Nick Foster has continued his recent stronghold of the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship with outright victory at Sydney Motorsport Park, while Shane Smollen claimed his third straight TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge round win.
Foster placed second in the two Saturday races and finished the round in the best possible way – with victory in the final race. The in-form 23-year-old was beaten to the finish line by David Russell, though Russell was given a five-second time penalty for a jump start, handing the race victory and outright round win to Foster; his third straight Professional Class round win and second consecutive overall victory.
Last year’s Sydney Motorsport Park round winner Craig Baird finished second in race three from Russell, placing third after the time penalty was applied, and Shae Davies in fourth.
“Dave jumped the start and got into the lead; he did get a great start and drove well on cold tyres. I hunted him down and stayed within five seconds to take the win,” said Foster.
“At the end of the day we’re rapidly catching the championship leaders, trying to make up for the poor start to the year. Since Phillip Island we’ve had three round wins on the trot, so it’s amazing how we’ve turned our season around.”
After winning the round’s opening two races, Matt Campbell placed fifth in Sunday’s final race. The result placed the young Queenslander second outright for the round, ahead of Russell in third.
“We didn’t get the outright round win but it was still a great result overall. I’ve shown we’ve had great pace this year and now I’ve finally been able to put a couple of race wins together and a good round result. We hope to continue this form for the rest of the year,” said Campbell.
Smollen sealed his third straight TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge round win in race three after sharing class race wins with Stephen Grove over the two Saturday races.
Smollen claimed a five second class victory in the sole Sunday race from James Bergmuller, Grove and Ash Samadi to continue his recent TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge domination.
“I was really happy with today’s race. I had a poor start but we picked up some places. It was great to bring it home for the round win,” said Smollen, who despite his recent class form, suggests his points rivals are still too close for his liking.
“That was our third round win in a row so it would be nice to look at the standings and see a bit more of a margin, but that’s testament to Grove’s consistency. Even when I am in front there is always his car taking up the rear view mirror. We’re looking good so far this year but the class battle is still very close.”
While Smollen took his third straight class win, Grove has now taken his third straight second place for a round, with Bergmuller joining the duo on the class podium in third.
In the outright standings, Richards’ lead has significantly reduced following a horror Sydney round. The multiple Bathurst 1000 champion is now only 28.5 points ahead of Baird in the points, with Foster quickly chasing down the leading duo, now 90.5 points from the championship lead in third.
Smollen now holds the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge lead by 17 points from Grove, with Ash Samadi and Tony Bates, who was absent from the Sydney races following a practice accident, in equal third.
The next event for Porsche Carrera Cup Australia will be at Sandown Raceway for the sixth round of the championship.
Race 3 Results
1. #777 Nick Foster (Professional Class) Bob Jane T-Marts – 17 laps, 26:28.8170s
2. #8 Craig Baird (Professional Class) Porsche Centre Melbourne – 17 laps, 26:33.4297s
3. #10 David Russell (Professional Class) Finance Ezi – 17 laps, 26:33.6401s
4. #88 Shae Davies (Professional Class) Davbridge Constructions – 17 laps, 26:34.2156s
5. #7 Matt Campbell (Professional Class) Phase 8 – 17 laps, 26:34.8386s
6. #77 Nick McBride (Professional Class) Bob Jane T-Marts – 17 laps, 26:35.6936s
7. #26 Michael Almond (Professional Class) Copyworld – 17 laps, 26:41.9739s
8. #1 Steven Richards (Professional Class) Laser Plumbing & Electrical – 17 laps, 26:43.1335s
9. #22 Richard Muscat (Professional Class) Wilson Security/PAYCE – 17 laps, 26:44.8107s
10. #25 John Martin (Professional Class) Copyworld – 17 laps, 26:47.4500s
11. #11 Simon Hodge (Professional Class) Team BRM – 17 laps, 26:47.9680s
12. #45 Duvashen Padayachee (Professional Class) Darrell Lea STIX – 17 laps, 26:50.4646s
13. #56 Shane Smollen (Carrera Challenge) McGrath Estate Agents – 17 laps, 27:17.5590s
14. #13 James Bergmuller (Carrera Challenge) MotorOne Car Care – 17 laps, 27:22.5339s
15. #4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Group – 17 laps, 27:23.4851s
16. #6 Ash Samadi (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Apartment Hotel – 17 laps, 27:35.7844s
17. #39 Adrian Mastronardo (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Veritas – 17 laps, 27:54.5979s
18. #222 Scott Taylor (Carrera Challenge) Scott Taylor Motorsport – 17 laps, 27:56.2816s
19. #65 Fraser Ross (Professional Class) Porsche Centre Brighton – 16 laps, 27:47.6436s
DNF #9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc