Denyer/Morcom win Phillip Island 101
Grant Denyer and Nathan Morcom produced a faultless drive to claim victory in the opening round of the Australian Endurance Championship at Phillip Island.
Starting from eighth on the grid, Morcom ran strongly inside the top 10 in the early laps before assuming the lead shortly before the first stop.
Morcom survived a flat right rear tyre at the end of his first stint in what proved to be a race plagued by tyre failures.
Denyer emerged in the lead prior to the halfway point which the McLaren held once Morcom returned for his final stint after the second stop on lap 72.
Cushioned by a 28 second lead, Morcom was able to cruise until the final laps when he faced a charging Shane van Gisbergen in the #37 Darrell Lea McLaren, who was just 0.27s shy at the flag.
A strong drive from van Gisbergen saw the Triple Eight V8 Supercars star claim second in the final laps with passes on Dominic Storey (Eggleston Motorsport Mercedes) and Daniel Gaunt (Aston Martin).
The Kiwi led the early laps of the race from pole before receiving the 650S from Klark Quinn in 10th position for the final stint.
Gaunt appeared set to claim second in the Aston Martin, he shared with Tony Quinn, before a late stop for fuel dropped him to fifth behind the Tony D’Alberto/Graeme Smyth Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 458.
The race ran without a Safety Car with the 101 laps completed in just two hours and 38 minutes.
Van Gisbergen made the most of his pole position as the McLaren headed DTM star Bruno Spengler’s BMW M6.
Factory DTM Ace Miguel Molina wasted little time in securing third spot as they chased the Darrell Lea McLaren.
The battle for the lead heated up in the early laps when Craig Baird in the Scott Taylor Motorsport Mercedes charged his way by Molina and Spengler to create a four car fight for the lead.
It proved to be a fascinating battle between the four manufacturers and the two DTM rivals in Spengler and Molina.
However, the fight was short-lived as van Gisbergen, Baird, Molina and fifth placed Storey elected to pit on lap 21, handing Spengler the lead from Morcom (McLaren).
Molina handed the #1 Audi to Tony Bates ahead of his rivals Baird and Klark Quinn, who took over the van Gisbergen car in 18th spot.
Meanwhile, Spengler hit traffic which allowed Morcom to close within 10 seconds of the BMW star before a flat right rear saw the latter pit and rejoin in eighth.
Moments later drama struck the leader Spengler when he suffered a right front puncture which forced him into the pits.
While Haber returned the BMW into 12th spot, Denyer emerged in the lead once the first stops were completed having taken over the #59 McLaren.
This came shortly after Graeme Smyth pitted the Maranello Motorsport Ferrari from the lead with a tyre failure.
The failure was one of 11 that struck during the race.
Bates in the #1 Audi, the #62 LDM Lamborghini of Alex Rullo, the SRM BMW driven by Max Twigg and the JBS Lamborghini of David Russell all suffered right rear punctures in the first half of the race.
By the halfway point, Denyer led by 19s from Peter Hackett in the Eggleston Mercedes, Klark Quinn in the Darrell Lea McLaren, the #80 Maranello Ferrari of Smyth and the Scott Taylor/Craig Baird Mercedes.
Garth Tander jumped in the #2 Jamec Pem Audi on lap 48 and began his charge into the top 10, storming up to second before his final stop.
Denyer led until lap 72 when he brought the McLaren in to the pits, with Morcom returning the car in a 28 second lead from Storey in the Eggleston Mercedes.
From there Morcom managed to control the race to take the win from van Gisbergen, Storey, D’Alberto and Gaunt.
After fighting for the lead early on, Baird and Taylor came home in sixth ahead of the #1 Audi of Molina and Bates despite their tyre failure.
The top 10 was completed by the #19 Ryal Harris/Mark Griffith Erebus Mercedes SLS, Peter Edwards and John Bowe’s Ferrari 488 GT3 and the Andrew/George Miedecke Aston Martin.
