Matt Campbell had the perfect day at Mount Panorama to extend his lead in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by Hytera standings following an impressive victory in race one, while Shane Smollen claimed the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge win to edge closer to the class lead.
Campbell’s Friday started in style, equalling Jim Richards’ qualifying record of six-straight TAG Heuer Pole Positions (Richards’ claimed pole position at Winton, Hidden Valley, Queensland Raceway, Sandown, Bathurst and Gold Coast in 2003), a feat achieved by Campbell across the past six Carrera Cup outings – Albert Park, Rennsport, Hidden Valley, Sydney Motorsport Park, Sandown and Bathurst.
While starting from pole position, Campbell was beaten from the start by David Wall, the duo entering the opening corner side-by-side before Wall led into turn two. Wall’s lead was short-lived, Campbell moving into the top spot on lap two to eventually pull away and claim a convincing two-second win.
“Wall and I had very good starts and went side-by-side up Mountain Straight and thankfully he made a small mistake in turn one of the following lap, where I was able to get a better run and get by him ahead of turn two. I felt really comfortable in the car and it was a nice and consistent race,” said Campbell, who now holds a 55.5 point lead in the standings over Davison, with McBride a further 31 points adrift.
“It’s a long wait until tomorrow’s race two, but obviously I’m looking forward to it. I love this place and we’ve had some great speed so hopefully we can get a slightly better start tomorrow.”
Campbell was also thrilled to score his sixth straight TAG Heuer Pole Position, equalling Richards’ 13-year-old record.
“Our car works very well in qualifying on the green Michelin tyre and, being a one-make series, it’s a critical part of the weekend to be able to start at the front of the field. We’ll go for another pole position at the Gold Coast but our focus won’t be to lay it on the line for qualifying, but rather focus on points for the championship.”
Wall won the battle for second place, closely trailed by Steven Richards, Alex Davison and Michael Almond to the chequered flag. Ash Walsh placed sixth following a heart-stopping moment entering The Chase early in the race, where his team-mate, Nick McBride, closed the gap on the inside of the right-hander at approximately 280 km/h.
McBride placed seventh from Garth Walden, Dylan O’Keeffe and Dean Fiore, who bounced back from his heavy Thursday practice accident to claim the final top 10 position in race one. Guest racer Max Twigg placed 11th in his first Carrera Cup race this season from James Abela in 12th.
Thirteenth placed Smollen was the best of the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge drivers, capitalising on a poor race by Tony Bates, who spun after contact with Abela at turn two, to move to just 21.5 points of Bates’s class lead with five races remaining for the season.
“All you can do is win races and whatever happens behind you is out of your control,” said Smollen. “After a strong qualifying performance I used the gap that I was fortunate enough to have and didn’t try to break any records; it was just about keeping my head on and remain focussed corner after corner. It was pretty warm out there after a cool session this morning and, even at the end of nine laps, it’s critical to keep that focus lap after lap.”
Danny Stutterd had an impressive Carrera Cup debut with 14th outright, ahead of Duvashen Padayachee. James Bergmuller placed second in the Challenge class with 16th outright from Stephen Grove, Scott Taylor, Adrian Mastronardo, Bates and Marc Cini, who will complete his 250th race in the Porsche championship in Saturday’s race two.
The field was reduced by one after qualifying, with Guest entrant Tony Longhurst making heavy impact with the concrete wall across the top of The Mountain; his Porsche sustaining significant, event-ending damage.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by Hytera will hold its second of three races on Saturday afternoon at 4:30pm before its final race of the weekend, the curtain racer to the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at 9:30am on Sunday morning.
Double Duty: Porsche Carrera Cup Australia/Supercars Championship
#7 carsales Racing – Todd Kelly/Matt Campbell
#14 Freightliner Racing – Tim Slade/Ash Walsh
#23 Nissan Motorsport – Michael Caruso/Dean Fiore
#33 Wilson Security Racing GRM – Scott McLaughlin/David Wall
#888 TeamVortex – Craig Lowndes/Steven Richards
Saturday October 08, 2016
4:30pm Race 2 (9 laps)
Sunday October 09, 2016
9:30am Race 3 (9 laps)
Results: Race 1
1. #7 Matt Campbell (Outright) Nuveau Constructions / Phase 8 – 9 laps, 19:29.9477
2. #38 David Wall (Outright) Wilson Security – 9 laps, 19:32.1851
3. #12 Steven Richards (Outright) Laser Plumbing and Electrical – 9 laps, 19:32.4999
4. #25 Alex Davison (Outright) Wilson Parking – 9 laps, 19:33.2680
5. #26 Michael Almond (Outright) Copyworld – 9 laps, 19:33.7922
6. #777 Ash Walsh (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts/Infants Friend – 9 laps, 19:34.8745
7. #77 Nick McBride (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts – 9 laps, 19:36.8695
8. #21 Garth Walden (Outright) Commercial Interior Projects – 9 laps, 19:42.0244
9. #88 Dylan O’Keeffe (Outright) All Star Equipment Sales/APB Group – 9 laps, 19:47.7118
10. #8 Dean Fiore (Outright) Saint/Porsche Centre Melbourne – 9 laps, 19:54.8191
11. #18 Max Twigg (Guest) DNA Racing/Beyond Blue – 9 laps, 20:01.1802
12. #54 James Abela (Outright) Horsley Park Gun Shop – 9 laps, 20:01.6003
13. #56 Shane Smollen (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) McGrath Estate Agents – 9 laps, 20:07.3571
14. #32 Danny Stutterd (Guest) DJS Racing – 9 laps, 20:11.4816
15. #45 Duvashen Padayachee (Outright) Darrell Lea STIX – 9 laps, 20:11.7496
16. #13 James Bergmuller (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) pricepressure.com.au – 9 laps, 20:14.6909
17. #4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Hire – 9 laps, 20:19.2681
18. #222 Scott Taylor (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Scott Taylor Motorsport – 9 laps, 20:20.4309
19. #39 Adrian Mastronardo (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Veritas Property Group – 9 laps, 20:31.3500
20. #24 Tony Bates (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Moveitnet / C Tech Laser – 9 laps, 20:36.2349
21. #9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc – 9 laps, 20:41.0482