Walls wins red-flagged Porsche Carrera Cup opener

Walls lead from the start of what turned out to be only a three-lap race. Image: Ross Gibb Photography.

Jackson Walls has won Race 1 of the 2023 Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

Walls won from third on the grid at Albert Park in the season opening race – the first of three races at the event – ahead of Callum Hedge and Max Vidau, after the race was not restarted following a heavy crash on Lap 3.

Earlier, a red-flagged interrupted qualifying session saw Matty Belford’s entry impact hard into the fence, rolling at the last corner, ending Fallon’s weekend. The red flag saw many front runners in the 28-car field unable to have complete their fastest lap.

Hedge started the race from Pole Position, his 1:48.0219 quali lap 0.28s better than Vidau with Walls starting third. Dylan O’Keefe started fourth, with Nick McBride fifth. Dale Wood started ninth, while 2004 Champion Alex Davison – making a return to the series after a run at the Gold Coast event last October – started 11th. 

Five Carrera Cup debutants qualified strongly, while Adrian Flack started on the Pro-Am pole.

Walls won the start to lead into Turn 1, ahead of Hedge and slow-starting Vidau, while McBride jumped O’Keefe into fourth.

At the end of Lap 1, Walls lead by 0.59s from Hedge, before Rodney Jane suffered two spins in quick succession, the first between exiting Turn 2 before the Bob Jane T-Marts arrived at Turn 3 to see Courtney Prince spin into Chris Pither’s Porsche, Jane spinning in sympathy.

All three managed to get going again, albeit Pither’s Coca-Cola Porsche shedding the carcass of its Michelin tyre as it limped back to the pits.

Yet it was a dramatic high-speed crash between Indiran Padayachee and Danny Stutterd on the same lap that bought out the Safety Car on Lap 3 which saw the race was red flagged.

Both Padayachee and Stutterd’s Porsches suffered heavy damage, yet both drivers were able to walk away from the significant Turn 9 incident.

As the field awaited a restart, Walls lead the field ahead of Hedge, Vidau, McBride, O’Keefe, Thomas Maxwell, Wood, Bayley Hall, Garnet Patterson and Christian Pancione.

Sam Shahin lead the Pro-Am class from 14th, with Pro-Am pole-sitter Adrian Flack dropping to fourth in class and 20th overall.

This turned out to be the finishing order as the race was not restarted, with confirmation yet to be received on whether it will be declared as a points-scoring race and an official win for Walls.

Despite only two green-flag laps, Vidau set a new Albert Park lap record with a 1:44.4412 on Lap 2 of the race.

The Carrera Cup field returns to the track tomorrow at 18:25 AEDT for Race 2.

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