Intense title battle builds in Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia season
LESS THAN one round’s worth of points separates the top five drivers in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS Championship, following a wild weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Liam Talbot has charged back to the lead of the championship following his impressive victory on Sunday in Sydney, the Queenslander now leading the series aboard his Shannons Insurance Audi R8 LMS.
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However, Talbot’s lead is tiny with former co-driver Max Hofer now just two points further back in second.
Talbot’s fourth win of the season came on Sunday in Sydney and followed a solid third-placed finish in the opening race on Saturday.
The incredible Saturday win for Yasser Shahin and Garnet Patterson saw the EMA Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3R climb from fourth to third In the championship, however they also closed the margin to the series lead and now sit just 12 points behind Talbot.
That race saw Garnet Patterson hold off a charging Richie Stanaway to deliver Porsche another race win this year in arguably the race of the season.
A solid fifth-placed finish on Sunday helped the team to a haul of points heading into the business end of the season.
Geoff Emery – who finished fourth in both races at the weekend – dropped two spots to fourth position, though is just 14 from the series lead meaning the top three cars in the series are covered by less than one race win with four races remaining.
Ross Poulakis remains in title contention in fifth position, 40 points from the championship lead, following another strong weekend from the Victorian and codriver Jayden Ojeda in the Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport Mercedes AMG GT3.
Ojeda remains in mathematical calculations with two rounds remaining, however will be more focused on helping Poulakis to the title in the final two rounds in Queensland and Adelaide, respectively.
A productive weekend for Triple Eight Race Engineering / Johor Motor Racing has their pair of Mercedes-AMG entries split by just two points: Prince Jefri Ibrahim (73) leading Prince Abu Ibrahim and Jamie Whincup in seventh and eighth, respectively.
Both Triple Eight / JMR cars remain in mathematical championship calculations however after missing the Phillip Island round, would require significant issues to strike the leading contenders ahead to contend for the crown in Adelaide this November.
Liam Talbot’s regular co driver Fraser Ross has jumped from 15th to 9th in the championship while Mike Bailey and Brett Hobson round out the top-10 in their Mercedes.
The status quo was retained in the GT3 Am battle in Sydney, Brad Schumacher continuing to hold a healthy 41-point lead over Matt Stoupas and Paul Stokell heading into the penultimate round at Queensland Raceway next week.
Schumacher could mathematically clinch the class title in the next round should he lead Stoupas and Stokell by 50 points or more following the Queensland Raceway event next week.
Mike Sheargold and Garth Walden sit third in class while the Audi duo of Sergio Pires and Marcel Zalloua have climbed to fourth position, in front of Ash Samadi.
In the GT Trophy class, Renee Gracie extended her lead with a third straight round win in her Audi R8 LMS Utra, while Paul Lucchitti remains second in class.
The Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia return to the Shannons SpeedSeries program in just a week’s time, lining up at Queensland Raceway for Round five of the championship on August 11-13.
Catch both races and the Fanatec GT World Challenge’s first Top-10 shootout live on Stan Sport and the Nine Network next weekend.