Morcom wins after stunning comeback drive

Nathan Morcom

Nathan Morcom

Nathan Morcom produced an impressive drive from the back of the grid to win the opening Australian GT Championship race at Phillip Island.

The McLaren driver managed to scythe his way through the field having been forced to start from 27th following an exclusion from qualifying when officials deemed his 650S GT3 to be underweight.

Morcom wasted little time in the race climbing to 10th when the pit stop window opened shortly after a Safety Car period caused by Peter Rullo’s stranded Lamborghini on lap 15.

When racing resumed Morcom stormed from seventh to third before chasing down and then passing Yasser Shahin (Lamborghini) and Tony Walls (McLaren).

Once in front Morcom eased to victory taking the chequered flag from Yasser Shahin, who started from 23rd spot.

The South Australian was 16th at the time of the pit stops but emerged in second once he returned from the pit lane.

A charging drive from Shane van Gisbergen in the second half of the race saw him claim the final place on the podium.

The Kiwi took over the car outside of the top 10 from Klark Quinn, who ran in the top three before the pit stops.

Maranello Motorsport enjoyed a strong showing with its #80 Ferrari piloted by Tony D’Alberto/Graeme Smyth coming home in fourth.

Tony Walls, who led for a spell after the pits stops, brought his Objective Racing McLaren 650S home in fifth ahead of the Dean Canto/Andrew Taplin Lamborghini.

Ricky Capo produced a faultless drive in his BMW Z4 to claim seventh, with Roger Lago (Lamborghini) eighth and George Miedecke (Aston Martin) in ninth.

The BMW M6 GT3 of Steven Richards and Max Twigg completed the top 10.

The race began with pole-sitter Garth Tander leading the early laps in the #2 Jamec Pem Racing Audi R8 before a puncture hit on lap 10 with the Holden Racing Team star holding a lead of more than two seconds.

This handed Nathan Antunes the lead in the Tekno McLaren from Marco Bonanomi.

Antunes appeared to be in the box seat to take out the race but a decision to pit a lap after the Safety Car was recalled proved pivotal, dropping him to 21st position.

A lengthy compulsory pit stop time saw the Bonanomi/Greg Taylor Audi drop to 12th.

Jamec Pem Racing’s sister entry of Miguel Molina and Tony Bates encountered a difficult race after being hit with a drive-through penalty for an unsafe release.

The car then suffered a left rear puncture later in the race which demoted him to 28th position.

It proved to be a challenging day for the Audi runners with the Supabarn Supermarkets entry of Marcus Marshall/James Koundouris picking up a puncture with three minutes of the race remaining.

MARC GT’s maiden GT3 race ended in disappointment as the Morgan Haber/Bruno Spengler M6 GT3 stopped on track in the early stages.

Result: Australian GT Championship Race 1

1 DPO Nathan Morcom (Qld) McLaren 650S GT3 38 01:01:17.1757
2 The Bend Motorsport Yasser Shahin (SA) Lamborghini Gallardo 38 01:01:18.8442
3 Darrell Lea K.Quinn/S.Van Gisbergen McLaren 650S GT3 38 01:01:25.3902
4 Maranello Motorsport T.D’Alberto/G.Smythe Ferrari 458 GT3 38 01:01:28.5185
5 Objective Racing Tony Walls (Qld) McLaren 6505 GT3 38 01:01:36.3336
6 Taplin Real Estate A.Taplin/D.Canto Lamborghini Gallardo 38 01:01:38.4122
7 Modena Engineering Ricky Capo (Vic) BMW Z4 GT3 38 01:01:38.5721
8 JBS Australia Roger Lago (Qld) Lamborghini R-EX 38 01:02:02.0833
9 Miedecke Motor Group A.Miedecke/G.Miedecke Aston Martin Vantage 38 01:02:04.9552
10 SR Motorsport S.Richards/M.Twigg BMW M6 GT3 38 01:02:12.8686
11 Darrell Lea T.Quinn/D.Gaunt Aston Martin Vantage 38 01:02:19.8053
12 GT Motorsport G.Taylor/M.Bonanomi Audi R8 LMS 38 01:02:27.0463
13 Walkinshaw GT3 J.Martin/A.Tebb Porsche 911 GT3-R 38 01:02:33.6097
14 Bondi Wholefoods Ash Samadi (Vic) Mercedes AMG SLS-GT3 38 01:02:47.8168
15 Eggleston Motorsport P.Hackett/D.Storey Mercedes AMG SLS-GT3 37 01:01:19.0795
16 JAMEC PEM Racing S.McLaughlin/G.Tander Audi R8 LMS 37 01:01:21.6055
17 Scott Taylor Motorsport S.Taylor/C.Baird Mercedes AMG SLS-GT3 37 01:01:34.5911
18 McLaren Melbourne G.Denyer/M.Kingsley McLaren 650s GT3 37 01:01:38.3083
19 AMAC Motorsport A.McPherson/B.Shiels Porsche 997 GT-R 37 01:01:43.0198
20 Interlloy M Motorsport J.McMillan/G.Wood Lamborghini R-EX 37 01:01:43.4979
21 Beechwood / SLR / Buildmap N.Antunes/E.Barbour McLaren 650S GT3 37 01:01:52.8481
22 Fastway Couriers S.Ellingham/T.Miles Audi R8 Ultra 37 01:01:59.5641
23 Supabarn Supermarkets J.Koundouris/M.Marshall Audi R8 LMS 37 01:02:02.2775
24 Maranello Motorsport A.Deitz/C.McConville Ferrari 458 GT3 37 01:02:39.1204
25 Maranello Motorsport L.Talbot/J.Fouracre Audi R8 LMS Ultra 36 01:01:28.0306
26 Maranello Motorsport Peter Edwards (Vic) Ferrari 488 GT3 36 01:01:59.1328
27 Performance West Motorsport Peter Rullo (WA) Lamborghini Gallardo 33 01:02:12.8796
DNF JAMEC PEM Racing M.Molina/T.Bates Audi R8LMS 27    45:31.3968
DNF MARC GT Morgan Haber (Qld) BMW AG M6 GT3  4    10:22.2019

Join the discussion below in the comments section

Please note: reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]