Morcom takes controversial Highlands opener
Nathan Morcom emerged as the provisional winner of the opening Australian GT race at Highlands Park after colliding with title rival Klark Quinn on the final lap.
The duo went head-to-head for the second half of the race after Morcom reeled in leader Quinn at a rapid rate, closing down a five second deficit after the mandatory pitstops.
Quinn was on course to take the win in the 60 minute race until Morcom tagged the rear of his McLaren at Turn 11, sending the Darrell Lea entry spinning into the gravel trap.
As a result, Morcom went on to take the chequered flag from the Scott Taylor Motorsport Mercedes driven by Craig Baird and Michael Almond, while the Greg Murphy/Tony Quinn Aston Martin was third.
The incident is to be investigated by the stewards. Morcom was involved in a similar clash at Hampton Downs two weeks ago which resulted in a 30 second penalty.
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Morcom refused to discuss the incident post-race while Quinn, who led the championship by 12 points from his rival prior to the race, believes his title chances are realistically over.
“It’s pretty tough to swallow really,” Quinn told Speedcafe.com.
“I knew he was a bit faster than me but you’ve got to get past cleanly.
“There was no overlap… the move just wasn’t on. It’s just sad. It’s gut wrenching.
“If I was going to lose the championship I didn’t want it to be that way.
“I thought we’d have a good fight to the end, but I think it’s pretty much done now.”
The #59 Tekno McLaren of Come Ledogar and Grant Denyer finished fourth having led the first half of the race prior to the mandatory pit stops.
On his Australian GT debut, Ledogar grabbed the lead from pole-sitter Chris Mies at the start which he held until he visited pitlane to hand over to Denyer, who rejoined in 11th spot.
The Supabarn Supermarkets Audi of Marcus Marshall/James Koundouris enjoyed a strong run to fifth ahead of the #73 Lamborghini of Jaxon Evans and Michael Hovey.
Meanwhile, a storming drive from the Nathan Antunes/Elliot Barbour McLaren saw the duo claim seventh after the form suffered a puncture on the second lap.
The Steven Richards/Max Twigg BMW came home in eighth ahead of the Garth Tander/Steven McLaughlan and Mies/Tony Bates Jamec Pem Audis, which held second and third early in the race.
The Walkinshaw Porsche had occupied a spot inside the top 10 before an issue saw it return to the pits to retire.
Championship contender Roger Lago fought his way through to 11th position after contact with the #8 Maranello Motorsport Ferrari of Cameron McConville and Adrian Deitz.
Provisional Result: Australian GT Championship Race 1