DALE Wood has won a thrilling opener to the Porsche Wilson Security Carrera Cup Australia Enduro Cup at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit, while a late-race pass saw Max Twigg take the TAG Heuer Pro-Am class.
Wood won the longest ever Carrera Cup Australia single-driver race contested, having held out a quartet of close rivals for much of the 25-lap duration.
The Sonic Motor racing driver started from pole position however spent the entire race fending off young gun Dylan O’Keeffe in a battle for the lead.
In an intense battle, O’Keeffe made several, ultimately unsuccessful, attempts to wrestle the lead away from Wood, including a run around the outside of turn one and a similar move several laps later at the fearsome ‘Hayshed’ corner.
He ran second until the final lap, when Alex Davison charged past at turn 10 to edge his young teammate to the line.
Victory at Phillip Island marked Wood’s fifth of the season and saw his 71-point defect to leader Jaxon Evans reduced to just 44 points at the top of the Carrera Cup standings, ahead of tomorrow’s second race.
“It was a very high pressure race – I’m not sure if I enjoyed it or not!” Wood said.
“It was a really good battle. Dylan put an enormous amount of pressure on and I saw Alex coming as well.
“I wasn’t happy with how the car was working there and getting around some of the lapped cars was like playing a drunk game of chess but I’m really glad to have got that first win here, It’s just what we wanted.”
Championship leader Jaxon Evans, defending champion David Wall and Alex Davison were also locked together with the leaders for the first half of the race.
Davison was the first driver to make key moves, passing first Wall and then Evans to climb into podium contention as the race progressed.
As O’Keeffe attacked Wood for the lead on the closing lap, Davison also battled with his younger teammate and slipped by in turn 10 to grab second on the final lap.
With O’Keeffe third, Evans withheld a concerted attack from Wall, Jordan Love and Michael Almond to retain fourth place and the championship lead.
In a testament to the Michelin tyres used by the entire Porsche Wilson Security Carrera Cup Australia field, lap times remained consistent throughout the 25-lap duration, with some drivers setting personal-best times late in the race.
Twigg’s victory in the ultra-competitive TAG Heuer Pro-Am class came after the former class champion qualified only sixth earlier in the day.
He marched his way up the order throughout the race and had closed to second by the closing stages, chasing Anthony Gilbertson who had convincingly led from pole position to that point.
Twigg attacked at turn four on the 23rd lap, slipping past to take his first victory in the class this season.
The Victorian, a former three-time class champion, is the fourth driver to win a TAG Heuer Pro-Am race this year.
“It was just great to get the race one win out of the way – we can go out and enjoy race two now,” Twigg said.
“Qualifying was very ordinary, I think we started 18th and raced up to 10th so it just goes to show we need to put more effort into qualy.
“The car was really strong and it came on about 10 laps in and from there we just raced our way forward and we were passing at a rapid rate.
“I’m thrilled. Thrilled for the car and the team.”
With Gilbertson second, Stephen Grove was third and Roger Lago fourth – the pair having battled for much of the race.
Twigg moves to third in the Pro-Am class standings ahead of tomorrow’s second, 25-lap race with Lago continuing to enjoy a healthy lead over Stephen Grove.
Wood and Twigg, respectively, will also be the early leaders of the Porsche Wilson Security Carrera Cup Enduro Cup, with a second 25-lap race to follow tomorrow.
Results, Race 1:
Position Driver Class Laps Race Time
1 Dale Wood (Pro) 25 39:04.2
2 Alex Davison (Pro) 25 39:05.0
3 Dylan O’Keeffe (Pro) 25 39:05.6
4 Jaxon Evans (Pro) 25 39:08.8
5 David Wall (Pro) 25 39:09.7
6 Jordan Love (Pro) 25 39:10.4
7 Michael Almond (Pro) 25 39:15.1
8 Nick McBride (Pro) 25 39:17.4
9 Peter Major (Pro) 25 39:32.0
10 Max Twigg (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) 25 39:34.8
11 Anthony Gilbertson (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) 25 39:34.9
12 Josh Hunt (Pro) 25 39:35.7
13 James Moffat (Pro) 25 39:39.6
14 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) 25 39:40.5
15 Roger Lago (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) 25 39:45.4
16 Adrian Flack (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) 25 39:46.5
17 Sam Shahin (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) 25 40:00.6
18 Tim Miles (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) 25 40:01.0
19 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) 24 39:25.7
20 Indiran Padayachee (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) 24 39:26.4
21 John Steffensen (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) 24 39:29.0
22 Dean Cook (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) 24 39:29.2
23 Graham Williams (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) 24 39:44.0
24 Adam Garwood (Pro) 24 39:45.5
25 Cameron Hill (Pro) 23 39:39.8
Race Schedule (local time)
Sunday April 22, 2018
12:20pm Race 2 (25 laps)