Matt Campbell and Geoff Emery converted pole into victory in Race 1 of the Porsche Rennsport Pro-Am, but it was a charging drive from Shane van Gisbergen that stole the show.
Campbell and Emery executed an exemplary race, with the former quickly overcoming a fast-starting David Wall to lead until the end of his stint.
Emery however rejoined second behind the Scott Taylor Motorsport entry of Paul Kelly, who had benefitted from a stellar performance from star co-driver van Gisbergen.
Starting last after a technical infringement in qualifying, the Kiwi took 10 positions on the first lap alone.
Van Gisbergen carved his way to second by lap 10 of 34, at which point he was two seconds adrift of leader Campbell.
The duo were bumper-to-bumper by the time Campbell pitted and, with van Gisbergen stopping a lap later, the positions were reversed in the stops.
Emery made short work of Kelly soon after, taking the lead back just a lap following Kelly’s rejoin before going on to win by nine seconds.
“Wally didn’t make it easy for me at the start but I was very happy that we got the win in the end,” said Campbell post-race.
“The car was moving around a fair bit during the stint so I was glad to hold on.”
James Bergmuller took the flag second in the car he shared with Garth Tander, while Tony Bates/David Reynolds and David Wall/Adrian Flack completed the top four.
“James did an awesome job,” said Tander. “We made a tyre pressure change in the stop and the car came to life for him.”
Sam Walter crossed the line fifth in Dylan O’Keefe’s entry, before being dropped to 18th by a three minute post-race penalty for a pitstop infringement.
Reynolds, Flack and Walter had all benefited from a last-lap spin for Kelly, who was kicking himself for the error after taking the flag in sixth.
Typically, van Gisbergen downplayed is phenomenal charge, suggesting his run may have hindered his co-drivers chances in the closing stages.
“The car balance was awesome and we pushed up to the front, but I probably took a little bit much out of the tyres for PK,” said van Gisbergen.
“I’m not sure what the other guys were doing and if they were saving tyres, but starting from last we had to have a big go.”
Alex Davison/David Calvert-Jones, Ash Walsh/Max Twigg, Nick McBride/Dylan Thomas, Tim Slade/Adrian Mastronardo and Nick Percat/Shane Smollen completed the top 10.
Davison and Percat had been in the thick of the lead in the first stint, with the former deftly taking fourth from his rival as the pair diced behind Wall.
The likes of Reynolds, Walsh, Slade and eventual 12th place finisher Lee Holdsworth all ran the opposing driver strategy, watching on during the first stint as their Am drivers took the wheel.
“I was racing the amateurs out there,” noted Reynolds after his stint. “If I didn’t make up a few spots I would be out of a job.”
Strategies will be reversed for tomorrow, with rules dictating that those who finish Race 1 must start Race 2.
Full result to follow
VIDEO: Campbell and Emery speak after the race win
RESULTS: RACE #1 – Rennsport
|1||7||M.Campbell/G.Emery||Nuveau Constructions / Phase 8|
|3||24||T.Bates/D.Reynolds||Moveitnet / A.F.S.|
|5||222||P.Kelly/S.Van Gisbergen||Scott Taylor Motorsport|
|7||777||A.Walsh/M.Twigg||Bob Jane T-Marts / Infants Friend|
|8||77||N.McBride/D.Thomas||Bob Jane T-Marts|
|9||39||A.Mastronardo/T.Slade||TOGA/Veritas Property Group|
|10||56||S.Smollen/N.Percat||McGrath Estate Agents|
|12||12||S.Richards/D.Grant||Laser Plumbing and Electrical|
|14||8||D.Fiore/J.Camilleri||Saint/Porsche Centre Melbourne|
|17||45||D.Padayachee/R.Lago||Darrell Lea STIX|
|18||88||D.O’Keeffe/S.Walter||Allstar Equipment / Dexion Supplies|
|19||54||J.Abela/T.Walls||Horsley Park Gun Shop|
|20||21||G.Walden/A.Samadi||Commercial Interior Projects|