Shane van Gisbergen and Prince Jefri Ibrahim win opening race in Queensland
Triple Eight Race Engineering pairing Prince Jefri Ibrahim and Shane van Gisbergen greeted the chequered flag in the opening race at Queensland Raceway.
Despite entering the pit stops in third, van Gisbergen emerged in the lead and maintained a 11s advantage back to Garth Tander, while Fraser Ross took third.
Yasser Shahin led away in The Bend Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II from the KFC entry of Matt Stoupas and GT Trophy leader Brad Schumacher in the Kelso Electrical racing the older model Ultra, as the battle behind heated up.
Ibrahim was battling Liam Talbot’s Gtechniq Audi, but ran wide and dropped to ninth exiting Turn 5.
Talbot put on a spirited charge to claw his way to second as he seriously challenged Shahin in an intense duel for the lead.
The Catan Audi of Mark Rosser was another to make progress with the South Australian overtaking Stoupas to not only take the final step on the podium, but the lead in Am Class.
GT Trophy leader Schumacher was comfortably placed just outside the top five as ahead Ibrahim continued to make position demoting Stoupas to sixth.
The sister KFC entry of Gary Higgon spun at Turn 1, but was able to keep going, however the race was neutralised 20 minutes in as the Supabarn Supermarkets Audi stopped on track with a mechanical problem.
The safety car period ended at the halfway point as the pit window moved back as a result, with a spin for Stoupas at Turn 2 nearly taking out Schumacher as well.
At the front, it turned into a three-way battle as Ibrahim was quick following the safety car, but it didn’t matter as the Triple Eight Mercedes followed both Shahin and Talbot into the pits.
Van Gisbergen now led by a considerable margin from Ross, Tander and David Reynolds in the C-Tech Audi.
Tander wasted no time in overtaking Ross as he passed the Gtechniq Audi at Turn 4 and began his pursuit of the 8.3s margin held by van Gisbergen.
In the end, van Gisbergen proved unstoppable to take a 11s victory from Tander and Ross, while Am Class winner Rosser was fourth from Stokell.
A late off for Am Class leader Stoupas dropped him out of contention.
Sixth and victor in GT Trophy was Brad Schumacher as a slow leak forced Reynolds to pit, but multiple fastest laps enabled him to finish seventh ahead of Peter Hackett in the Harrolds Racing Team Mercedes.
GT Trophy competitors Taylor and Kokkinos rounded out the finishers.
The Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS continues tomorrow for Race 2 at 2:10pm AEST live on Stan Sport.
The SpeedSeries at Queensland Raceway will feature seven racing categories and 12 hours of live and ad-break free coverage on Stan Sport across Saturday and Sunday.
The coverage will be broadcast on Stan Sport between 11am-5pm on Sunday.
New customers can sign up to a Stan Sport 7-day free trial. Sign up now to watch all of the SpeedSeries action, plus the IndyCar Series, World Rally and more motorsport action >> http://www.stan.com.au/
International viewers can watch the Queensland Raceway action via motorsport.tv
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