw him get out in front with the 56 entry able to pull away to victory.
It was the second-straight ProAm win for the Smollen / Percat combo after the pair won the Sunday race of the 2014 ProAm event twelve months ago to the weekend.
Cam McConville and John Goodacre finished third with Neale Muston charging Nick McBride’s Porsche through the field to fourth in the closing stages.
The Shae Davies / Geoff Emery, Nick Foster / Dylan Thomas, Steve Richards / Dean Grant, Roger Lago / Steve Owen, Craig Baird / Max Twigg and Adrian Mastronado / Tim Slade pairings completed the top-10.
A second race tomorrow will complete the ProAm round with the drivers that finished today’s race to start tomorrows.
AUSTRALIAN FORMULA 3 CHAMPIONSHIP
JON COLLINS has held out Ricky Capo to win the opening race in round two of the Australian Formula 3 Championship after a sensational last-lap battle for the lead.
Collins led the race from pole position and held off Capo in an early battle before a lengthy mid-race Safety Car slowed proceedings.
Racing resumed with three laps remaining and Collins again showed strong pace on cold tyres, however Capo quickly closed in and was in a position to attack on the final lap of the race – which he did.
A bold lunge down the inside at turn four was followed by a side-by-side battle through Siberia, Collins holding sway as the pair raced towards Lukey Heights and the passing zone at MG.
Capo again dove down the inside at the tight right-hander but Collins firmly shut the door, holding onto the race lead. Capo towed up behind the leader on the long run to the finish line however fell just 0.1 seconds short after a Formula 3 thriller.
Luke Spalding completed the top three in his Bestjet.com Gilmour Racing Dallara with Dennie Rumble and Nathan Kumar completing the top five.
AUSTRALIAN FORMULA FORD CHAMPIONSHIP
CHISTIAN MORINA held out impressive Queenslander William Brown to win the opening Australian Formula Ford series race at Phillip Island by the tiny margin of 0.05s after yet another breathless Formula Ford display.
A typical Formula Ford slipstreaming battle saw the result up for grabs until the final few meters.
Brown charged forward from 8th on the grid, while Polesitter Luis Leeds ultimately finished fifth.
Morina started on the outside of the front row and was in the mix all race, trading the top spot with Brown in the closing stages before holding out his rival on the final lap to grab a stunning win.
Tomas Maxwell rounded out the top three with Adrian Lazzaro and Leeds rounding out the top five.
A further two races will complete the second round of the National Formula Ford championship tomorrow.
AMCHAMP GREAT SOUTHERN 4 HOUR
The Mitsubishi Lancer EVO driven by Bob Pearson, Rick Bates and Aaron Seton topped both AMChamp qualifying sessions held today, with Bates setting the ‘pole time’ in the first session with a 1m 43.0413 lap – well under Glenn Seton’s existing lap record.
The Jim Pollicina / Dean Lillie HSV GTS will join the Mitsubishi in the front row while Beric Lynton and Matt Mackelden made it three brands in the top three places by virtue of their third-place effort.
Father and son combo Robert and Shane Marshall will start fourth as they seek to claim back-to-back AMChamp rounds.
The AMChamp Great Southern 4 Hour kicks off tomorrow at 12:50 local time with the race to be streamed live on thenationals.com.au