Andre Heimgartner has taken victory in the opening Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by TAG Heuer race of the season upon his return to the competitive one-make series, while rookie Jaxon Evans impressed with a top-three result on debut.
Heimgartner claimed the TAG Heuer Pole Position earlier in the day and gained the race one lead at the opening chicane after entering the corner side-by-side with his teammate Nick McBride.
The 21-year-old New Zealander then held the front position from McBride until the second-placed racer spun on lap 13 and dropped down the order to eighth after sustaining rear end damage.
Thursday pace-setter David Wall then pressured Heimgartner for the lead in the closing laps in what was his 100th Carrera Cup race; however Heimgartner was able to hold off the charging Wall to take the chequered flag by just 0.16secs for his first Carrera Cup win.
“It was pretty hot out there but I was able to get out in front at the start and managed the race from there. I had no idea what the car was going to be like over a race distance, so I just looked after the tyres and eventually came home with the win,” said Heimgartner, who competed in the Porsche one-make series throughout the 2012 season.
“I wasn’t expecting to have this pace so early in the season. It’s pretty good to go straight out there and get pole position and the race one win. That was a learning experience as I hadn’t done more than three laps in one of these cars so it got a bit messy towards the end there. It was great to get the win and I look forward to the rest of the weekend.”
Behind the second placed Wall was one of the star performers of the race – rookie Jaxon Evans finished only a second behind Wall in third place and well ahead of vastly more experienced competition.
“I can’t ask for much more; I’m pretty stoked to come away with a third place in my first race both in Adelaide and in Carrera Cup. I’m really happy,” said Evans, who replaced reigning champion Matt Campbell in the #7 911 GT3 Cup.
“To run with those guys at the front was a very special feeling. I knew I had the one lap speed, but knowing that I could run with them for the entire race was quite exciting.”
Alex Davison placed fourth from James Abela, who capitalised on a five-second penalty to Cam McConville for a starting grid infringement, to claim his first top-five result in the championship, beating his previous best of sixth at Darwin last season.
Dylan O’Keeffe placed seventh from McBride, TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge winner Stephen Grove, who also celebrated his 100th race, and Marc Cini in 10th.
Debutant Lars Kern had a promising start to his first Carrera Cup Australia outing, running in seventh mid-race until a broken rear rim forced the German into the turn 11 exit barrier, ending his race.
As a result of the incident, Kern’s rear tyre was left stranded on the race track, which was collected by Michael Almond one lap later, damaging the local racer’s radiator and forcing him out of the race.
Newcomer Simon Ellingham was not able to make the start line for race one after falling ill overnight.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by TAG Heuer will hold its second race on Saturday before concluding the opening round with race three on Sunday.
Saturday March 04, 2017
2:05pm Race 2 (20 laps)
Sunday March 05, 2017
1:30pm Race 3 (20 laps)
Race 1 Results
1. #777 Andre Heimgartner (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts/Sonic – 18 laps, 25:16.4283
2. #38 David Wall (Outright) PAYCE/Wilson Security – 18 laps, 25:16.5877
3. #7 Jaxon Evans (Outright) Hungry Jacks – 18 laps, 25:17.4789
4. #888 Alex Davison (Outright) President Limo Australia – 18 laps, 25:20.1134
5. #54 James Abela (Outright) Horsley Park Gun Shop – 18 laps, 25:29.0228
6. #5 Cameron McConville (Outright) Repair Management Australia – 18 laps, 25:29.1095
7. #88 Dylan O’Keeffe (Outright) APB Group/President Limo Australia – 18 laps, 25:32.5270
8. #77 Nick McBride (Outright) Sonic/Bob Jane T-Marts – 18 laps, 25:41.0179
9. #4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Group – 18 laps, 26:05.1183
10. #9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc – 18 laps, 26:05.7022
DNF #6 Michael Almond (Outright) Repair Management Australia – 11 laps, 15:31.4628
DNF #8 Lars Kern (Outright) Porsche Centre Melbourne – 10 laps, 14:08.8581
DNS #33 Simon Ellingham (Outright) Peak Marketing