Twelve months ago, Matt Campbell arrived at Albert Park as a rookie and struggled to challenge the front-runners. Today, the 21-year-old was the clear front-runner, claiming victory in the opening Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by Pages race, along with Tony Bates, who snared his sixth straight TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge race win.
Campbell claimed the TAG Heuer Pole Position Award earlier in the day and led from the start of the 10-lap race one, ultimately claiming the race win by over three seconds from nearest rival Nick McBride, who claimed his first Carrera Cup race win at Albert Park 12 months ago and won this season’s opening round at the Clipsal 500 just two weeks prior.
Campbell was thrilled with the win, his second for the season, and his improved performance upon his Albert Park return.
“I’m happy with the win. There was a bit going on behind me on the first lap so I’m glad I was able to get the lead and pull a gap early on,” said Campbell.
“I struggled here last year but I’ve had plenty of experience since and was able to capitalise today. It’s a fast, flowing European-style circuit and really suits these cars, which makes it really fun to drive. I’m hoping I can get a good start tomorrow and take another race win.”
Behind Campbell and McBride in race one was Dean Fiore, who scored his best result upon his Carrera Cup return this season, ahead of Alex Davison, David Wall, Fraser Ross and Duvashen Padayachee in seventh.
Reigning Albert Park round winner Steven Richards placed eighth from 18-year-old rookie, James Abela, who placed an impressive ninth – his best Carrera Cup result to date. Adelaide race three winner Michael Almond placed 10th from rookies Dylan O’Keeffe and Garth Walden.
Bates continued his TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge stronghold in race one. The local suffered a mid-race mishap at turn nine, losing several positions in class, before regaining the lead and eventual taking the class win; his sixth straight in the championship.
“You’re always happy with a class win. That was tough work as it’s a busy track. I lost the Challenge class race lead to James Bergmuller for a while, which I eventually got back and controlled the race from there. It was good to come away with another win.”
Stephen Grove placed second in class from Bergmuller, who held the class lead for several laps. Smollen placed fourth in class from Adrian Mastronardo and Marc Cini.
Ash Walsh failed to finish the race after sustaining rear suspension damage from contact with rivals on the opening lap.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by Pages will return to the Albert Park circuit on Friday for race two, which will be held at 3:30pm local time and broadcast live on ONE. Carrera Cup will then hold one race each on Saturday and Sunday, both broadcast on TEN.
Race Schedule (local time)
Friday March 18, 2016
3:30pm – Race 2 (25 minutes)
Saturday March 19, 2016
12:45pm – Race 3 (25 minutes)
Sunday March 20, 2016
1:50pm – Race 4 (25 minutes)