Gaunt/Bates Audi wins crazy Phillip Island 101

The victorious Audi R8 LMS driven by Daniel Gaunt and Tony Bates

Daniel Gaunt and Tony Bates have combined to win a Phillip Island 101 which saw two race suspensions and a leader crashing while around a lap up on the field.

Walkinshaw GT3 had an iron grip on Round 2 of the Australian Endurance Championship as the encounter moved into the final half-hour before an off for John Martin caused terminal race-ending damage for the #911 Porsche 911 GT3 R.

It looked like a similar, one-lap margin had fallen to Peter Hackett and Jake Fouracre in the #63 Mercedes-AMG GT3 but Eggleston Motorsport owner Ben Eggleston admitted that they had to serve another compulsory pit stop.

That handed Gaunt, in Bates’ #24 KFC Audi R8 LMS, a two-second lead over Steven Richards and he gradually pulled away in the eight laps which were notched up before time-certainty took effect.

Walkinshaw GT3’s Martin and Liam Talbot had dominated the race right from the start, the former driving away to an advantage of over 36 seconds when he pitted at the end of Lap 17.

Misfortune for nearest rivals Shane van Gisbergen/Duvashen Padayachee in the #58 YNA Autosport McLaren 650S gave the #911 Porsche a 40-second lead by the time Talbot finished his first stint on Lap 44.

Their day got even better when Rio Nugara drew the first Safety Car on Lap 46, and soon a race suspension, having made heavy contact with the embankment off Lukey Heights in Mark Griffith’s #55 Hog’s Breath Ginetta G55.

Car #911 sat eighth and a lap off the pace at the time, but the rest of the field was precluded from taking second compulsory pit stops due to the Safety Car.

After a stoppage of more than half an hour to fix the tyre wall, the race lasted only another three laps until Vince Tesoriero lost control of the #48 M-Motorsport KTM X-Bow at Doohan Corner and slid into a tyre wall.

Seconds later, fellow GT4 competitor Jeremy Gray slid off in the #67 JMG Aston Martin Vantage and clattered into the X-Bow.

That drew a second stoppage to repair the barrier on the outside of Southern Loop, which took nearly 45 minutes, followed by a restart on Lap 58.

By then, it was obvious that the race would not make its scheduled 101-lap distance.

The first restart prompted most into pit lane for their respective second compulsory pit stops, and a similar pattern played out in the laps following the second restart.

Talbot had regained the lead at the end of Lap 58 and handed over to Martin for the run home two laps later.

Car #911 was effectively around a lap clear of the rest, subject to how other final pit stops would play out, but disaster struck two laps later when Martin slid off at Doohan Corner, ripping bodywork from the Porsche and damaging its radiator.

Martin pulled off the circuit at the Turn 4 run-off and a Safety Car was called shortly after for his debris.

At that time, Fouracre led by a lap from Gaunt, Richards, Tony D’Alberto, Jonny Reid, Jaxon Evans, Luke Youlden, Craig Baird, Warren Luff, Garth Tander, and Cameron McConville, while van Gisbergen followed a further three laps down.

However, Fouracre still had another CPS and a drive-through penalty for a restart infringement to come, and Car #24 took over the lead after 70 laps.

Gaunt stretched the lead and eventually took the chequered flag 4.16s clear of Richards after 78 remarkable laps.

Richards’ #100 Team SRM BMW M6 had started second in the hands of Michael Almond and despite dropping some ground in the first CPS cycle they remained thereabouts all afternoon.

AEC Round 1 winners D’Alberto and Max Twigg rounded out the podium in the #8 WM Waste Management Mercedes-AMG GT3, ahead of Reid and Andrew Fawcett in the #10 International Motorsport Audi R8 LMS.

A typically strong-finishing Tander hauled the #1 Jamec Pem Audi R8 LMS which he shared with Geoff Emery to fifth by the chequered flag.

The result was something of a surprise given they had been trapped on the circuit before taking pit stops by each of the first two stoppages.

Emery’s stop to hand over to Tander did not, in fact, count towards their three required stops as he had to do so under Safety Car in order to prevent a breach of maximum driving time.

Evans, whose co-driver Fraser Ross ran as high as second on merit in the middle stint, brought the #59 Total McLaren 650S home in sixth, from Baird/Scott Taylor (#222 Scott Taylor Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3).

The #6 Wall Racing Lamborghini Huracan of McConville and Adrian Deitz was spinning off the road on the first lap, at which time its rear end was swiped by Quinn, but they finished eighth.

Luke Youlden had a wild rotation at Doohan Corner on Lap 3 and Yasser Shahin brought the #777 The Bend Mercedes-AMG GT3 in for an unscheduled pit stop due to a suspected tyre vibration while running a genuine third, before the former took the chequered flag in ninth.

Warren Luff and Tony Walls rounded out the top 10 in the #11 Objective McLaren 650S, while last on the lead lap in 11th were Fouracre/Hackett.

Shane van Gisbergen and Duvashen Padayachee finished three laps down in 12th after a bizarre problem on Lap 34.

Padayachee had started last due to an oil drive problem which sidelined the #58 YNA Autosport McLaren 650S from qualifying but drove into the top 10 on merit before emerging second after the first CPS cycle.

However, he and Ash Samadi made side-to-side contact at MG as he attempted to lap the #3 ASR Audi R8 LMS.

The impact physically broke the McLaren’s steering wheel and damaged a toe link on the Audi.

Van Gisbergen hopped into the car two laps down before soon dropping another after McElrea Racing, which prepares the car, borrowed the steering wheel from Quinn’s already retired McLaren.

The sole MARC Car of Adam Hargraves/Daniel Jilesen finished 13th outright with 75 laps amassed, while GT4 honours went to the Strom BMW GT4 entry of Daren Jorgensen/Brett Strom (14th outright).

