Alex Davison made the most of his vast sports car experience at Albert Park to claim race two victory in variable weather conditions, while Stephen Grove broke Tony Bates’ winning streak to take his first TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge win of the season.
Davison, the 2004 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia champion, spent the majority of the shortened race two in third behind young guns Matt Campbell and Nick McBride, who shared the lead in the opening laps.
Light rain started to fall mid-race race and, entering the opening corner on lap seven, both Campbell and McBride ran wide onto the turn one gravel trap, allowing the experienced Davison and Steven Richards to move into first and second, respectively, moments ahead of the safety car being called to the circuit to retrieve James Bergmuller’s beached Porsche from turn one.
The race was concluded under safety car conditions, handing Davison his 39th Carrera Cup career win and his first in the championship since 2012 – his last full-time season campaign.
“It was very tough conditions and I haven’t been in the car much in the wet over the past couple of years so I probably wasn’t as sharp as what I’d like to have been. In the dry conditions the car was great and I managed to keep it on the track when it was damp; a little bit of experience probably helped me there when I saw it bucket down over the start/finish line. I just picked a slightly better braking point than the other boys and managed to get the lead and keep it when the safety car was called,” said Davison.
“It’s great to get my first win of the year and I can feel myself and the team getting better every outing, so I think we’re only going to get stronger from here.”
Campbell and McBride finished third and fourth, from David Wall, Fraser Ross, Michael Almond, rookie James Abela, Duvashen Padayachee, who ran a race-high position of fourth, Ash Walsh in 10th, who started from the rear of the grid following a race one DNF, and Garth Walden in 11th.
Grove, who placed 12th outright, battled Bates and Bergmuller for the top three of the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge class in the early stages of the race; losing second place to Bergmuller early before regaining the position and ultimately passing Bates for the class lead before the weather turned.
The Challenge race victory, ahead of Shane Smollen, Bates, Adrian Mastronardo and Marc Cini, was the 2014 class champion’s first in 14 races, last taking class victory at Sydney Motorsport Park last season. The victory also broke Bates’ winning streak of six races in the Challenge class.
“It’s great to get another Challenge win. I knew I had to pass Bates as soon as I could and then try to build a gap because the conditions were going to change, which they did,” said Grove.
“I’m really happy with my speed this weekend. I was disappointing in qualifying; I made a mistake on my fastest lap and, because the Challenge class is so competitive, I dropped down the order. So to come back and take the race two win is just awesome.”
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by Pages will hold its third and fourth race of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix weekend on Saturday and Sunday, both to be broadcast live on Ten.
Race Schedule (local time)
Saturday March 19, 2016
12:45pm – Race 3 (25 minutes)
Sunday March 20, 2016
1:50pm – Race 4 (25 minutes)
Race 2 Results
1. #25 Alex Davison Wilson Parking – 9 laps 2.2:40.9195s
2. #12 Steven Richards Laser Plumbing and Electrical – 9 laps 22:41.6206s
3. #7 Matt Campbell Nuveau Construct. Qld/Phase 8 – 9 laps 22:42.0736s
4. #77 Nick McBride Bob Jane T-Marts – 9 laps 22:42.4792s
5. #38 David Wall Wilson Security – 9 laps 22:42.6719s
6. #360 Fraser Ross 360fly – 9 laps 22:43.1000s
7. #26 Michael Almond Copyworld – 9 laps 22:43.4597s
8. #54 James Abela Horsley Park Gun Shop – 9 laps 22:43.5680s
9. #45 Duvashen Padayachee Darrell Lea STIX – 9 laps 22:44.4645s
10. #777 Ash Walsh Bob Jane T-Marts/Infants Friend – 9 laps 22:45.0661s
11. #21 Garth Walden CIP/GWR – 9 laps 22:45.7872s
12 #4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Hire – 9 laps 22:46.2999s
13. #56 Shane Smollen (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) McGrath Estate Agents – 9 laps 22:47.2734s
14. #24 Tony Bates (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Moveitnet/A.F.S – 9 laps 22:48.9882s
15. #88 Dylan O’Keeffe All Star Equipment Sales/Dexion Supply Centre – 9 laps 22:49.5044s
16. #39 Adrian Mastronardo (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Veritas Property Group – 9 laps 22:50.0273s
17. #9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc – 9 laps 22:54.3407s
18. #8 Dean Fiore Saint/Porsche Centre MelbournE – 9 laps 22:55.7991s
DNF #13 James Bergmuller (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) pricepressure.com.au – 6 laps 12:39.8049s