THE FINAL ROUND of the 2010 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia Series has produced a tale of two winners, as Kane Rose won the round and Roger Lago the title in a weekend of high drama.
After streaking away to a race one win on Saturday, Rose was in imperious form under blue skies on Sunday and swept both races to take his first ever GT3 Cup Challenge round win.
Meanwhile, Roger Lago did all that was needed of him to record enough points to overtake the non-starting Matt Kingsley and take his first ever title at a national level.
Though somewhat bittersweet, Lago’s title came through smart racing and consistency this year, the Queenslander keeping his #23 Falcon Property Group / Lago Coldstores 997 GT3 Cup Car out of harm’s way all season to take the title.
When the reigning champion crashed his Action Tyres 996 heavily in qualifying on Saturday the title was all but handed to Lago – assuming he finished in the points in each of the three races contested at the weekend – though it wasn’t as if the series win was not deserved.
Lago was second at Symmons Plains, Mallala and Morgan Park and brilliantly won at Eastern Creek in September to close the gap to Kingsley prior to arriving at Sandown.
Lago was realistic about his chances of beating Kingsley in a straight fight this weekend.
“I was going out to do my own thing, realistically I was never going to go and beat Matt because all he needed to do was circulate around within sight of me and he would have won it,” Lago said.
“Given I had never seen Sandown I was happy to qualify where I did. I heard Matt had crashed and expected him to be back out – I didn’t know until later that it was that big.
“We all tried really hard to get him out there in Terry’s (Knight) car but the rules wouldn’t allow it. I felt sorry for Matt because there’s no doubt he’s the fastest guy in the paddock.
“So through all of that it feels a bit strange, but you need to take things as they fall in this sport.”
Roger said his season was one of keeping out of other people’s issues, and capitalising on mistakes.
“I’m very pleased with the year overall, and that makes up a lot for the way this weekend (at Sandown) has panned out,” he added.
“My approach was to stay out of trouble and let people through if they were clearly faster. That way I finished races and collected points when others didn’t and that’s how you put together a championship.
“I’m pretty stoked with the year, overall.”
Rose’s win came ahead of a pack that was searching for last-round glory, with several cars coming unstuck in an eventful day of Safety Cars and red flags.
Race two was marred by a turn one collision between Jeff Bobik and Steve Kepper, which put Bobik out of the weekend and left Kepper down the back of the field.
The pair made light contact after Bobik’s car was also touched as the 18-strong pack charged towards turn one. The accident was determined a ‘racing incident’ and no penalties applied.
Melbournian Ivan Klasan was another to find the Sandown barriers, crashing heavily on the exit of turn four whilst battling Lago for third and fourth positions in race three. Klasan hit the wall hard enough to bring out the red flag and call the race short at 12 laps, within the required 75% of maximum distance to allow full points to be awarded.
At the end of it all Rose won the round with a perfect score, with Lago second overall and Hallmarc Developments’ Michael Loccisano a strong third outright.
Terry Knight won the battle of the 996 Class cars and was fourth outright for the second round in succession. Sven Burchartz was a quiet fifth whilst Brad Rankin ended his year on a high with a fighting sixth. Klasan, Trende, Kepper and GT3 Cup Challenge rookie Lee Castle completed the top ten.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia Series presented by Mission Foods would like to acknowledge and thank the support of their 2010 series partners; Mission Foods, Michelin, Racer Industries, Performance Friction and Xtreme Industries.