Jono Lester was flying at the latest round of the Australian GT Championship, becoming just the third driver in Australian GT Championship history to claim three consecutive pole positions and the first since the late Allan Simonsen did it in 2008.
The flying New Zealander had the early lead at the first race of the third round held on the streets of Townsville and managed to build a margin to the field, an important fact given the car had a compulsory pit stop time of two minutes and nine seconds.
But a Safety Car – for the expired Camaro of Justin McMillan – bunched up the field and eroded the race lead he had worked for nearly 20 minutes to build. Teh Trass Family Motorsport Ferrari finished in seventh position.
“We built another huge lead only for the safety car to relinguish it again,” commented Lester. “Eighth was the best we could do in the end. The car was a rocket all race and we have another roll of the dice tomorrow.”
Porsche Duo Lose Townsville Win, Ferrari Combination Elevated To Victory
The results of the first race in round three of the Australian GT Championship Presented by Pirelli in Townsville have been altered significantly following a post-race penalty applied to the across-the-line winner.
The Porsche GT3-R of Andrew MacPherson and Brad Shiels crossed the line first to win the one-hour, 46-lap opening race of the weekend, however have been demoted to 16th place in the final classification via a post race penalty confirmed by race officials this afternoon.
They were adjudged to have not completed their Compulsory Pit Stop time duration and were penalised the equivalent time penalty of twice their allocated pit stop time, a total of three minutes and 12 seconds.
The penalty elevates the Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 458 GT3 of Tony D’Alberto and Grant Denyer to victory, Tony Quinn’s McLaren to second and the Erebus Mercedes-Benz of Geoff Emery and Max Twigg to third.
It’s the first win for a Ferrari in the Australian GT Championship in a full year given D’Alberto and John Bowe won a race last year at the corresponding round in Townsville 12 months ago.
It’s also Denyer’s first win in the AGT Championship in just his second appearance with the Melbourne-based Maranello team.
He and D’Alberto will start Race 2 from pole position tomorrow with the final one-hour race of the weekend for AGT to be at 12.10pm local time.