Patterson Fends off Stanaway in Sensational Sydney Opener
The EMA Motorsport/The Bend Motorsport Park Porsche of Yasser Shahin/Garnet Patterson has won a thrilling opening race of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS after Patterson fended off Richie Stanaway in a late duel.
Stanaway, sharing his Triple Eight Race Engineering/JMR Mercedes with Prince Jefri Ibrahim stormed to the front after exiting the pits third some twenty seconds off the lead to sit right on Patterson’s bumper to commence what became a seven minute shootout for the win.
Patterson had to contend with not only Stanaway, but also the lapped cars of Theo Koundouris (Mercedes), Ash Samadi (Audi), Marcel Zalloua (Audi), and Paul Lucchitti (Audi) in the final laps, with Samadi proving particularly difficult to overtake.
But despite the lapped traffic and Stanaway putting on emormous pressure, Patterson kept his cool to claim a brilliant victory as the sun began to set over the Blue Mountains.
Off the start, Liam Talbot converted his pole to make a clean getaway at the front in the Shannons Audi, with Yasser Shahin tucking in behind from the outside of the front row.
There was plenty of action further back in the pack, as the Audis of Sergio Pires and Brad Schumacher had a close shave at turn five, before the two Mercedes of James Koundouris and Ross Poulakis came together at turn eight.
Poulakis then had a bigger scare a few corners later, as he had a big off at turn one in the Harrold’s Racing/Volante Rosso Motorsport entry, being able to rejoin safely without the need for a safety car.
The opening stint was all about Talbot, as the Shannons Audi ran out to a ten second lead as the pit stops started just prior to the halfway point of the race.
Shahin maintained second for the balance of the opening stint, with Geoff Emery holding down third in the Jamec Racing Audi ahead of Prince Jefri Ibrahim in the first of the Triple Eight Race Engineering/JMR Mercedes.
The second Triple Eight Race Engineering/JMR Mercedes of Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim went backwards in the first stint, slipping from fifth to eighth.
A difficult day got worse after the pit stops, as co-driver Jamie Whincup was tagged into a spin by the GT4 Mercedes of Mark Griffith at turn eight on lap twenty one.
With Stanaway inserted into the lead Triple Eight car, the Kiwi set about chasing the lead Audi and Porsche, having jumped the Jamec Racing Audi in the pit stop cycle.
The New Zealander was setting an extraordinary pace, breaking the GT3 lap record set by George Miedecke in 2016 with a 1m 27.5173s on lap nineteen.
Meanwhile, there had been a change at the front of the field, as Patterson made light work of Fraser Ross in the Shannons Audi at turn two with just over twenty minutes to go.
Stanaway then made his presence felt on the Shannons Audi, diving down the inside at turn two with authority, giving the former Aston Martin factory driver thirteen and a half minutes to chase down Patterson, who was three and a half seconds up the road.
Stanaway got to the back of Patterson with seven minutes to go, but was unable to get past the South Australian, who was resolute in his defence.
The podium was rounded out by the Talbot/Ross Shannons Audi, with the Geoff Emery/Max Hofer Jamec Racing Audi fourth, and the Ross Poulakis/Jayden Ojeda Mercedes fifth after Ojeda got away with having a huge off at turn one in the closing stages.
GT3 Am was won by the KFC Audi of Matt Stoupas/Paul Stokell in seventh outright.
Gt3 Trophy was won by Renee Gracie in the Only Fans Audi in fifteenth outright, having recovered from a gearbox failure that ruled her out of both qualifying sessions yesterday.
And finally the Invitational KTM GT XBOW of David Crampton/Trent Harrison finished in seventeenth outright, one spot ahead of the delayed GT4 Mercedes of Mark Griffith.
Ojeda will start from pole in tomorrow’s second race for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS, which begins at 10:45am.
The race will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 506 and Kayo Sports.