Hofer Hauls Jamec Racing Audi to Saturday Win in Queensland
The Jamec Racing Audi of Geoff Emery and Max Hofer has claimed the opening race of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS at Queensland Raceway, following an outstanding final stint by the Austrian.
Having jumped from third to first after the pit stop window closed, Hofer put the hammer down at the front of the field, finishing over ten seconds ahead of the field, whilst the Porsche of Garnet Patterson once again proved to be a thorn in the side of Triple Eight Race Engineering / JMR.
Liam Talbot made the most of his pole position, and comfortably jumped ahead of Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim, whilst Yasser Shahin was in no mood to wait around at the start, going three wide with the Audi of Brad Schumacher and the Mercedes of Ross Poulakis, launching from sixth to fourth.
Ibrahim then attempted an audacious lunge at turn three in his attempts to wrangle the lead from Talbot, however the Shannons Audi was able to resist the Triple Eight Race Engineering / JMR Mercedes.
Pro-Am championship leader Talbot proceeded to stretch his margin over the field, putting just shy of ten seconds on second placed Ibrahim at the halfway point of the race, however was set to lose that lead thanks to his longer compulsory pit stop time.
Ross Poulakis was the first of the leaders to pit at the end of lap nineteen, having escaped a massive moment at the exit of turn two on lap fifteen, handing over to Jayden Ojeda.
The rest of the front runners came in to make their stops on the following lap, with the Jamec Racing Audi jumping to the head of the field, now with Max Hofer at the wheel.
The Shannons Audi dropped from the lead to fourth once the pit cycle was completed, though now had Garth Tander at the wheel, who settled right into a strong pace.
Between the two Audis was the Ibrahim Mercedes, now driven by Jamie Whincup, and the Shahin/Garnet Patterson Porsche, though Patterson moved ahead of Whincup with a brilliant move around the outside of turn three on lap twenty one.
Hofer pulled a margin at the front of the field, as all eyes turned to the battle for second, with Whincup closing back in on Patterson, and Garth Tander closing in on the both of them in the Shannons Audi.
There was a big moment in the Am race with twelve minutes to go, when Brad Schumacher had a wild spin on the exit of the final corner after hitting the pit wall before spearing back across the track, narrowly avoiding the KFC Audi of Paul Stokell that was running second in class.
The Emery/Hofer Audi crossed the line ahead of the Shahin/Patterson, with Patterson once again fending off a Triple Eight Mercedes in the closing stages, this time being the Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim/Jamie Whincup, who claimed the final step of the podium.
The Talbot/Tander Audi that had led before the pit stops crossed the line in fourth, the Shannons team having chosen not to change tyres at their stop, ahead of the Poulakis/Ojeda Mercedes, the young Sydneysider having held off a charging Broc Feeney in the second Triple Eight Mercedes co-driven by Prince Jefri Ibrahim.
The Am class was taken out by the KFC Audi of Matt Stoupas and Paul Stokell in seventh outright, wihilst the Inviatational class was won by the MARC GT of Geoff Taunton and Daniel Jilesen in ninth outright.
The GT3 Trophy class was won by the Only Fans Audi of Renee Gracie in fourteenth outright, the result enough to for Gracie to clinch the GT3 Trophy championship after Paul Lucchitti retired early.
Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia returns to the track for the category’s first ever Top Ten Shootout at 11;40am tomorrow, before the final race of the weekend begins at 2:10pm.
You can catch all the action live, ad-break free, and on demand on Stan Sport.