PORSCHE junior Ryan Suhle and TAG Heuer Pro-Am leader Sam Shahin were the big winners from a dramatic day in round two of the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge at Sydney Motorsport Park.
A pair of 10-lap races proved to be the most dramatic of the season and saw vastly different results on a near-perfect day in Sydney’s west.
Championship leader Max Vidau perfectly converted pole to a race one victory earlier in the day, his fourth in a row and the eleventh straight for Sonic Motor Racing across Porsche PAYCE Carrera Cup and GT3 Cup Challenge.
However his day unravelled as he attempted to launch his Bob Jane T-Marts car from pole in race two; a failed clutch seeing him stranded on the line as the 24-car field stormed past.
Though he was recovered to pit lane, the team was unable to return the young South Australian to the race.
In his stead, Aaron Love assumed the race lead and a perfect restart saw him extend an early margin following the Safety Car period called to recover Vidau’s stranded car.
However Love would run wide at turn two to be another to surrender the lead, McElrea Racing driver Suhle in the right position to take advantage as he then assumed the top spot.
He then edged away from a furious battle for second place to record his first Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge victory, and the first of the year for the McElrea team.
“It’s awesome to come away with a win,” Suhle said.
“Our consistency in that race was good and we approached it like a bit of a test session and not worrying about what was behind me. I was able to improve on some things I was working on technically with my driving. It’s a really good race and I’m looking forward to coming back tomorrow straight back into the Porsche in the Enduro race.”
Sam Shahin won the TAG Heuer Pro-Am class in both 10-lap races on Saturday however his performance in race two arguably the finest of his Porsche career.
Starting sixth, a superb start saw him leap to third in the opening two corners before the Safety Car was called.
He then gained second place when Love came off the road and subsequently spent the remainder of the race defending his position from Porsche Michelin Juniors Harri Jones, Tom Taplin, Christian Pancione and Cameron Crick in a furious five-car battle.
It ensured he not only won his class but finished second outright as well.
“It was an incredibly tough race.
“I felt like I really matured through that drive. I felt really comfortable in the car and it was really rewarding to race against those really very, very talented pros.
“I think that is probably my best ever drive. There’s been some incredibly talented drivers in the Pro-Am class that I have been privileged to race against but the Pros are always the yardstick.
“It was a lot of fun – I’m still shaking from some of those laps near the end. I got a taste of real pressure. I’m just so proud I held my own and felt pretty comfortable doing it.”
Earlier in the day, Vidau had led from lights to flag to take the first race of the weekend and extend his championship lead over Harri Jones.
Aaron Love scored his best result of the season in second, delivering another Sonic 1-2, while Jones and Suhle were third and fourth respectively.
Cameron Crick finished fifth, despite a five-second penalty for rolling at the start, while Shahin was the best of the TAG Heuer Pro-Am contingent in sixth.
Brett Boulton had led Shahin for a majority of the race however a late spin saw him drop down the order, with a post-race penalty for overtaking under yellows seeing him drop further down the order.
Suhle’s win in race two came by just over two seconds, with the next five cars covered by almost the same margin.
Boulton recovered to seventh outright and second in Pro-Am while Ross McGregor, Michael Loccisano and Love completed the top-10.
Love had dropped to fifth following his moment on the restart only to drop further down the order as he survived a wild, 200km/hr moment at turn one a few laps later.
Andrew Goldie won Class B in both races, a sensational performance in race two seeing his older-model 997 GT3 Cup Car finish a strong 12th outright.
The championship-changing day sees the consistent Harri Jones provisionally assume the championship lead following the first five races of the season.
He holds a 12-point margin over teammate Suhle, while Vidau drops to third a further six points further back.
Aaron Love retains fourth in the standings while Shahin is close behind in fifth – comfortably leading TAG Heuer Pro-Am.
A further 60 points are up for grabs tomorrow in the final race of the weekend, the 25-lap Jim Richards Enduro Trophy event.
The race will be streamed live via the Shannons Nationals live stream.
