Sam Shahin has braved treacherous Melbourne weather claim the Outright and Elite Class round win as the 2017 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli season opened at Sandown Raceway, while high profile debutant John Steffensen continued his impressive racing initiation by taking the Professional Class round victory.
South Australian Shahin proved consistency was key throughout the Sandown round. After placing third in Saturday’s chaotic race one, Shahin then placed second in race two – a 14 lap race that saw many of his rivals run off the wet circuit – while he concluded the weekend with a fifth place result in race three, handing the HTFU backed racer the Outright round victory and beating John Morriss and Anthony Gilbertson to the Elite Class round win.
“I’m absolutely thrilled with my first round win. This is the culmination of four years of hard work; I’ve worked really hard over the summer and I was determined to do well but not in my wildest dreams did I think I would finish with an overall win in the first round. I hope there are plenty more to come,” said Shahin, who became the first Elite Class driver to claim an outright round win since John Goodacre’s event victory at Sydney Motorsport Park in 2013.
“I’m absolutely like a kid in a candy store getting away with something naughty. Being away on a dirty, windy, rainy weekend and fanging a car around a race track and hopping on a plane with a number one trophy is an absolute dream.”
A third and fifth in the Elite Class on Sunday handed Morriss second in the class for the round while an impressive Sunday effort of fourth and first in class elevated Gilbertson to the last place on the Elite Class round podium.
After Brenton Grove dominated Saturday’s race, Jordan Love, who scored no points on Saturday after his involvement in the race start accident, dominated the two wet Sunday races. The Porsche Junior won race two by an astonishing 38 seconds, while Grove ventured into the turn one gravel trap and out of the race. Love again won race three ahead of Gilbertson and Grove, this time with more than a 20 second advantage by the finish.
Steffensen meanwhile placed second, second and third in the Professional Class, along with an incredible sixth outright in all three races, to claim the class victory.
“It was testing and a real initiation for me this weekend. It was hard out there today because you want to get into a rhythm and push hard and when you get hit with rain you really have to change your tact and really use your mental nous to bring it home and still be quick,” said Steffensen.
“The Zagame Autosport team made my life really easy this weekend and this is such a good category for me; to come from another elite sport and jump in here and still be enjoyable and get that element of competition is great.
“I’ve always been a mad revhead and, for me, this has been a great category to start. What Porsche does with both Carrera Cup and GT3 Cup Challenge really balances it out really well for guys like me, using this as a stepping stone. I love Carrera Cup and I love the Clipsal 500 and Australian Grand Prix weekends and that’s where I one day want to be.
“It’s a long year and I’ve got to be smart and patient. I love winning and I want to get better and hopefully challenge Jordan and Brenton throughout the season.”
Aaron Ireland had an impressive weekend in his Type 996 GT3 Cup car, the oldest car in the Porsche field. Ireland finished the event’s three races in 13th, 10th and ninth to claim the Class B/Invitational Class victory from Michael Tsigeridis and David Greig, and finished the event 12th out of 18 starters.
Shahin now leads the Outright standings from Love, Grove, Morriss and Steffensen in fifth, while Shahin also leads the Elite Class from Morriss and Gilbertson. Meanwhile Steffensen leads the Professional Class standings by 10 points from Love and Grove.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli will return for its second round at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on May 26-28, joined at the Shannons Nationals event by fellow Porsche one-make series, Porsche Carrera Cup Australia.
Race 2 Results
1. #79 Jordan Love (Professional Class) Sonic Motor Racing / Quintis – 14 laps, 19:42.0693s
2. #13 Sam Shahin (Elite Class) HTFU – 14 laps, 20:20.1763s
3. #16 John Karytinos (Elite Class) Richmonds Automotive – 14 laps, 20:23.8193s
4. #34 John Morriss (Elite Class) Motorsport Leasing P/L – 14 laps, 20:24.3229s
5. #19 Anthony Gilbertson (Elite Class) Hallmark Homes – 14 laps, 20:34.8883s
6. #78 John Steffensen (Professional Class) Zagame Autosport – 14 laps, 20:45.5375s
7. #99 Ross McGregor (Elite Class) Southern Star Windows – 14 laps, 20:47.6547s
8. #88 Phil Morriss (Elite Class) Morriss Racing Services – 14 laps, 20:56.6623s
9. #25 Nick Karnaros (Elite Class) Porsche Centre Brighton – 14 laps, 21:04.9073s
10. #66 Aaron Ireland (Class B) Creditline Finance – 13 laps, 19:44.4333s
11. #21 Shane Barwood (Elite Class) Melbourne Orthopaedic Group – 13 laps, 19:53.0656s
12. #68 Michael O’Donnell (Elite Class) SHOAL / Thomson Geer – 13 laps, 19:56.5280s
13. #84 Brett Boulton (Elite Class) Bold Living – 13 laps, 19:57.9394s
14. #81 Michael Tsigeridis (Class B) Hunter French Real Estate – 13 laps, 20:28.7681s
15. #29 Rob Woods (Elite Class) Platinum Nightclub – 12 laps, 19:55.1709s
16. #87 David Greig (Class B) – 12 laps, 20:40.2142s
DNF #65 Ben Stack (Elite Class) DNA Racing – 9 laps, 13:41.8816s
DNF #23 Brenton Grove (Professional Class) Grove Hire 9 laps, 20:15.6326s
Race 3 Results
1. #79 Jordan Love (Professional Class) Sonic Motor Racing / Quintis – 14 laps, 19:55.3834s
2. #19 Anthony Gilbertson (Elite Class) Hallmark Homes – 14 laps, 20:16.7519s
3. #23 Brenton Grove (Professional Class) Grove Hire – 14 laps, 20:20.5820s
4. #16 John Karytinos (Elite Class) Richmonds Automotive – 14 laps, 20:22.0995s
5. #13 Sam Shahin (Elite Class) HTFU – 14 laps, 20:33.0228s
6. #78 John Steffensen (Professional Class) Zagame Autosport – 14 laps, 20:33.7822s
7. #88 Phil Morriss (Elite Class) Morriss Racing Services – 14 laps, 20:54.6996s
8. #34 John Morriss (Elite Class) Motorsport Leasing P/L – 14 laps, 20:58.1710s
9. #66 Aaron Ireland (Class B) Creditline Finance – 14 laps, 21:06.1317s
10. #84 Brett Boulton (Elite Class) Bold Living – 14 laps, 21:08.7242s
11. #65 Ben Stack (Elite Class) DNA Racing – 14 laps, 21:11.6316s
12. #21 Shane Barwood (Elite Class) Melbourne Orthopaedic Group – 14 laps, 21:13.3665s
13. #68 Michael O’Donnell (Elite Class) SHOAL / Thomson Geer – 13 laps, 20:15.9145s
14. #81 Michael Tsigeridis (Class B) Hunter French Real Estate – 13 laps, 21:18.4754s
15. #29 Rob Woods (Elite Class) Platinum Nightclub – 12 laps, 20:27.1823s
16. #87 David Greig (Class B) – 11 laps, 19:53.4447s
DNF #25 Nick Karnaros (Elite Class) Porsche Centre Brighton – 8 laps, 12:13.1963s
DNF #99 Ross McGregor (Elite Class) Southern Star Windows – 5 laps, 8:00.2910s