Porsche charges to Race 1 win at Phillip Island
The EMA Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3R of Yasser Shahin/Garnett Patterson won a thrilling opening race of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS at Phillip Island.
Patterson held off Jayden Ojeda’s Harrold’s Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 co-driven by Ross Poulakis by three tenths of a second, while the Stephen Grove/Brenton Grove Porsche put in a stunning performance to go from last to third.
Shahin got the better jump off the rolling start, sweeping around the outside of Liam Talbot’s Shannons Audi to take the lead at the first corner.
From that point on Talbot promptly sat right on the tail of Shahin for the opening twenty minutes, remaining a constant presence in the rear-view mirror of the Porsche until the safety car was deployed for the first time.
Andrew Fawcet’s Audi became stuck in the wet grass just prior to the pit lane entry, after the Kiwi attempted to limp the car back to the pits after having an off at Miller Corner
Fawcett went off in sympathy with the Audi of Ash Samadi, though it is unclear whether their offs were separate incidents or the result of contact between the pair.
Stephen Grove made fantastic progress through the field in the opening twenty minutes, storming from 21st and last at the start to be in eighth at the time of the safety car.
Shahin made a great jump at the restart with 33 minutes to go, however Talbot was once again parked under the rear wing of the Porsche by the time they got to Miller Corner.
On the next lap a bunch of the frontrunners made their compulsory stop, including Shahin, Geoff Emery’s Audi, Ross Poulakis’ Mercedes and the Grove Porsche.
Talbot jumped into the lane next time by, however with 15 seconds added on to the Shannons Audi’s pit stop time, Fraser Ross would eventually wind up seventh at the end of the pit cycle, and finish in sixth.
The Grove Porsche came alive after their pit stop, with Brenton Grove becoming the first driver to break into the 1m 29s bracket, closely followed by Maximilian Hofer in the Jamec Racing Audi.
David Wall brought out the safety car for the second time with twenty minutes left when the Lamborghini Huracan co-driven by Adrain Deitz ground to a halt at Stoner Corner with an apparent transmission issue.
Patterson’s seven second lead over Ojeda was evaporated, whilst Grove and Hofer weren’t far behind in fourth and fifth respectively.
Grove disposed of Glen Wood’s Mercedes off the restart with seventeen minutes to go, pulling off a daring move around the outside of the first corner and immediately went after Ojeda and Patterson in front.
The Emery/Hofer Audi would end up fourth, with the Justin McMillan/Wood Mercedes rounding out the top five.
GT3 Am was won by the Mike Sheargold/Garth Walden Mercedes in a strong seventh outright.
And Darren Currie and Renee Gracie continued their dominance of the Invitational and GT3 Trophy classes respectively, Currie’s MARC II Mustang thirteenth outright and Gracie’s Audi R8 LMS Ultra sixteenth.
Race 2 of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS starts at 12:50 tomorrow afternoon.
The race will be broadcast live, ad-break free and on demand on Stan Sport.