Tander/Shahin win chaotic GTWC Aus opener

The #777 Audi. Picture: Australian Racing Group

Garth Tander and Yasser Shahin have claimed victory in a chaotic opening race of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS season at Phillip Island.

The #777 The Bend Motorsport Park Audi virtually led all but the opening lap of the weekend’s first 60-minute affair, while Jamie Whincup brought Triple Eight’s Mercedes-AMG home in second spot, 14.8s in arrears, after Prince Jefri Ibrahim started in Car #888.

However, there was no shortage of drama, particularly in the first half of proceedings, and Chaz Mostert had to cut a swathe through the field to pinch third right at the end for himself and Tony Bates in the #24 Audi.

Bates had led the field away from pole position while Shahin and Stephen Grove, who started from the second row, were both able to get by Ibrahim by the time they arrived at Southern Loop for the first time, taking up second and third respectively.

Shahin put a move on Bates at the end of the first lap to grab the lead, while Brad Schumacher (#55 Audi) took advantage of the battle among those in front to nab fourth from Ibrahim.

Shahin had amassed an advantage of more than two seconds by the time he had completed Lap 2, but that would soon be wiped out due to a Safety Car which was called amid multiple incidents.

Michael Bailey had spun the #38 Aston Martin into the ditch on the inside of Stoner Corner, while Adrian Deitz had also stopped the #88 Maranello Motorsport Ferrari off to the side of the track with what was later advised to be an electrical fire.

Furthermore, Tony Quinn (#7 Aston Martin) and Gary Higgon (#124 Audi) had come to grief at Siberia, with vision of the aftermath suggesting but not proving that there was a run-in between the two.

Stephen Grove and Schumacher sat second and third at the time of the neutralisation, having passed Bates just before the yellows were unfurled, before a restart came on Lap 9.

Shahin skipped away again, but there was more drama behind as several of the front-runners peeled off to take their respective pit stops at the end of Lap 10.

Stephen Grove stopped on the pit entry road due to what he later reported was an issue with the #4 Porsche’s speed limiter, blocking the path for those who had followed him off the track, namely Bates and Ibrahim.

All lost significant time, and there was also contact between #24 and #888 when Ibrahim was first to drive around the jam.

Shahin waited until Lap 12 to pit and Tander joined the race track with a comfortable advantage, in effective terms, over the rest.

When the cycle completed three laps later, Tander still had more than 11 seconds up his sleeve, Matt Stoupas (#23 Audi) was second, Schumacher sat third, Whincup ran fourth, and Mostert was buried in 14th.

Whincup got Schumacher through Lukey Heights on Lap 17, in the 39th minute, and needed only three more laps to overturn the two-second deficit to Stoupas.

However, Tander was still more than 19 seconds up the road at that point and, but for something else remarkable, that was the end of the story as far as the first and second placings were concerned.

The weather did threaten something else remarkable as light, patchy rain began to fall over Phillip Island, but that did not stop Mostert from charging up the order.

He started the 31st and final lap in fifth but made up two positions to nab a well-earned podium.

Schumacher ended up fourth, first of the Trophy class runners, and Stoupas fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Stephen Grove/Brenton Grove, Brett Hobson (#96 Nissan), Quinn, Nick Kelly (#99 Audi), and Greg Taylor (#5 Audi).

Wayne Mack was running 11th when he crashed the #47 Ferrari into the pit wall exiting the final corner, consigning him to a DNF.

That meant Andrew Macpherson/Ben Porter inherited 14th in the #51 Lamborghini despite the latter having a lurid spin at Southern Loop in the closing stages due to a contact-induced tyre failure.

Race 2 takes place tomorrow, the final day of Round 1 of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships, at 11:50 local time/AEDT.

Results: Race 1 Updated*

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver(s) Car Cls Laps Race time
1 777 The Bend Motorsport Park Y.Shahin/G.Tander Audi R8 LMS Evo PRA 31 59:36.6408
2 888 Triple Eight Race Engineering J.Ibrahim/J.Whincup Mercedes AMG GT3 PRA 31 59:51.4557
3 24 Bostik Racing – AFS Logistics T.Bates/C.Mostert Audi R8 LMS Evo PRA 31 1:00:10.4577
4 23 KFC Matt Stoupas Audi R8 LMS GT3 31 1:00:13.4621
5 55 Schumacher M’Sport /Kelso Elec Brad Schumacher Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT3 31 1:00:21.2434
6 4 Grove Group /Dasher Fisher Gin S.Grove/B.Grove Porsche GT3-R 911-II PRA 31 1:00:43.6676
7 96 Hobson Motorsport Brett Hobson Nissan Nismo GT3 GT3 31 1:00:53.7028
8 7 Local Legends Tony Quinn Aston Martin Vantage AM 31 1:01:07.6471
9 99 Industrie Nick Kelly Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT3 31 1:01:08.3918
10 5 Arris Property Developments Greg Taylor Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT3 31 1:01:16.8768
12 33 Perfect Auto Body Vince Muriti Audi R8 LMS GT3 30 59:59.6038
13 91 Canon Foods Arthur Abrahams Audi R8 LMS Evo AM 30 59:59.9965
14 71 Dale Paterson Motorsports Dale Paterson Camaro Reiter GT3 GT3 30 1:00:12.1869
15 51 Imak Kwikmit A.MacPherson/B.Porter Lamborghini Huracan AM 29 1:00:03.3778
16 77 Forum V.Tesoriero/B.Papadimitriou Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT3 29 1:01:20.4512
DNF 47 Mack Bros Roofing Products Wayne Mack Ferrari 458 GT3 GT3 30 59:34.1041
DNF 124 KFC Gary Higgon Audi R8 LMS GT3 2 6:46.9113
DNF 38 Trading Garage / The Motorists Michael Bailey Aston Martin Vantage GT3 2 6:51.4273
DNF 88 Maranello Motorsport Adrian Deitz Ferrari 488 GT3 AM 1 5:17.3039

Championship class(es): PRA, AM
Trophy class(es): GT3

* Car #55 10sec penalty

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