Quinn win slashes Muscat’s Aus GT lead

Dan Herrero

Saturday 23rd August, 2014 - 2:00pm

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Tony Quinn came through to win the Australian GT opener at SMP

Tony Quinn came through to win the Australian GT opener at SMP

Tony Quinn closed in on Australian GT Championship leader Richard Muscat after a rare retirement from the Erebus driver helped the Scot claim victory at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Muscat looked set to challenge for yet another race win before his Erebus Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 machine retired with a fuel pressure problem in the final third of the hour long encounter.

Quinn instead tasted victory in his VIP Petfoods Aston Martin Vantage, having vaulted to the top of the order thanks to a fortuitously-timed Safety Car, which was brought about when Tony Alford slammed his Donut King Lotus Exige hard into the wall.

Muscat had led by nearly seven seconds when the safety car was called on lap 13, approximately 20 minutes into proceedings, but was shuffled back as the field gradually pitted under yellows due to his status as a seeded driver resulting in a longer dwell time.

Quinn, who had earlier escaped a potentially nasty three-wide moment into the fast Turn 4 when a struggling Rod Salmon scattered the pack, had no such problems as he assumed the lead.

The halt was caused when Alford suffered an obvious component failure on the run to the final complex of corners after contact out of Corporate Hill with Ockert Fourie, car #54 jolting hard left and making driver’s side contact with the concrete wall at high speed.

Richard Muscat was forced to witness his championship lead decrease after retirement

Richard Muscat was forced to witness his championship lead decrease after retirement

Racing resumed nearly 20 minutes later, but Muscat quickly brought a stop to that when car #36 itself ground to a stop before even making the restart, sitting stricken on the inside of the final corner.

With the field finally let loose again for a quarter-hour dash, Quinn made the best of lapped traffic effectively playing rear gunner as he put a 6.3s lead on son Klark Quinn in the space of a lap.

Klark quickly set about closing the margin in the Darrell Lea McLaren, but then had a threat of his own in the form of Steven Richards in Justin McMillan’s Lamborghini Gallardo.

Quinn senior eventually crossed the line comfortably clear for his second race win in three rounds, while Klark Quinn saw off Richards’ challenge after the thrice Bathurst 1000 made an error late in the going.

“An old fella like me needs to cherish those moments because they don’t happen too often,” said Tony Quinn.

“Whether I deserved it or not is another issue, but I drove well, the car was good, and the other guys weren’t as good, so I won.”

The top ten was completed by Rod Salmon/Nathan Antunes, Dean Koutsoumidis/James Winslow, Theo Koundouris, Jan Jinadasa/Daniel Gaunt, Steve McLaughlan/Warren Luff, Adrian Deitz/Josh Hunt, and Peter Edwards/John Bowe.

The latter pair was also disadvantaged by the Safety Car as car #88 trundled around at slow speed for several laps before pitting in order for Bowe to meet his minimum driving time.

A second one hour race will complete the round on Sunday from 1130.

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