Matt Campbell and Geoff Emery claimed a likely race one win at Sydney Motorsport Park in the opening Pro-Am race of Porsche Carrera Cup Australia – highlighted by a spirited charge to the front by Shane van Gisbergen from the rear.
Campbell and Emery started the day well, both topping their respective qualifying session to place their #7 Porsche on the TAG Heuer Pole Position.
David Wall shot to the early lead from third on the grid, though Campbell soon regained the front position for the opening half of the race.
While Campbell was comfortably at the head of the field, V8 powerhouse van Gisbergen was looming; starting at the rear, the Kiwi charged through to eventually claim the race lead ahead of their compulsory pit stop.
Van Gisbergen handed the #222 Porsche to countryman Paul Kelly while Emery replaced Campbell in the second placed 911 GT3 Cup.
It didn’t take Emery long to claim the lead and pull away from his rivals, crossing the finish line nine seconds ahead of the second placed James Bergmuller, who paired with Garth Tander to take his best ever Carrera Cup result.
The result was Campbell’s ninth Carrera Cup career win and his third of the season.
“I was turning some pretty consistent laps and was conserving my tyres as best as I could. I saw Shane was pushing pretty hard and started to drop off a bit at the end. I was happy with my stint at the start and Geoff did a fantastic performance to pull away to take the win.”
The 34-lap event was Emery’s seventh Pro-Am race start and his first Carrera Cup race victory.
“I thought I was struggling for pace after the pit stop because the car was sliding around, but the team said everyone was battling for grip. Matt handed the car over in a great position so I just had to maintain our place. I’m really happy with the result,” said Emery.
Second placed Bergmuller was thrilled with his best ever Carrera Cup result after his strong performance in the latter half of the race.
“I was nervous getting in; Garth put us in fifth before I got in the car and I didn’t want to muck it up. I had really good tyres and started picking guys off. I didn’t know we were in second outright until after the race, which is a great result from the opening Pro-Am race,” said Bergmuller.
Tander, who started the race in the #13 Porsche, was equally thrilled with the second placed result on debut in the one-make championship.
“The first lap was good; I made plenty of spots and just sat in behind the lead bunch. Campbell and van Gisbergen were in a different league and then, after our pit stop, James was awesome. The end goal this weekend was to race the Challenge guys and to get as many points as possible for James. Second overall and first in class ticked all the boxes,” said Tander.
Tony Bates and David Reynolds placed third for the race from David Wall/Adrian Flack, van Gisbergen/Kelly and Alex Davison and David Calvert-Jones.
The opening day of the Porsche Rennsport Australia Motor Racing Festival was a fitting celebration of the Porsche brand, attracting over 3000 spectators through the gates of the Sydney Motorsport Park venue.
The second of the two Carrera Cup Pro-Am races from the Porsche Rennsport Australia Motor Racing Festival will be held on Sunday at 1:15pm.
PORSCHE CARRERA CUP – Race 1 Results
1. Campbell / Emery
2. Bergmuller / Tander
3. Bates / Reynolds
4. Wall / Flack
5. Kelly / van Gisbergen
6. Davison / Calvert-Jones
7. Walsh / Twigg
8. McBride / Thomas
9. Mastronardo / Slade
10. Smollen / Percat
11. Grove / Holdsworth
12. Richards / Grant
13. Ross / Ryan
14. Fiore / Camilleri
15. Almond / Goodacre
16. Cini / Caruso
17. Padayachee / Lago
18. O’Keefe / Walter
19. Abela / Walls
20. Walden / Samadi