EMERY/HOFER CRUISE TO RACE TWO WIN AT PHILLIP ISLAND
The Jamec Racing Audi R8 LMS Evo 2 of Geoff Emery/Maximilian Hofer has taken a dominant win in the final race of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS at Philip Island.
Emery was catapulted into a massive lead after the pit stop cycle and was never headed, as the fight for second place got aggressive behind.
Yasser Shahin’s EMA Motorsport Porsche made contact with the Shannons Audi of Liam Talbot at Miller Corner on lap twenty-six as they came up on Ross Poulakis in the Harrold’s Racing Mercedes AMG GT3, forcing the Audi off the track.
Shahin would receive a five-second penalty for his actions that would eventually demote the Porsche co-driven by Garnet Patterson to third behind the Audi Talbot shared with Fraser Ross.
Patterson made an aggressive start in the EMA Motorsport Porsche, squeezing pole sitter Jayden Ojeda in the Poulakis Mercedes to take the lead from the outside of the front row.
The Bathurst 6 Hour winner had a ragged first lap, making contact with Hofer’s Audi at Miller Corner, before running wide at MG later in the lap, leaving Patterson with a two second advantage at the control line.
There was further drama in the midfield at MG, Garth Walden’s RAM Motorsport Mercedes copping the worst of a concertina and forcing yesterday’s GT3 Am winners out with a busted radiator.
By lap four, Ojeda had reeled in Patterson, and began to put pressure on the EMA Motorsport Porsche right up until the pit window, with Hofer sitting just in behind the pair ready to clean up any scraps.
Michael Kokkinos had an off at the exit of MG after some Audi on Audi contact with Ash Samadi and posed a challenge for the fighting Patterson and Ojeda as he rejoined, however Kokkinos was rounded up by both at the Southern Loop.
Lapped traffic – this time the GT3 Trophy Audi of Paul Lucchitti – again baulked Patterson at MG on lap fifteen, allowing Ojeda to close and make an aggressive move for the lead at Miller Corner at the halfway point of the one-hour race distance.
Patterson came in for his compulsory stop on lap eighteen to hand over the Porsche to Shahin, whilst Ojeda and Hofer both came in on the following lap to allow Poulakis and Emery to take over respectively.
The Shannons Audi of Liam Talbot became a factor after the pit stop window, rounding up Shahin at the Southern Loop with the benefit of an undercut.
The Jamec Racing Audi would be the big benefactor from the pit stop window, with Emery taking the lead by virtue of having a shorter stop time than the EMA Motorsport Porsche and the Harrold’s Racing Mercedes ahead of him.
Andrew Fawcet’s Audi was fourth after a solid opening stint from Pro driver Dylan O’Keeffe, however a spin on cold tyres at the Southern Loop demoted the Myland Audi to ninth.
With twenty minutes to go, Emery had eight and a half seconds over Poulakis in second, with Justin McMillan ten seconds behind in the MMotorsport Mercedes.
Talbot in fourth was engaged in a battle with Shahin sixteen seconds behind Emery, however began to make inroads on the three cars ahead as his tyres came up to temperature and got by McMillan for third on lap twenty-five.
Shahin promptly sailed around the outside of Poulakis at Miller Corner one lap after pushing Talbot wide, however Emery was fourteen seconds up the road with twelve minutes left in the race.
Talbot would round up Poulakis at the final corner on the same lap and went about finishing within five seconds of the Porsche in front, a task he successfully completed.
The Poulakis/Ojeda Mercedes would finish in fourth, whilst the Stephen Grove/Brenton Grove Porsche backed up yesterday’s podium with a great run to fifth, once again from the rear of the field.
GT3 Am was taken out by the Audi of Brad Schumacher, who drove to a very respectable sixth outright.
And Darren Currie and Renee Gracie completed a weekend sweep of their respective classes, Currie finishing twelfth outright in his Invitational MARC II Mustang, and Gracie finishing eighteenth outright in her GT3 Trophy Audi R8 LMS Ultra.