The final race of the Round 1 of Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Series in Phillip Island, was red flagged soon after the race start after Jonathan Gliksten and Matthew Belford made contact on the exit of turn 2.
The altercation between the two Morris Finance Pro-Am drivers also sandwiched an unlucky Ross McGregor against the inside tyre wall. While all three drivers were taken to the Phillip Island medical centre and later discharged, all three Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars were severely damaged and had to be recovered from the circuit.
As a result of the incident, race 3 was red flagged by the Motorsport Australia officials and Gliksten was handed 10 series points penalty. He will also have to start from the rear of the grid for the first race of round 2.
The round win in each class was then based on the performance of the drivers in Races 1 and 2, which saw Ryan Suhle take the overall win in Mobil Pro from Callum Hedge and Christian Pancione.
Ryan Suhle (Mobil Pro winner): “It was great to get the first race win yesterday and obviously in the wet it was pretty interesting for Race 2. It was the first time for me in the rain in one of these Cup cars and I certainly found out that it bites sometimes. I was just happy to recover through the field to second.”
“While today was a little disappointing as we all want to go racing, we’re also just glad that the guys are all ok. Overall, it’s great to come away from the weekend with the championship lead.”
Matthew Belford took his maiden round win in Morris Finance Pro-Am, from Sam Shahin and David Greig.
Matthew Belford (winner Morris Finance Pro-Am): “It was a great weekend, but finishing with a red flagged race was unfortunate, but we all just really glad the guys are ok. My weekend was good, qualifying I was fourth and fought my way to second in race 1 while race 2 was just wild. I was just thrilled to take the overall round win.”
“It was only three years ago I was doing track days and went on to do the Porsche Experience Driver Training up in Queensland. I enjoyed that and bought a Cup Car and started doing Sprint Challenge and now within just a few years, I have my first race (and round) win. I can’t thank the whole Porsche Centre Melbourne team enough especially Karl Batson and Nick McBride.”
The next round of the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge series takes place at Sydney Motorsport Park on the 01-02 May.