Triple Eight tops GTWC practice at Bathurst

The Triple Eight Race Engineering #888 Mercedes-AMG. Picture: Jack Martin

Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Peter Hackett and Jefri Ibrahim have ended the opening day of practice at Mount Panorama quickest in Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS.

Practice 1 was hit by two red flag interruptions, the first for Paul Stokell who crashed the #124 Audi R8 LMS Evo at Reid Park.

Melbourne Performance Centre would get that car repaired, with co-driver Gary Higgon having a short three-lap run late in Practice 2.

Michael Bailey was responsible for bringing out the second red flag of the day when he too crashed at Reid Park.

It’s expected Bailey will swap his Bentley Continental GT3 for his back-up Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

Hackett, who is substituting for Shane van Gisbergen, set the fastest time of the day overall and in Pro-Am in Practice 2 behind the wheel of the #888 Mercedes-AMG GT3, clocking a 2:06.4744s.

The lion’s share of the quickest times across the board were set in the second session at The Mountain.

Father-son duo Stephen Grove and Brenton Grove were second fastest at the day’s end. Brenton’s best lap, a 2:06.7587s, put the #4 Porsche 911 GT3 R just 0.2843s off the quickest lap.

Fraser Ross put the #65 Audi R8 LMS Evo that he’ll share with Liam Talbot third fastest overall. At the close of play, a 2:07.0515s, put them half a second off the pace.

Yasser Shahin ended the day fourth fastest overall in the #777 Audi, just under a second away from the top time.

Shahin was without star factory Audi driver Christopher Mies who was sidelined after COVID-19 restrictions were reintroduced, putting the German into a 72-hour quarantine.

Mike Sheargold and Garth Walden topped the Am division, putting their #45 Mercedes in the mix with some of the Pro-Am competitors on a 2:07.4324s.

There was little to split the leading cars with James Koundouris and Theo Koundouris in their #69 Audi just 0.0651 away from Sheargold and Walden.

Similarly, Brett Hobson edged out Brad Schumacher, just 0.1167s separating the class leading Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 from the Audi R8 LMS Ultra.

Mark Griffith, the sole GT4 entry, topped his class.

The series hits Mount Panorama again on Wednesday with back-to-back 20-minute qualifying sessions, the first of which begins at 11:10 local time/AEDT.

Results: Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS (Combined Practice)

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver(s) Car Sess Cls Fastest lap
1 888 Triple Eight Race Engineering Jefri Ibrahim/Peter Hackett Mercedes-AMG GT3 P2 Pro/Am 2:06.4744
2 4 Grove Group / Dasher + Fisher Stephen Grove/Brenton Grove Porsche 911 GT3 R P2 Pro/Am 2:06.7587
3 65 Coin Spot Liam Talbot/Frase Ross Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo P2 Pro/Am 2:07.0515
4 45 RAM Motorsport / GWR Australia Mike Sheargold/Garth Walden Mercedes-AMG GT3 P2 Am 2:07.4324
5 777 The Bend Motorsport Park / Valvoline Yasser Shahin Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo P2 Pro/Am 2:07.4411
6 69 Supabarn James Koundouris/Theo Koundouris Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo P2 Am 2:07.4975
7 96 Hobson Motorsport Brett Hobson Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 P2 Trophy 2:07.8033
8 55 Schumacher Motorsport / Kelso Electrical Brad Schumacher Audi R8 LMS GT3 Ultra P2 Trophy 2:07.9200
9 17 What do you Meme? Mark Rosser Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo P2 Pro/Am 2:08.9679
10 51 Imak Kwikmit Andrew Macpherson/Ben Porter Porsche 911 GT3 R P2 Am 2:09.3426
11 9 Hallmarc Marc Cini Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo P2 Am 2:10.0988
12 124 K.F.C. Gary Higgon/Paul Stokell Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo P1 Trophy 2:10.2410
13 38 Trading Garage / The Motorists Michael Bailey Bentley Continental GT3 P1 Trophy 2:12.0832
14 222 Scott Taylor Motorsport Scott Taylor Porsche 911 GT3 R P2 Trophy 2:16.7591
15 19 Daimler Trucks Brisbane Mark Griffith P2 GT4 2:19.6155

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