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Jun 11, 2016

HARDEMAN, MILES AND STUTTERD WIN WINTON ENDURANCE OPENER

 

Hamish Hardeman has taken honours in the opening Jim Richards Endurance Trophy race of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli season in a dominant drive throughout the 35 lap event.

Hardeman secured pole position earlier in the day and continued his pace-setting performance into the endurance race. The Victorian was challenged in the opening laps by Jaxon Evans however, as the race progressed, Hardeman increased his lead to ultimately claim a 18.5 second victory from Evans, his first in the one-make series following six-straight second place finishes.

“I think it’s about time to get the win and I’m absolutely over the moon. I had good test days and the team set the car up perfectly so we deserved this today,” said Hardeman, who posted a new lap record of 1:22.4664, two seconds quicker than the previous mark of 1:24.4543 set by reigning champion, Ryan Simpson.

“I did a couple of endurance rounds last year and I really enjoy the longer races so it’s important to do well and try to secure the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy this season. I definitely want to win the outright title, but the Endurance Trophy would be special also.”

David Ryan was sitting third for the first half of the race but was quickly demoted in the order after spinning at the Winton sweeper on lap 21, handing third to Porsche Junior, Jake Klarich.

Tim Miles, who battled with Klarich in the opening half of the race, placed fourth and claimed the Elite Class race win, with Ryan recovering from his earlier off-track excursion to finish fifth.

“I’m really happy with the Elite Class race win. The team tuned me up; I wasn’t fast enough in qualifying so McElrea Racing did a fantastic just job in making some changes to the car and some changes to what I’m doing. I was actually half-a-second quicker in the race than in qualifying,” said Miles.

“I had a really good battle with Jake; that was the second battle with him following Sydney Motorsport Park. The little whipper snapper is just a little too quick.”

Brian Finn and Jim Campbell overcame opening lap spins to charge through the field to an impressive sixth and seventh outright, and third and fourth in the Elite Class, by the finish while Sam Shahin, who celebrated his birthday on Saturday, looked strong for the majority of the race in sixth before a late race spin at the sweeper dropped him to eighth by the chequered flag.

Anthony Gilbertson placed ninth from Michael Stillwell and Class B race winner Danny Stutterd, who was among a tremendous class battle with Michael Tsigeridis and numerous Class A runners. Ross McGregor placed 12th outright from debutant Chris Stillwell, Tsigeridis and Shane Barwood in 15th.

The final two 12 lap Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli races at Winton Motor Raceway will be held on Sunday. To view these races, along with the entire Sunday race programme of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals, head to the live stream on www.thenationals.com.au.