Cameron Hill has joined an elite group of Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia legends by winning his third straight championship round via a clean sweep of race wins at The Bend Motorsport Park.
The Canberran swept to a pair of race wins on Sunday at the South Australian circuit, the round win backing up his Round 1 win at Sandown and his victory in the 2020 Australian Grand prix round in March last year.
Meanwhile, Geoff Emery won his first Morris Finance Pro-Am round in a weekend that featured three different winners from three races; the Victorian driver and Sam Shahin splitting the Sunday victories after Dean Cook won the Saturday race.
Hill’s overall victory came via a pair of tense, narrow victories over Harri Jones on Sunday; the first of the day in the 20-lap Enduro Cup race and the second in the final 11-lap sprint.
He is just the sixth different driver in Carrera Cup Australia history to win three consecutive rounds; joining former series champions Alex Davison, Craig Baird, Jim Richards, Nick Foster and Jaxon Evans on an elite list.
“To manage to get all three race wins is incredible,” Hill said.
“It’s been a perfect weekend for us. We had a little bit of luck on Saturday but we take it when it comes and we’re happy to extend our lead in the championship.
“To win the Enduro Cup race I had to drive really straight, with no mistakes, couple of restarts to spice it up as well, but I was just really happy to come away with the win.
“Harri was stronger than me in sector three, I was a bit stronger in sector two, so I just had to not make any mistakes and a couple of times we had to go side-by-side; but we gave each other some good racing room and it was really cool racing.”
2019 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge champion Harri Jones finished second overall at The Bend; his first podium finish in Carrera Cup competition.
Former champion David Wall continued to accumulate points by finishing third overall, backing up his fourth-placed result in round one.
Emery’s path to victory in Morris Finance Pro-Am came via victory in the Enduro Cup race and a pair of runner-up finishes in the other two races to take his first class round victory.
He edged out Sam Shahin for the overall victory, though the South Australian scored victory in the final race of the weekend – his second at his home circuit.
Dean Cook celebrated his return to the championship with third place overall, rebounding from a spin in the Enduro Cup race to score a trophy.
“Race two was really good for us and we were able to clear away from the field to get the win there,” Emery said.
“My start wasn’t the best, Dean Cook ran past me on the outside and gave me a bit of work to do, but I just put some solid lap times in and watched it all happen around me. Once the safety car bunched the field up, I had all the Pro’s in both mirrors trying to pass me, with Sam (Shahin) right behind me too so it was really tough finish.
“Sam Shahin gave me a really good run for my money in race three and I locked a tyre at turn one and handed the lead to him, but still had enough points to get the round win – so I’m pretty happy with my first Pro-Am win.”
After the challenging wet-weather race on Saturday, Sunday’s pair of races were intense and highly competitive as drivers enjoyed dry conditions at the 4.9km circuit.
The 20-lap Enduro Cup race that started the Sunday program was a thriller, full of drama throughout it’s more than 40-minute duration.
Hill and Jones battled for the lead in the opening laps before settling into the race early on, Nick McBride making ground early to run third.
As the leading freight-train of six cars battled, the race settled down before Dean Cook found himself stuck in the gravel trap at turn one after an attempted move for the lead of Morris Finance Pro-Am.
After a restart for that incident, the field continued to battle before a second Safety Car was called to recover Aaron Love’s stranded Sonic Porsche, also stuck in the gravel at turn one after an attempted pass on Nick McBride went awry.
That set up a one-lap dash to the line, one that saw Hill hold off Jones in the closest ever Carrera Cup finish at The Bend Motorsport Park.
The drama behind the two leaders wasn’t over as Luke Youlden and Nick McBride battled for the final spot on the podium. Their exchange saw Youlden sideways and McBride off the road at turn nine, allowing young South Aussie ace Max Vidau to capitalise and grab third.
Other highlights included a remarkable charge from the back of the grid to fifth for young Kiwi ace Matthew Payne, while Cooper Murray rebounded from his race one disappointment to finish eighth.
Bathurst champion Craig Lowndes showcased the unpredictable nature of the race by starting ninth, running as high as seventh before spearing off the circuit and dropping to 17th position – though ultimately rebounding to 7th at the finish.
Geoff Emery won a competitive Morris Finance Pro-Am fight over Sam Shahin, who still finished second despite spinning mid-race at turn six. Ben Stack scored his best ever Pro-Am finish in third.
The final sprint race was a more straightforward affair, Hill and Jones settling into first and second after another intense battle through the first six corners.
Payne and Murray continued their march forward to finish third and fourth, respectively, while David Wall did enough to secure his spot on the podium overall with fifth, just in front of teammate Lowndes.
Max Vidau, Youlden, Christian Pancione and Michael Almond completed the top-10, while Shahin and Emery battled for victory in Morris Finance Pro-Am; Adrian Flack rebounding from a tough weekend to finish third.
The Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia Championship takes a well-earned break before Round 3, to be held on the streets of Townsville on July 9-11.
Cameron Hill takes a 116-point lead in the championship to the North Queensland circuit, David Wall moving to second.
Harri Jones sits third and leads the Michelin Junior standings, while Cooper Murray and Aaron Love complete the top five.
Sam Shahin now leads the Morris Finance Pro-Am standings over The Bend winner Emery and the consistent Marc Cini.
STANDINGS (After 2 of 8 Rounds)
1. Cameron Hill 354
2. David Wall 238
3. Harri Jones 225
4. Cooper Murray 194
5. Aaron Love 177
6. Craig Lowndes 168
7. Luke Youlden 149
8. Christian Pancione 145
9. Michael Almond 141
10. Nick McBride 137
Morris Finance Pro-Am
1. Sam Shahin 278
2. Geoff Emery 254
3. Marc Cini 191
4. Adrian Flack 184
5. Stephen Grove 174
6. Ben Stack 174
7. Scott Taylor 174
8. Tim Miles 164
9. Dean Cook 132
10. Indiran Padayachee 130