The Australian GT Championship continues in sprint mode at the Red Rooster Sydney SuperSprint on August 3-4, while the AEC will be decided at Hampton Downs on October 13-14.

Update: Car #777 issued post-race penalty for yellow flag infringement.

Race results: Phillip Island 101

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Drivers Car Class Laps Race time
1 24 KFC/Ctech Laser/Moveitnet/B&B T.Bates
Audi R8 LMS CH 78 3:27:31.7308
2 100 BMW Team SRM S.Richards
BMW M6 GT3 CH 78 3:27:35.8932
3 8 WM Waste Management M.Twigg
Mercedes-AMG GT3 CH 78 3:27:36.7901
4 10 Bute Line Plumbing A.Fawcett
Audi R8 LMS CH 78 3:27:38.3123
5 1 Valvoline G.Emery
Audi R8 LMS CH 78 3:27:38.4694
6 59 Total Oil / Opti-Coat F.Ross
McLaren 650S GT3 CH 78 3:27:39.9166
7 222 Scott Taylor Motorsport S.Taylor
Mercedes-AMG GT3 CH 78 3:27:41.2421
8 6 Wall Racing A.Deitz
Lamborghini Huracan CH 78 3:27:41.3343
9 11 Objective Racing T.Walls
McLaren 650S GT3 CH 78 3:27:49.1817
10 777 The Bend Motor Sport Park Y.Shahin
Mercedes-AMG GT3 CH 78 3:28:19.9238
11 63 Eggleston Motorsport P.Hackett
Mercedes-AMG GT3 CH 78 3:28:20.4213
12 58 YNA Autosport D.Padayachee
S.van Gisbergen
McLaren 650S GT3 CH 75 3:27:49.3205
13 20 LOCAL Search by MARC Cars A.Hargraves
MARC Mazda 3 V8 M 75 3:28:47.0328
14 13 RHC Jorgensen – Strom by MARC D.Jorgensen
BMW M4 GT4 GT4 73 3:27:45.7060
15 50 Vantage Freight / M Motorsport D.Crampton
Reiter KTM X-Bow GT4 73 3:27:45.9640
16 3 Ah Apartments A.Samadi
Audi R8 LMS CH 73 3:27:55.8880
DNF 911 Walkinshaw GT3 L.Talbot
Porsche 911 GT3-R CH 61 2:57:21.6997
DNF 48 Forum Group / M Motorsport V.Tesoriero
Reiter KTM X-Bow GT4 48 1:51:33.6883
DNF 67 JMG / Bilstein J.Gray
Aston Martin Vantage GT4 47 1:51:39.6443
DNF 55 Hogs Breath Café / Griffith Co Rio Nugara Ginetta G55 GT4 GT4 39 1:10:08.5010
DNF 7 Game Over Tony Quinn Mclaren 650S GT3 CH 7 25:59.9956

Standings: Australian GT Championship

Pos Driver Pts
1 Tony Bates 712
2 Fraser Ross 687
3 Steve Richards 681
4 Geoff Emery 646
5 Tony D’Alberto 640
Max Twigg 640
6 Peter Hackett 626
7 Daniel Gaunt 578
8 Liam Talbot 578
9 Michael Almond 515
10 Scott Taylor 499
11 Craig Baird 428
12 John Martin 417
13 Jaie Robson 408
14 Garth Tander 329
15 Jake Fouracre 328
16 Duvashen Padayachee 316
17 Tony Walls 308
Warren Luff 308
18 Adrian Deitz 304
Cameron McConville 304
19 Ash Samadi 286
20 Tony Quinn 279
21 Dylan O’Keeffe 266
22 Yasser Shahin 249
Luke Youlden 249
23 Shane van Gisbergen 249
24 Jim Manolios 243
25 Jonny Reid 196
26 Jaxon Evans 185
27 Dean Canto 161
28 Marcel Fassler 135
Dominic Storey 135
29 David Reynolds 114
30 Mark Griffith 112
31 Ricky Capo 102
32 Marc Cini 94
33 Giancarlo Fisichella 87
34 Peter Edwards 87
35 Glen Wood 80
Dean Koutsoumidis 80
36 Dean Grant 64

Standings: Australian Endurance Championship

Pos Driver Pts
1 Tony D’Alberto 551
Max Twigg 551
2 Steve Richards 515
Michael Almond 515
3 Tony Bates 509
Daniel Gaunt 509
4 Fraser Ross 381
5 Geoff Emery 329
Garth Tander 329
6 Peter Hackett 328
Jake Fouracre 328
7 Duvashen Padayachee 316
8 Tony Walls 308
Warren Luff 308
9 Adrian Deitz 304
Cameron McConville 304
10 Scott Taylor 302
Craig Baird 302
11 Liam Talbot 297
John Martin 297
12 Ash Samadi 266
Dylan O’Keeffe 266
13 Yasser Shahin 249
Luke Youlden 249
14 Shane van Gisbergen 249
15 Jonny Reid 196
16 Jaxon Evans 185
17 Tony Quinn 129
18 Jim Manolios 117
Dean Canto 117
19 Jaie Robson 114
David Reynolds 114

Standings: Australian GT4

Pos Driver Pts
1 Jeremy Gray 707
2 David Crampton 534
Trent Harrison 534
3 Justin McMillan 476
4 Glen Wood 336
5 Daren Jorgensen 315
Brett Strom 315
6 Andrew Miedecke 297
7 Xavier West 189
8 Mark Griffith 175
9 Victor Zagame 174
10 Coleby Cowham 135
Mark Caine 135
11 Vince Tresoriero 54
12 Harrison Jones 14
13 Rio Nugara 12

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