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May 24, 2014 - 03:08 PM
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Shannons Nationals Phillip Island: Saturday Report
Posted by: newsla on May 24, 2014 - 03:05 PM
Sports Cars
Shannons Nationals Phillip Island: Saturday Report


GARTH TANDER has chased down Erebus Motorsport young gun Jack LeBrocq to win a thrilling Australian GT 101 Classic at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

 

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The former V8 Supercars champion, driving with Tony Quinn in an Aston Martin Vantage GT3, passed the LeBrocq / Richard Muscat Mercedes Benz two laps from the time-critical race finish to take a thrilling victory in the inaugural running of Australia’s newest GT enduro.

It capped off a bumper day of action that saw bruising Porsche Carrera Cup and Radical Australia Cup races and the field set for the Great Southern Four hour to be run on Sunday afternoon in a big third round of the 2014 Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals.

Tander emerged from the final round of stops with more than a 20-second margin to the leading Erebus Mercedes and, after passing John Bowe’s Maranello Ferrari for second, caught the leader with three laps to go. LeBrocq defended valiantly but ultimately couldn’t keep the flying VIP Petfoods Aston Martin behind.

The Quinn / Tander Aston Martin headed the Erebus Mercedes and the Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 458 GT3, driven by Peter Edwards and John Bowe.

“I didn’t know what the margin was to the leader. They just told me that I had to catch the Ferrari and then once I got past JB they told me I was 15 seconds behind the Mercedes. I started taking big chunks out of it.

“The car was beautiful and we were doing as fast a lap at the end of the stint as we were at the beginning. I hadn’t driven the car at all in the dry before jumping in today and I was learning on the run. About half way through I learned a few things that worked and found a fair bit of time.

“They had a bit of an advantage as far as power down goes but I think we were better in straight line so once I could get a run and keep some momentum up we were good.”

Tander said he enjoyed the opportunity to drive something other than his regular V8 Supercar ride.

“It’s been about 11 years since I’ve driven anything that wasn’t a V8 Supercar and it was my first time in a GT3 car - and I loved every minute of it. I Can’t thank Tony enough for giving me a shot and I hope he asks me back!”

Theo Koundouris and Sam Power combined to win the GT Trophy class and finish sixth outright in their Porsche Cup S – just hours after Power had finished second in the Carrera Cup enduro earlier in the day.

Five-time Porsche Carrera Cup champion Craig Baird enjoyed a welcome return to the top of the one-make Porsche series podium today by winning a bruising and dramatic Pro-Am race, with co-driver Max Twigg.

Former elite class champion Twigg started the No. 1 Porsche and used strong race pace, several early safety cars and others misfortune to deliver the car to Baird in second position following the compulsory pit stop mid-race.

Baird then hunted down leader Steven Grove – who had co-driver Scott McLaughlin hand his car over in first place – and led the closing 10 minutes to take the win.

Sam Power and James Koundouris finished second in the Team BRM / Childhood Cancer Association entry with Grove and McLaughlin finishing third.
Remarkably, only 10 cars finished the race setting a new Carrera Cup record for the lowest percentage of finishers (50%) running at the end of a race.

Several hefty crashes marred the day with several cars facing substantial repairs overnight and some out for the weekend.
Championship leader Warren Luff was amongst the casualties, taken to hospital for precautionary scans following contact from behind at the turn four hairpin on lap 10.

Luff was otherwise fine, however was unable to take the start of the Australian GT 101 race held immediately following the Carrera Cup enduro. Luff had qualified the Audi R8 LMS he was sharing with Steve McLaughlan on pole position however was not able to compete in the afternoon.

Triple World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss was another to find the barriers, making hefty contact with the wall at the hayshed within the final five minutes of the race. Bayliss was able to extract himself from the car under his own power however his Porsche was badly damaged.

Peter White (SR8) and Michael Shaw (SR3) won their respective classes in the first of three Radical Australia Cup races, a dramatic affair seeing the original 40-lap distance shortened to just over 20 by the time the race began.

A damp surface on the formation lap saw one competitor stranded at MG, the starter electing to abort the race start as the field formed up on Gardner straight.

The concertina effect caught out four cars, causing the race to be stopped as the damage was cleared.

The field resumed with a shortened race, Tim Berryman and Neale Muston leading before the compulsory pit stops were executed mid-race. Their additional pit stop time – compared to White - proved too much for them to recover their original positions in the shortened race, leaving White to grab the victory. Michael Shaw led home Kim Burke and Oliver Smith in the SR3 class battle.

Radical Australia officials have confirmed that all cars damaged in today’s race will be repaired in time for the second and third 40-minute sprints to be held on Sunday.

Pole position for Sunday’s Australian Manufacturers Championship Great Southern 4 Hour has gone to the #18 Sherrin Rentals BMW135i of brothers Grant Sherrin and Iain Sherrin.

The frenetic last minutes of the second qualifying session saw a drying track providing last minute chances to a number of racers to advance themselves up the time sheets, Sherrin securing the ‘box seat’ courtesy of his 1 minute 49.5454 second lap – the only ‘49’ for the category in qualifying.

Lining up alongside him the #18 on the grid will be the fellow Class B entry of John Bowe and Peter O’Donnell in the #28 GWS Personnel BMW 331i with Bowe to start the race. Defending Great Southern Four-hour winners Glenn Seton and Bob Pearson will start the race from third in their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO

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