Talbot, Grove split GTWC poles at The Mountain

Brenton Grove and Stephen Grove will start Race 2 on pole position. Picture: Jack Martin

Liam Talbot and Brenton Grove have each taken a pole position for Round 4 of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS at Mount Panorama.

Talbot, who is this weekend sharing the #65 Audi R8 LMS GT3 with Fraser Ross, clocked a 2:06.4514s to edge out Yasser Shahin by 0.7s in Qualifying 1.

A late effort from Grove put the #4 Porsche 911 GT3 R on top in Qualifying 2, the father-son combination eclipsing Talbot’s team-mate Ross late in the piece.

Peter Hackett was a late improver, climbing to second at the death to put the #888 Mercedes-AMG GT3 he’ll share with Jefri Ibrahim just 0.1819s adrift of Grove.

With inclement weather looming, all 15 cars ventured out on track to bank a lap in the opening minutes of Qualifying 1, which would set the grid for Race 1.

Liam Talbot in the #65 was the first driver to set a sub 2:10s lap, clocking a 2:08.5437s eight minutes into the session.

That was quickly bettered by Brett Hobson in his #96 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 on a 2:07.4871s, although some way from the quickest times achieved in Tuesday’s practice.

As the session hit the 12-minute mark, rain began to fall at the bottom of The Mountain.

Talbot, who had been quickest to the first and second sector, duly bowled a wide at Murray’s Corner as he slid on the rain.

With five minutes remaining it was Hobson from Talbot, Shahin, Theo Koundouris (#69 Audi), and Brad Schumacher (#55 Audi).

Despite the rain at the bottom of The Mountain, Stephen Grove in the #4 surged from 10th to fourth.

Grove was soon demoted to sixth as Ibrahim rose to fourth and Mark Rosser in his #17 Audi to fifth with three minutes remaining.

Hobson continued his charge, his seventh lap, a 2:07.2504s, edging his advantage out to three and a half tenths.

Still, Talbot continued to reset the pace, a 2:06.4514s taking Talbot to the top by 0.7990s.
Soon enough, Shahin split Talbot and Hobson.

At the close of play, it was Talbot on top overall and in Pro-Am followed by Shahin, leading Trophy competitor Hobson, Rosser, Grove, Ibrahim, top Am class competitor Koundouris, Schumacher, Marc Cini (#9 Audi), and Michael Bailey (#38 Aston Martin).

Having only minutes earlier been covered in cloud, the circuit was soon baked in sun as Qualifying 2 began, which would set the grid for Race 2.

Brenton Grove in the #4 set the pace initially on a 2:06.7059s while #888 driver Hackett slotted into second and Ross in the #65 to third.

Garth Walden, who is sharing the #45 Mercedes with Mike Sheargold, came within three tenths of Grove on his first flying lap, taking him to second.

Paul Stokell in the #124 Audi threatened the top order, a 2:06.5356s putting him three and a half tenths off Grove’s pace.

Walden improved his benchmark, although didn’t do enough to best Grove, coming within 0.1805s.

With six minutes remaining, Ross climbed to the top on a 2:05.3068s to put himself eight tenths clear of the field.

Stokell followed suit, slotting in behind Ross with a time just two tenths adrift of the lead.

Walden closed in on Ross’ time, coming within 0.0944s with five minutes to go.

As the session came to a close, Grove surged to the top with a 2:04.8162s to go 0.4906s clear of Ross.

Hackett improved too, rising to second with a 0.3350s to split them at the death.

At the end of Qualifying 2, it was Grove from Hackett, Ross, Stokell, Walden, Roberto Merhi (#17 Audi), Theo Koundouris (#69 Audi), Ben Porter (#51 Porsche), Hobson, and Schumacher.

Race 1 of the weekend, a 60-minute affair, gets underway on Thursday at 12:25 local time/AEDT.

Results: Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS, Qualifying 1

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver(s) Car Sess Cls Fastest Lap
1 65 Coin Spot Liam Talbot Audi R8 LMS Evo Q1 Pro/Am 2:06.4514
2 777 The Bend Motorsport Park / Valvoline Yasser Shahin Audi R8 LMS Evo Q1 Pro/Am 2:07.2148
11 96 Hobson Motorsport Brett Hobson Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 Q1 Trophy 2:07.2504
3 17 What do you Meme? Mark Rosser Audi R8 LMS Evo Q1 Pro/Am 2:08.6051
4 4 Grove Group / Dasher + Fisher Stephen Grove Porsche 911 GT3-R Q1 Pro/Am 2:08.8904
5 888 Triple Eight Race Engineering Jefri Ibrahim Mercedes-AMG GT3 Q1 Pro/Am 2:08.8964
6 69 Supabarn James Koundouris Audi R8 LMS Evo Q1 Am 2:09.4351
12 55 Schumacher Motorsport / Kelso Electrical Brad Schumacher Audi R8 LMS Evo Q1 Trophy 2:10.2114
7 9 Hallmarc Marc Cini Audi R8 LMS Evo Q1 Am 2:11.0614
13 38 Trading Garage / The Motorists Michael Bailey Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Q1 Trophy 2:12.1090
8 51 Imak Kwikmit Andrew Macpherson Porsche 911 GT3 R Q1 Am 2:12.3825
9 45 RAM Motorsport / GWR Australia Mike Sheargold Mercedes-AMG GT3 Q1 Am 2:13.7540
10 124 K.F.C. Gary Higgon Audi R8 LMS Evo Q1 Am 2:13.9378
14 222 Scott Taylor Motorsport Scott Taylor Porsche 911 GT3 R Q1 Trophy 2:17.1906
15 19 Daimler Trucks Brisbane Mark Griffith Mercedes-AMG GT4 Q1 GT4 2:19.9401

Results: Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS, Qualifying 2

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver(s) Car Sess Cls Fastest Lap
1 4 Grove Group / Dasher + Fisher Brenton Grove Porsche GT3-R 911-II Q2 Pro/Am 2:04.8162
2 888 Triple Eight Race Engineering Peter Hackett Mercedes AMG GT3 Q2 Pro/Am 2:04.9981
3 65 Coin Spot Fraser Ross Audi R8 LMS Evo Q2 Pro/Am 2:05.3068
4 124 K.F.C. P.Stokell Audi R8 LMS Evo Q2 Am 2:05.4002
5 45 RAM Motorsport / GWR Australia G.Walden Mercedes AMG GT3 Q2 Am 2:05.4012
6 17 What do you Meme? R.Merhi Audi R8 LMS Evo Q2 Pro/Am 2:06.2706
7 69 Supabarn Theo Koundouris Audi R8 LMS Evo Q2 Am 2:06.5849
8 51 Imak Kwikmit B.Porter Porsche 911 GT3-R Q2 Am 2:06.6510
9 96 Hobson Motorsport Brett Hobson Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 Q2 Trophy 2:07.1502
10 55 Schumacher Motorsport / Kelso Electrical Brad Schumacher Audi R8 LMS Ultra Q2 Trophy 2:07.2422
11 38 Trading Garage / The Motorists Michael Bailey Bentley GT3 Q2 Trophy 2:09.1622
12 9 Hallmarc Marc Cini Audi R8 LMS Evo Q2 Am 2:10.2998
13 222 Scott Taylor Motorsport Scott Taylor Porsche 911 GT3-R Q2 Trophy 2:17.7963
14 19 Daimler Trucks Brisbane Mark Griffith Mercedes GT4 Q2 GT4 2:18.8474

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