Cooper Murray has edged out Max Vidau to victory in a thrilling 40-lap race one at Queensland Raceway, which saw the leading duo race nose-to-tail for the majority of the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy race.
Vidau and Simon Fallon led the opening laps after Murray struggled at the start, though Murray quickly moved to second on lap two before commencing his pursuit of the leader.
The leading duo were pushing hard at the front, with Vidau losing the lip of his front splitter and consequently changing the characteristics of his 911 GT3 Cup. Despite the issue, Vidau maintained the front position after lap-by-lap challenges for the lead by Murray.
Ultimately, Murray gained the front position moments before the safety car was called to remove Scott Taylor from the turn three gravel trap with four laps to go.
Meanwhile, the battle for third had intensified mid-race, with Jimmy Vernon, Chelsea Angelo and Simon Fallon moving to within striking distance of the battling Vidau and Murray when the safety car joined the circuit.
Taylor’s car was removed from the run-off area and the leaders were met with a one-lap dash to the chequered flag, where Murray remained composed under pressure to lead home Vidau, Vernon, Angelo and Fallon in fifth.
“I managed to make the race pretty hard for myself once I stuffed the start,” said Murray. “I then had to fight back to the front, so it was good to finally get there by the end of the race.
“After the start I tried not to overdo it too early. I managed to reach Max and from there he made it pretty hard for me, hugging the white lines. I got by just before the safety car and managed to get a good restart and pull a gap in the last few corners.”
Local racer Brett Boulton was the star Pro-Am driver of the race, placing sixth outright en route to his second class race win of the season. Stutterd ensured damage to his Pro-Am points lead was minimised by finishing second in class and seventh outright, one place ahead of Michael Hovey in eighth.
“It was good to get the race win here today. It was a great race and it was good to get one on Danny as he still has a strong lead in the Pro-Am standings. I’ve done a fair few laps around here and it was great to get a home race win,” said Boulton.
Christian Pancione was the best placed Class B contender in ninth outright while increasing his class points lead. Tom Taplin placed second in class from David Greig and Andrew Goldie, the latter duo embroiled in a thrilling battle of their own mid-race.
Following a victory in the opening endurance race of the season at The Bend Motorsport Park, Murray now holds a 12-point lead in the Jim Richard Endurance Trophy standings from Vidau, with Vernon now in third. Meanwhile Murray increased his lead in the overall and Pro standings to 71 and 84 points, respectively.
Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia will hold two sprint races on Sunday to complete the fourth round of the competitive one-make championship, both of which can be viewed via the Shannons Nationals live stream, available at www.thenationals.com.au.
Sunday July 29
09:30am Race 2 (20 minutes)
11:45am Race 3 (20 minutes)
Results: Race 1
|Position||Car||Driver||Class||Laps||Race time||Fastest Lap|
|9||76||Christian Pancione||Class B||40||51:39.1189||1:13.2152|
|13||26||Tom Taplin||Class B||39||51:35.0755||1:13.9179|
|14||87||David Greig||Class B||39||51:35.9335||1:14.0079|
|15||22||Andrew Goldie||Class B||39||51:36.5601||1:14.1993|
|16||9||Tony Martin||Class B||39||51:42.0156||1:15.2442|
|18||88||Phil Morriss||Class B||39||52:05.2031||1:14.4237|