Matt Campbell has cemented his place as Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by Emsteq’s star qualifier by recording an unprecedented seven straight TAG Heuer Pole Positions at the Gold Coast season finale.
The 21-year-old championship leader equalled Jim Richards’ 13-year-old record of six straight pole positions two weeks prior at Bathurst and followed it up with yet another pace-setting performance on the streets of Surfers Paradise. In gaining pole position for Saturday’s opening race, Campbell also equalled Jim Richards’ record of seven pole positions in a season.
“It’s a nice record to have, especially in a one-make category. My strength really is qualifying so to get seven in a row and pole position at the last round is fantastic for myself and McElrea Racing,” said Campbell.
“The track was quite different to the previous session, especially at the beach chicane. Thankfully we were able to take the top spot and the car is in one piece for tomorrow. Passing is hard around this circuit so, starting off the front row, I’ll plan to a stay out of trouble.”
Michael Almond will start alongside Campbell on the front row after his best Carrera Cup qualifying performance; the South Australian finishing the session second quickest, bettering his previous best qualifying of fourth, which he has achieved three times.
Alex Davison, who is Campbell’s closest points rival sitting 124.5 points adrift of the series lead, was the third fastest in the qualifying session from Steven Richards, David Wall, Ash Walsh. Duvashen Padayachee qualified seventh from Dylan O’Keeffe, Garth Walden and Fraser Ross, who stopped mid-session due to a broken drive shaft, in 10th.
Stephen Grove was the best of the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge runners for Friday’s qualifying. While out of Challenge title contention, the 2014 class champion is eager to finish the season on a high.
“It was important for me to get pole position here. You have to be super committed here and it can be quite scary. I pushed as hard as I could and pole position was something I really wanted to achieve, especially with the staggered grid,” said Grove.
“I want to finish the year strong and even to prepare for next year. It hasn’t been the greatest year with a few DNFs, but I’ll come back tomorrow and try to win, finishing the season positively.”
Tony Bates was second in class, qualifying in 12th outright behind James Abela, from James Bergmuller, Guest starter Tony Longhurst, Marc Cini and 17th placed Adrian Mastronardo.
While good for some, Friday proved difficult for several Carrera Cup drivers.
In the opening session, Shane Smollen spun and hit the wall in the braking zone of turn one; the damage to his Porsche too significant to return to the circuit this weekend.
Practice two then saw Scott Taylor hit the wall at the exit of the opening chicane, before coming to a stop moments after. Nick McBride was then left with nowhere to go and careered into the side of Taylor’s 911 GT3 Cup. The damage to McBride’s Porsche caused him to miss the qualifying session. Taylor, meanwhile, will not continue in the Gold Coast finale; the Gold Coast based racer suffered a leg injury, though with no fractures, during the accident, while his Porsche sustain heavy damage from the impact.
The opening race of the season finale will held at 9:00am on Saturday where, should Campbell finish ahead of Davison, the series leader could establish an unassailable lead in the championship with two races remaining.
Saturday October 22, 2016
9:00am Race 1 (15 laps)
12:50pm Race 2 (15 laps)
Sunday October 23, 2016
12:55pm Race 3 (20 laps)
1. #7 Matt Campbell (Outright) Nuveau Constructions / Phase 8 – 1:12.6414*
2. #26 Michael Almond (Outright) Copyworld/Toshiba – 1:12.7779s
3. #25 Alex Davison (Outright) Wilson Parking – 1:12.9103s
4. #12 Steven Richards (Outright) Laser Plumbing and Electrical – 1:13.0127s
5. #38 David Wall (Outright) Wilson Security – 1:13.1473s
6. #777 Ash Walsh (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts / Infants Friend – 1:13.2899s
7. #45 Duvashen Padayachee (Outright) Darrell Lea STIX – 1:13.6566s
8. #88 Dylan O’Keeffe (Outright) All Star Equipment Sales / APB Group – 1:14.1015s
9. #21 Garth Walden (Outright) Commercial Interior Projects – 1:14.1959s
10. #360 Fraser Ross (Outright) Shooters NC / DNA Racing – 1:14.2389s
11. #4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Hire – 1:14.3104s
12. #54 James Abela (Outright) Horsley Park Gun Shop – 1:14.3642s
13. #24 Tony Bates (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Moveitnet/C Tech Laser – 1:14.3880s
14. #13 James Bergmuller (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) pricepressure.com.au – 1:14.9763s
15. #8 Tony Longhurst (Guest) Saint/Porsche Centre Melbourne -1:15.4618s
16. #9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc – 1:15.9709s
17. #39 Adrian Mastronardo (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) TOGA/Veritas Property Group – 1:16.7525s