Jul 5, 2015
JAMES ABELA TAKES MAIDEN WIN IN SYDNEY ENDURO
Series rookie James Abela has taken his maiden victory in an eventful Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli opening race at Sydney Motorsport Park, while Aaron Seton won the battle of Class B.
Points leader Ryan Simpson qualified on pole position and controlled the start of the 30 lap Jim Richards Endurance Trophy race until the Sydney driver made contact with a lapped car on lap 18. Simpson’s car sustained race ending damage while the safety car was called to the track, handing the race lead to 17-year-old Dylan O’Keeffe.
While ahead on track, O’Keeffe had received a five second race time penalty for a jump start. Abela and Jon McCorkindale, who were close behind in second and third on track, were effectively battling for the lead.
McCorkindale held second place until a charging Abela took the race lead on lap 28. The Sydneysider then went on to take his first win of the season in only his third round in the series.
“I’m very happy with the win. I didn’t think I’d be getting a result like this so early in the season. It is always our focus to win but every race is different. I’m just really happy to have done it so early,” said Abela.
McCorkindale finished second from Geoff Emery, O’Keeffe, David Ryan, John Goodacre and Jono Taylor in seventh.
O’Keeffe was pleased with his race pace despite his start line penalty.
“The race went really well. Obviously the start didn’t go to plan but from then on I pushed hard and hoped for the best,” said O’Keeffe.
Seton and fellow Class B young gun Jaxon Evans finished nose-to-tail in an exciting class battle. The duo finished ninth and 10th from Sam Shahin, Scott Taylor, Ross McGregor, Grant Sparks, Jim Campbell and Shane Barwood.
“I had a lot of pressure from Jaxon but we got the upper hand when the safety car came out,” said Seton. “Jaxon was quicker than me so I was happy to hold him off by the finish. The battle between us has been great this year; we’ve been pushing each other really hard and we wouldn’t be as quick as we are without that pressure.”
Abela and McCorkindale are now equal on 50 points at the lead of the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy with O’Keeffe third with 42 points.
Despite a race one DNF Simpson retains the series lead from MCorkidnale, O’Keeffe, Emery and Goodacre.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli will hold its remaining two races of the Sydney Motorsport Park round on Sunday, both of which can be viewed via the Shannons Nationals live stream, available from thenationals.com.au.