Chris Anthony stormed to another win as the Bathurst lap record was shattered at the third round of the Australian Drivers Championship.
Anthony led from pole to beat Ben Gersekowski by the barest of margins, 0.1s, in a thriller at Mount Panorama.
The lead pair and third-placed Simon Hodge put on a breathtaking show that saw 1.2 seconds cut from record set by Anthony yesterday.
All three divers broke the existing mark with Hodge’s final race lap establishing a remarkable new benchmark of 2:02.6701s.
In a race filled with pressure rather than blanket overtaking, Gersekowski found an impenetrable wall in Anthony for the 12-lap duration.
The McDonald’s Gilmour Racing driver forced to settle for second and now clings to a one-point championship lead over Hodge.
It is the first time that Gersekowski has led the championship in his F3 career, and the first time a non-Team BRM car has topped the charts since the final round of the 2011 season when Chris Gilmour won the championship.
Anthony, though, was stunning at being able to withstand immense pressure to score back-to-back wins.
“I couldn’t have imagined this in a million years,” Anthony said.
“We got a podium at Clipsal which I was pretty happy with but I didn’t think I could take the fight up to Hodgey and Gersekowski.. so I am very surprised, very surprised. We pulled the car out of the trailer and it was brilliant from the first lap.
“No-one can ever take the fact that I have been on the top of the Bathurst podium away from me. I have watched for so many years all the V8 Supercar guys stand on the top step after their race.
“I’d never been here before, I’d only ever seen it on TV, so it’s an unbelievable feeling.”
As a result of his impressive double victory and the added points weighting to the Bathurst round, Anthony also finds himself just 15 points from the lead of the Gold Star heading into the series’ halfway point.
Gersekowski admitted it was a tough deal trying to find a way past Anthony.
“Getting the championship lead was the ultimate goal, so we’re really happy,” Gersekowski said.
“Our car was really good in the first sector and then coming into the chase and the final few corners, but he was too quick in a straight line and I couldn’t get in the tow.”
Simon Hodge was third, but was nevertheless pleased to be the new fastest man around the Mountain.
“We honestly didn’t expect it,” Hodge said.
“As the car got better the lap times dropped and to see that time on the dash, as I crossed the line and got the chequered flag, was an amazing feeling.”
The leading trio were locked together for the opening half of the race before the leaders pulled away from Hodge in the latter stages.
Forpark Australia / Harvest Motorsport driver Arrie Maree finished a solid fourth on his return to the championship this weekend, scoring solid points and jumping to fourth in the standings in the process, despite missing the last round at Sandown.
Chelsea Angelo was fifth and scored the Forpark National Class victory, once again having to come from behind nearest rival Garnet Patterson to take the win.
Patterson made a superb start and raced into the lead before Angelo passed on lap three, eventually pulling away to establish a handy lead and take the class victory for the second time in two days.
After AGI Sport driver Nathan Gotch took the class honours yesterday, Roland Legge did the business in today’s Kumho Cup battle, taking the class victory.
Legge and Gotch diced competitively before the pair made contact in the chase; Gotch’s car coming out second best after both ended up off the road.
The next round of the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship will be held as part of the SKYCITY Triple Crown event at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway on June 20-22.