Audi pilot Nathan Antunes has taken victory in the final race of the third round of the Australian GT Championship Presented by Pirelli in Townsville – but it wasn’t enough to win the weekend overall.
Maranello Motorsport duo Grant Denyer and Tony D’Alberto came home second and, coupled with their win in Race 1 on Saturday, scored enough points to claim their maiden Australian GT Championship round win.
It also broke a long drought for Ferrari teams in AGT rounds with D’Alberto and Denyer the first Ferrari pilots to win a round in the championship since the late Allan Simonsen and Nick O’Halloran at Sandown in 2008.
The victory also means three different drivers or combinations have won the first three rounds of this year’s championship.
Kiwi team Trass Family Motorsport finished a disappointing 11th after a puncture dropped them down the field having to fight back from 32nd.
Adelaide round winner Antunes was second overall for the round via his win today in a race he always looked in control of.
Less compulsory pit stop time for his Audi R8 LMS Ultra helped him vault the Ferrari to take the lead of the race when he re-joined from his stop.
It wasn’t totally smooth sailing though given there was a late Safety Car period in the closing stages of the one-hour race after contact between Max Twigg’s Mercedes and Kevin Weeks’ Trophy Class-contending Ford GT that had led the class earlier in the hands of Steve Owen.
Weeks’ Ford found itself stranded at Turn 9, necessitating the appearance of the Safety Car to give D’Alberto a chance to challenge Antunes for the victory.
However he was unable to clear the lapped cars in between he and the leader in time to challenge Antunes and the Ferrari came home second.
Third place was taken by Klark Quinn’s McLaren 650S with fellow McLaren pilots Tony Walls and Tony Quinn fourth and fifth.
JAMEC PEM Audi driver Steve McLaughlan finished sixth clear of John Magro’s Lamborghini.
Punctured tyres took the Ferrari of Graeme Smyth/Jono Lester and the Mercedes-Benz of Geoff Emery/Max Twigg out of contention before the pit stop window opened at the one-third race mark, while a pit lane penalty for contact with Tony Quinn’s McLaren killed the chances of German Christopher Mies.
Again he set the fastest lap of the race but he and co-driver Greg Crick were forced to settle for an eighth place finish.
A total of 43 laps were completed in the race, which ran to a time-certain one-hour length.
Lamborghini driver Jan Jinadasa won the Trophy Class and finished 13th overall. Audi drivers Mark Griffith and the duo of Greg Taylor/Barton Mawer finished second and third.
Porsche pilots Matt Kingsley and Brendan Cook won the Challenge Class in their GT3 Cup Challenge Porsche with the similar cars of Richard Gartner and Michael O’Donnell second and third.
The Australian GT Championship Presented by Pirelli will now move to Sydney Motorsport Park in late August where round four will support the V8 Supercars Championship.