MAX VIDAU has charged to his first ever Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Pole position, the Sonic driver edging out his McElrea Racing rival Ryan Suhle to take the top spot in qualifying for round two at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Brett Boulton, meanwhile, narrowly beat TAG Heuer Pro-Am class leader Sam Shahin by 0.02 seconds to grab the top spot in the Cup Challenge ‘race within a race’ this weekend.
In a session interrupted by a lengthy red-flag – after Sergio Pires lost a wheel and became stranded on the circuit – Vidau banked the fastest time early in the session prior to setting an even quicker 1m30.2281s flyer late to secure pole.
Suhle, who qualified on the second row in the opening round, was second while fellow Porsche Michelin Junior Cameron Crick was a stunning third: rebounding strongly this weekend after completely rebuilding his car between rounds.
Round one runner-up Harri Jones was fourth with the first two rows covered by just 0.5 seconds.
Vidau, who won all three races in Tasmania to kickstart his title chase, said he was pleased to finally break his qualifying duck – having come close on several occasions before.
“I started on the front row multiple times but couldn’t quite get the top spot,” Vidau said.
“Sonic gave me an awesome car, it was great to drive. We’re looking forward to the races.
“The disrupted session changed our plans a little bit but ultimately we went out there and got the job done.”
Crick’s third-place effort was a significant rebound from his challenging debut at Symmons Plains, where his car was heavily damaged in a start-line crash in the opening race.
Though the GWR Australia team returned him to the circuit for races two and three in Tasmania, a complete rebuild has the local driver in a brand-new machine this weekend – Crick rewarding their efforts by splitting the McElrea drivers.
Round one polesitter Harri Jones was fourth, less than 0.1 seconds behind Crick, having been unable to improve his position on his final flying lap right at the end of the session.
Behind the top four, Christian Pancione was fifth, Aaron Love sixth and Tom Taplin seventh.
Boulton qualified eighth but it was his battle with Shahin for TAG Heuer Pro-Am pole position that was a highlight.
The pair traded fastest laps throughout and the McElrea Racing / Bold Group driver had to dig deep to edge his tiny margin by the end of the session.
“It was awesome – I really love this place and feel like I’m driving well,” Boulton said.
“It was a really close battle throughout the session. Sam was the benchmark driver down in Tasmania so hopefully we can have some really good races. He’s always good to battle with.”
Pires recovered from his early issues to qualify third in class and 10th outright, while Michael Hovey qualified fourth on his return to GT3 Cup Challenge having missed the opening round. Marcel Zalloua and Shane Barwood were next in a tightly-grouped Pro-Am battle.
Andrew Goldie grabbed pole position in Class B, just 0.1 seconds ahead of David Grieg.
Saturday will see the 24-strong field contest a pair of 10-lap races at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Each race will be streamed live on the Shannons Nationals live stream, available via the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge website and social media channels.
Sunday will see the third and final race of round two, the 25-lap Jim Richards endurance trophy race to decide the round.
Saturday, May 18
11:35am Race 1 (10 Laps)
3:10pm Race 2 (10 Laps)
Sunday, May 19
10:25am Race 3 (25 Laps – Jim Richards Enduro Trophy)
Television and Streaming Schedule
Shannons Nationals Live Stream
Race 1 – 11:35am Saturday, May 18
Race 2 – 3:50pm Saturday, May 18
Race 3 – 10:25am Sunday, May 19
Results – Qualifying, Round 2.
|1||77||Max Vidau (SA)||Pro||1:30.2281|
|2||7||Ryan Suhle (QLD)||Pro||1:30.6227||0:00.3946|
|3||777||Cameron Crick (ACT)||Pro||1:30.7231||0:00.4950|
|4||12||Harri Jones (QLD)||Pro||1:30.7981||0:00.5700|
|5||76||Christian Pancione (VIC)||Pro||1:30.8735||0:00.6454|
|6||78||Aaron Love (WA)||Pro||1:31.0701||0:00.8420|
|7||26||Tom Taplin (SA)||Pro||1:31.5779||0:01.3498|
|8||84||Brett Boulton (QLD)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:31.7196||0:01.4915|
|9||13||Sam Shahin (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:31.7439||0:01.5158|
|10||55||Sergio Pires (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:32.1183||0:01.8902|
|11||73||Michael Hovey (QLD)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:32.8819||0:02.6538|
|12||17||Marcel Zalloua (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:32.9060||0:02.6779|
|13||21||Shane Barwood (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:33.0831||0:02.8550|
|14||29||Rob Woods (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:33.7030||0:03.4749|
|15||10||Michael Loccisano (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:33.8994||0:03.6713|
|16||99||Ross McGregor (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:34.6384||0:04.4103|
|17||22||Andrew Goldie (WA)||Class B||1:34.7086||0:04.4805|
|18||14||Matt Belford (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:34.7849||0:04.5568|
|19||87||David Greig (VIC)||Class B||1:34.8782||0:04.6501|
|20||131||Graham Williams (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:35.2812||0:05.0531|
|21||93||Marty Ewer (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:36.7469||0:06.5188|
|22||5||Nathan Murray (VIC)||Class B||1:37.0568||0:06.8287|
|23||71||Nathan Halstead (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:38.6543||0:08.4262|
|24||9||Tony Martin (QLD)||Class B||1:39.0228||0:08.7947|