NATIONALS: McLaren takes Australian GT pole

Fraser Ross and Ryan Simpson will start from pole position in Australian GT

Australian GT Endurance Championship

McLaren’s Fraser Ross and Ryan Simpson (#59 59 Racing/HSY/Opti-Coat) will start Sunday’s 500-kilometre Australian Endurance Championship race at Phillip Island from pole position.

Qualifying for Sunday’s race was determined using the average time from two 20 minute qualifying sessions.

Simpson laid down a blistering time of 1:26.9737 in Q2 to go eight-tenths faster than the rest of the field.

Alongside Ross’ time of a 1:27.1162 set in Q1, the duo’s effort was enough to take pole position for the opening round of the endurance series.

Mercedes-AMG drivers Peter Hackett and Dom Storey (#63 Eggleston Motorsport) will join the McLaren pairing on the front row of the grid, while Audi’s Geoff Emery and Garth Tander (#1 Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia) will start from third.

Despite seven-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup recording the fastest time in Q1, he and co-driver Yasser Shanin (#777 The Bend Motorsport Park, Mercedes) will start the race from fourth position.

Earlier in the day, Whincup broke the Australian GT lap record, recording a 1:26.3914 to go seven-tenths faster than the rest of the field.

The 500km race will kick off at 0945 AEST.

CAMS Payce Formula 4 Australia Championship

Ryan Suhle claimed two wins in the CAMS Payce Formula 4 Australia Championship, coming home in strong style in the final reverse grid race of the afternoon.

The Team BRM driver, who started second alongside pole-sitter Harry Hayek, lunged for the lead on lap three into opening corner, keeping Hayek at arm’s length for the following laps.

However, Hayek would have a race to forget, receiving a hit from behind by AGI Sport’s Antonio Astuti on lap eight.

The contact was enough to dismantle the BRM driver’s rear wing, leaving Hayek a lap down as he crossed the line.

Championship leader Luis Leeds came from the rear end of the grid to come home second while his team-mate Astuti secured his second podium finish of the day.

Leeds claimed his fifth win for the season in dominant fashion, beating rival BRM driver Hughes and Astuti by 2.165s in Race 4 of the weekend at Phillip Island.

The Safety Car was required to relive Christian Mansell’s AGI Sport car which broke down early on at MG Corner.

Mansell was the only non-finisher of Race 4 while Emerson Harvey (#76 Shannons/Focus on Furniture) received a five-second penalty for failing to position his car correctly on the Safety Car restart.

Suhle’s first race win of the day was a photo-finish result during Race 3, overcoming AGI Sport rival Leeds by the length of a front-wing to win by exactly 0.0059s.

Suhle out-dragged Leeds from the front row of the grid, holding station for the whole race.

Astuti claimed the final podium place in Race 3 after a good recovery for the AGI Sport driver having been disqualified from Race 1 on Friday due to driving with an underweight car.

Third position on the grid for the race was empty with occupant Hughes failing to exit his BRM garage in time to join the race.

Despite Hughes’ DNS in Race 3, he won the opening race of the day and his first for the season, fending off Leeds who suffered an early spin in the cold morning track conditions.

Leeds’ team-mate Mansell was handed a five-second penalty for jumping the start from pole position, in what was a reverse grid race.

Meanwhile, there was plenty of action in the mid pack as Jackson Walls (#11 Objective Racing) suffered rear wing damage in a coming together with Suhle at Southern Loop.

Leeds starts on pole for the final race of the weekend at Phillip Island with the drivers setting off on Sunday at 1510 AEST.

Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia

Sonic Motor Racing’s Aaron Love took a dramatic debut win the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia in an incident-filled Jim Richards Endurance Trophy race at Phillip Island.

The Western Australian driver sat in third position for the majority of the race, patiently waiting as team-mate Vidau and Harri Jones (#12 Heli Mods) fought for the lead of the race.

Love’s chance would come when Vidau fell down the order on lap 11, losing control of his Porsche 911 GT3 at the Honda hairpin after being caught out by lapped traffic while challenging Jones for the lead.

Love started to launch his attack on Jones, slowly closing in on the Queenslander to take the lead into the final corner with nine laps to go.

Meanwhile, Vidau recovered well with a damaged rear bumper to lock down the final podium placing.

Christian Pancione (#76 VCM Performance) and Ryan Suhle (#7 Ryan Suhle Racing) rounded out the top five positions.

The Safety Car was required two times throughout the race as Marty Ewer (#93 Dr Marty Ewer) and Nathan Murray (#5 Garage 1) failed to finish with damage to their respective cars.

Earlier in the day, Vidau took a dominant victory to record his fifth win of the season in Race 1 of the weekend.

The South Australian led a strong race from the front with the heat finishing under time certain conditions after the Safety Car was deployed on the opening lap.

Sam Shahin (#13 The Bend/HTFU) hit Brett Boulton (#84 Bold Living) at the Souther Loop, the latter came to a rest on the circuit with left-rear tyre damage at the Honda hairpin.

Love, Jones and Vidau are tied on the round leaderboard on 108 points as they vie for top honours in the final race of the weekend.

Race 3 commences on Sunday at 0910 AEST

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