Results – Race 1
|Position||Car||Driver||Class||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap|
|1||77||Max Vidau (SA)||Pro||10||20:24.1482||1:30.9629|
|2||78||Aaron Love (WA)||Pro||10||20:26.5454||1:30.9184*|
|3||12||Harri Jones (QLD)||Pro||10||20:27.0037||1:31.0084|
|4||7||Ryan Suhle (QLD)||Pro||10||20:30.3974||1:31.5443|
|5||777||Cameron Crick (ACT)||Pro||10||20:35.7497||1:31.4047|
|6||13||Sam Shahin (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||20:40.1659||1:32.0294|
|7||76||Christian Pancione (VIC)||Pro||10||20:40.7981||1:32.0720|
|8||26||Tom Taplin (SA)||Pro||10||20:45.0913||1:31.2262|
|9||55||Sergio Pires (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||20:57.1926||1:33.8546|
|10||17||Marcel Zalloua (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||21:02.9708||1:34.3406|
|11||84||Brett Boulton (QLD)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||21:04.4188||1:32.0686|
|12||10||Michael Loccisano (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||21:06.7153||1:34.0098|
|13||99||Ross McGregor (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||21:08.2962||1:34.6770|
|14||22||Andrew Goldie (WA)||Class B||10||21:08.4569||1:34.6744|
|15||29||Rob Woods (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||21:08.9316||1:35.0098|
|16||87||David Greig (VIC)||Class B||10||21:15.1411||1:35.4210|
|17||131||Graham Williams (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||21:16.9807||1:35.5700|
|18||73||Michael Hovey (QLD)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||21:18.6319||1:34.6434|
|19||21||Shane Barwood (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||21:32.7057||1:34.4964|
|20||71||Nathan Halstead (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||21:35.6682||1:36.2857|
|21||9||Tony Martin (QLD)||Class B||10||21:48.9346||1:38.0979|
|22||5||Nathan Murray (VIC)||Class B||9||20:35.1714||1:37.1041|
|23||14||Matt Belford (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||8||20:32.5798||1:37.1294|
|DNF||93||Marty Ewer (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||7||16:38.1628||1:37.0408|
Results – Race 2
|Position||Car||Driver||Class||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap|
|1||7||Ryan Suhle (QLD)||Pro||10||18:22.2399||1:33.1525|
|2||13||Sam Shahin (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||18:24.7838||1:33.1979|
|3||12||Harri Jones (QLD)||Pro||10||18:25.0955||1:33.1613|
|4||26||Tom Taplin (SA)||Pro||10||18:25.4331||1:33.0765|
|5||76||Christian Pancione (VIC)||Pro||10||18:27.3920||1:33.3043|
|6||777||Cameron Crick (ACT)||Pro||10||18:27.6958||1:33.1818|
|7||84||Brett Boulton (QLD)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||18:37.6180||1:34.1809|
|8||99||Ross McGregor (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||18:45.1372||1:35.2251|
|9||10||Michael Loccisano (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||18:45.8067||1:35.5611|
|10||78||Aaron Love (WA)||Pro||10||18:46.2382||1:33.0668|
|11||21||Shane Barwood (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||18:47.8807||1:35.0692|
|12||22||Andrew Goldie (WA)||Class B||10||18:49.9133||1:35.8565|
|13||29||Rob Woods (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||18:51.3041||1:35.1435|
|14||73||Michael Hovey (QLD)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||18:57.1888||1:34.9047|
|15||131||Graham Williams (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||19:03.3111||1:37.1067|
|16||87||David Greig (VIC)||Class B||10||19:09.4432||1:36.9643|
|17||93||Marty Ewer (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||19:20.3176||1:38.3062|
|18||9||Tony Martin (QLD)||Class B||10||19:24.9988||1:40.6123|
|19||5||Nathan Murray (VIC)||Class B||10||19:26.6423||1:39.3642|
|20||71||Nathan Halstead (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||19:32.1824||1:39.2862|
|21||14||Matt Belford (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||19:32.3790||1:39.1778|
|DNF||17||Marcel Zalloua (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||4||9:45.3398||2:18.4364|
|DNF||77||Max Vidau (SA)||Pro|
|DNF||55||Sergio Pires (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am|
Sunday, May 19
10:25am Race 3 (25 Laps – Jim Richards Enduro Trophy)
Television and Streaming Schedule
Shannons Nationals Live Stream
Race 3 – 10:25am Sunday, May 19