The first ever international Porsche Carrera Cup Australia race has also turned out to be one of the most memorable in the series’ history, David Wall and Stephen Grove triumphing in an action-packed opener at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia today.
Wall powered to a lights-to-flag victory from pole position while Grove had to fend off TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge rival Tim Miles for his class victory, edging his rival out by less than a car length in a stunning battle.
Wall started from pole and led the field into turn one, never really troubled en route to his second race victory of the season.
While the remainder of the professional drivers furiously battled for positions second through eighth for much of the 13-lap distance, Wall extended his championship lead and etched his name into the record books as the first ever winner of a Carrera Cup Australia race held outside Australia.
“The car was fantastic to drive and I’m really chuffed with not only the win but also pole position earlier in the day. It was great to get my first international win but to also be the first ever international winner for Carrera Cup Australia,” said Wall.
“I did what I needed to at the front of the field to make sure that, if there was a safety car, I could hold off Alex. I could see that he was unbelievably fast and he’s going to be very hard to beat tomorrow. Congratulations to Dylan O’Keeffe too, he’s a good young bloke and it was a great result for him.”
Alex Davison and O’Keeffe both stormed through the field, the team-mates picking off car after car to work their way towards the top three.
Davison started fifth and made up one spot into turn one, before dispatching Cam McConville and Andre Heimgartner en route to a storming second place. Davison also set the fastest lap – and by virtue a Carrera Cup Australia lap record at Sepang – on the twelfth lap.
O’Keeffe went the opposite way at the start and lost positions before methodically working his way through the field to finish third following a series of outstanding passes.
Heimgartner finished fourth and James Abela fifth, though Abela was ultimately dropped to 10th after receiving a 25 second post-race penalty following contact with Nick McBride mid-race that saw McBride pointing in the wrong direction at the turn nine hairpin.
The addition of post-race penalties to rivals promoted Jaxon Evans and Lars Kern to fifth and sixth. McConville finished fourth on the road however was penalised five seconds for a grid infringement – being out of his grid box – and thus slipped to seventh in the final results. Michael Almond placed eighth from McBride in ninth and Abela in 10th.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge battle was a thriller from lights to flag – Stephen Grove and Tim Miles battling from the opening lap in an incredible fight.
The pair swapped the lead six times throughout the race, including a last corner battle that saw Miles dive down the inside of Grove, only to run wide and allow the class points leader through once more.
The pair then battled side-by-side to the line with Grove winning by 0.016 seconds.
“We had a great battle in the last part of the race. The tyres were going off he was getting close and then into the last corner I left one car width and he took it but ran wide. I couldn’t get the car turned and then it was a race to the line. It was fantastic,” said Grove, who is elated with his Sepang experience thus far.
“It’s a great track and Porsche has put on an unbelievable event. It’s a tough track, it’s hot, you’ve got loads of passing with all the great elements that car racing is all about. It was one of the best and most fun races I’ve had in a long time.”
Dean Cook finished third in class, having earlier secured his maiden pole position in the class.
Round five of Porsche Carrera Cup Australia will conclude with a second 13-lap race at 12:55pm (AEST), before a pair of combined races see Porsche Carrera Cup Asia & Australia battle it out.
The Pro-Am/TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge race will commence at 4:25pm AEST, prior to the Outright drivers doing battle at 5:20pm AEST.
All races will be streamed live via the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia website, Facebook page and Speedcafe.com.
Sunday July 23, 2017
10:55am Race 2 (13 laps)
2:25pm Invitational Race, Overall (13 laps)
3:20pm Invitational Race, Challenge/Pro-Am (13 laps)