A right rear puncture in the final laps saw Tander bring the #2 Audi home in 11th, while the MARC GT BMW of Spengler and Haber finished in 13th spot.
The LDM Gallardo retired from the race after Nick Percat picked up a second right rear puncture shortly after the halfway mark.
David Russell/Roger Lago (Lamborghini), Yasser Shahin/Dean Canto (Lamborghini) and the GT Motorsport Audi of Greg Taylor and Marco Bonanomi completed the retirements from the race.
Result: Australian Endurance Championship, Phillip Island 101
|1||McLaren Melbourne||G.Denyer/N.Morcom||McLaren 650s GT3||101||02:38:25.4394|
|2||Darrell Lea||K.Quinn/S.Van Gisbergen||McLaren 650S GT3||101||02:38:25.7176|
|3||Eggleston Motorsport||D.Storey/P.Hackett||Mercedes AMG SLS-GT3||101||02:38:31.2219|
|4||Maranello Motorsport||T.D’Alberto/G.Smyth||Ferrari 458 GT3||101||02:39:21.3894|
|5||Darrell Lea||T.Quinn/D.Gaunt||Aston Martin Vantage||101||02:39:21.4865|
|6||Scott Taylor Motorsport||S.Taylor/C.Baird||Merceds Benz AMG GT||101||02:39:37.6496|
|7||JAMEC PEM Racing||M.Molina/T.Bates||Audi R8LMS||100||02:39:35.9482|
|8||Hogs Breath Cafe/Griffith Corp||M.Griffith/R.Harris||Mercedes AMG SLS-GT3||100||02:39:56.8040|
|9||Maranello Motorsport||P.Edwards/J.Bowe||Ferrari 488 GT3||100||02:39:57.1504|
|10||Miedecke Motor Group||A.Miedecke/G.Miedecke||Aston Martin Vantage||100||02:40:53.7730|
|11||JAMEC PEM Racing||S.McLaughlin/G.Tander||Audi R8 LMS||98||02:38:27.5290|
|12||Objective Racing||T.Walls/W.Luff||McLaren 6505 GT3||98||02:38:48.2626|
|13||MARC GT||M.Haber/B.Spengler||BMW AG M6 GT3||98||02:38:57.6490|
|14||Maranello Motorsport||L.Talbot/J.Fouracre||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||98||02:39:01.5170|
|15||AMAC Motorsport||A.McPherson/B.Shiels||Porsche 997 GT-R||98||02:39:14.3165|
|16||Interlloy M Motorsport||J.McMillan/G.Wood||Lamborghini R-EX||98||02:39:22.2242|
|17||Supabarn Supermarkets||J.Koundouris/M.Marshall||Audi R8 LMS||97||02:38:28.8742|
|18||SR Motorsport||M.Twigg/S.Richards||BMW M6 GT3||97||02:38:29.8413|
|19||MARC Cars Australia||J.Smith/N.Rowe||MARC Mazda V8||94||02:40:01.2116|
|20||Fastway Couriers||S.Ellingham/T.Miles||Audi R8 Ultra||92||02:38:48.5441|
|21||MARC Cars Australia||T.Alford/B.Lynton||MARC Mazda V8||92||02:39:44.3763|
|22||Maranello Motorsport||A.Deitz/C.McConville||Ferrari 458 GT3||89||02:38:28.3786|
|23||MARC Cars Australia||K.Kassulke/J.Camilleri||MARC Focus V8||89||02:38:49.2077|
|DNF||JBS Australia||R.Lago/D.Russell||Lamborghini R-EX||89||02:27:00.7739|
|DNF||The Bend Motorsport||Y.Shahin/D.Canto||Lamborghini Gallardo||75||02:10:20.9314|
|DNF||GT Motorsport||G.Taylor/M.Bonanomi||Audi R8 LMS||74||01:59:19.6270|
|DNF||Performance West Motorsport||A.Rullo/N.Percat||Lamborghini Gallardo||47||01:23:09.5532|