Mostert/Talbot win GT World Challenge opener at Phillip Island

The #65 Audi. Picture; Australian Racing Group

Chaz Mostert and Liam Talbot have converted a front row start into victory in Race 1 of Round 1 of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS at Phillip Island.

The #65 Coin Spot Audi R8 LMS effectively led for the bulk of the bulk of the 60-minute race and Mostert took the chequered flag 6.2679s up on factory Audi driver Christopher Mies, who was sharing Car #1 with 2021 champion Yasser Shahin.

Finishing a distant third was Shane van Gisbergen in the #888 Mercedes-AMG GT3, the Triple Eight Race Engineering driver just holding off David Reynolds (#24 Audi, Pro-Am) on the 34th and final lap.

Brenton Grove rounded out the top five in the #4 Grove Racing Porsche he drove with father Stephen, Brad Schumacher (#55 Audi) won the Trophy class in sixth outright, and Gary Higgon/Paul Stokell (#2 Audi) claimed Am honours in seventh outright.

There was drama for the eventual winners before the contest really got underway, with Talbot late away from the grid for the formation lap but ultimately back alongside pole-sitter Brett Hobson to take the start.

Hobson (#96 Nissan), a Trophy class competitor, led the field into Doohan Corner for the first time, from Talbot, Stephen Grove (Pro-Am) and Shahin.

The pole man quickly skipped to a margin of more than a full second, while Shahin slipstreamed past Grove at the start of Lap 3, at which point he was four seconds away from top spot.

Talbot grabbed the lead from Hobson as they began Lap 6, and Shahin was also past moments later and into second position, before a Safety Car was called in response to Eric Constantinidis spinning his Trophy/GTC class #11 Porsche Cup Car into the tyres on drivers’ right at the exit of MG.

Grove sat fourth at that point and Tony Bates (#24 Audi) fifth, while Ibrahim had risen from 12th on the grid to ninth in Car #888.

The restart came on Lap 9, in the 20th minute, with Bates losing touch with the top four due to the presence of the lapped GT4 #22 Ginetta of Madeline Stewart in the queue.

Ibrahim made a bold outside move on Vince Muriti in the Trophy class #33 Mercedes-AMG to take eighth position on Lap 10 at Doohan Corner, before Grove overtook Hobson for third.

Talbot was pushing on at the head of the field and had a margin of more than three seconds on Shahin, and more than six seconds on Grove, when they all pitted as soon as the window opened on Lap 12.

Bates and Ibrahim were among those to follow them into the lane, meaning Hobson was back in front until he took service on Lap 15.

When Schumacher stopped a lap later again, the mandatory pit stop cycle was done.

At that point, the #65 Audi was back in front, by then in the hands of Mostert, with Mies second at 4.4s off the lead, Brenton Grove third, Hobson 14.7s off the pace in fourth, and van Gisbergen another eight seconds behind in fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 at that point were Reynolds, despite Car #24 serving an extra five-second hold penalty during its stop, from Schumacher, Matt Stoupas (#23 Audi, Am), Tony D’Alberto (#6 Lamborghini, Pro-Am), and Muriti.

Brenton Grove dropped from third to fifth when he apparently got aero wash off a GT4 car and ran off at Southern Loop on Lap 18, with Hobson and van Gisbergen the beneficiaries.

Van Gisbergen was himself into third position when he drove down the inside of Hobson from Southern Loop into Stoner Corner on Lap 21, before a rising Reynolds picked off the #96 Nissan a lap later at MG.

Worse still for Hobson, he had been pinged for being half a second shy of his mandatory pit stop time, and was soon back into the lane to serve his penalty.

The gap between Mostert and Mies ebbed and flowed due to the influence of traffic, but the net effect was that they were still about four seconds apart as the race moved into its final 10 minutes.

The battle for the final step of the podium, on the other hand, was on as Reynolds closed up to the back of Car #888 on Lap 28.

Mostert stretched his gap over Mies to more than six seconds in the closing stages, but van Gisbergen and Reynolds were nose-to-tail at the Turn 4 Hairpin as they continued to thread their way through traffic on the final lap.

Still, van Gisbergen hung on to third spot, from Reynolds, Grove, and Schumacher.

Stokell bagged seventh outright having rounded up Stoupas in the other KFC Audi through the Hayshed on Lap 31, while Garth Walden took eighth in the Am class #45 Mercedes-AMG in which he partnered Mike Sheargold.

Stoupas and Hobson rounded out the outright top 10, with D’Alberto ending up 14th after a pit lane penalty for co-driver Adrian Deitz passing under Safety Car.

The second and final race of the weekend takes place tomorrow from 13:45 local time/AEDT, and will be part of Stan Sport’s live and ad-free coverage which begins at 11:00 AEDT.

Results: Race 1

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver(s) Car Cls Laps Race time
1 65 Coin Spot L.Talbot/C.Mostert Audi R8 LMS EVO GTP 34 1:00:47.6409
2 1 The Bend Motorsport Park Y.Shahin/C.Mies Audi R8 LMS Evo GTP 34 1:00:53.9088
3 888 Triple Eight Race Engineering J.Ibrahim/S.van Gisbergen Mercedes AMG GT3 GTP 34 1:01:16.5054
4 24 Bostik Racing – AFS Logistics T.Bates/D.Reynolds Audi R8 LMS EVO GTP 34 1:01:16.8800
5 4 Grove Group /Dasher Fisher Gin S.Grove/B.Grove Porsche GT3-R 911-II GTP 34 1:01:31.2703
6 55 Schumacher M’Sport /Kelso Elec Brad Schumacher Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT3 34 1:01:56.6819
7 2 K.F.C. G.Higgon/P.Stokell Audi R8 LMS EVO GTA 34 1:01:58.1539
8 45 RAM Motorsport / GWR Australia M.Sheargold/G.Walden Mercedes AMG GT3 GTA 34 1:02:07.4959
9 23 K.F.C. Matt Stoupas Audi R8 LMS EVO GTA 34 1:02:08.5388
10 96 Hobson Motorsport Brett Hobson Nissan Nismo GT3 GT3 33 1:01:03.6016
11 47 Supabarn J.Koundouris/T.Koundouris Audi R8 LMS EVO GTA 33 1:01:19.0162
12 33 Perfect Auto Body Vince Muriti Mercedes AMG GT3 GT3 33 1:01:25.3208
13 71 Equity-One Dean Koutsoumidis Porsche 997 GT3- GT3 33 1:01:33.6255
14 6 Wall Racing A.Deitz/T.D’Alberto Lamborghini Huracan GTP 33 1:01:42.1964
15 51 Imak Kwikmit A.MacPherson/B.Porter Lamborghini Huracan GTA 33 1:01:56.1594
16 38 Trading Garage / The Motorists Michael Bailey Bentley GT3 GT3 33 1:02:02.5510
17 34 Harrolds Racing R.Poulakis/S.Brabham Mercedes AMG GT4 GT4 31 1:01:02.6566
18 19 Daimler Trucks Brisbane Mark Griffith Mercedes GT4 GT4 31 1:01:11.7119
19 22 Grifcorp Madeline Stewart Ginetta GT4 30 1:01:16.4465
DNF 17 Mark Rosser Audi R8 LMS EVO GTA 32 59:47.0559
DNF 11 OUR KLOUD – Up to 11 M’Sport Eric Constantinidis Porsche 991 GT3 Cup GT3 4 10:25.8988

Classes: GTP Pro-Am, GTA Am, GT3 Trophy, GT4 GT4

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