Giltrap snares second Porsche pole

Marco Giltrap. Image: InSyde Media

Round 1 winner Marco Giltrap has kicked off the second round of the 2023 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia by scoring pole position at Symmons Plains, Tasmania, where the top four was split by less than eight tenths of a second.

The Team Porsche New Zealand/Earl Bamber Motorsport pilot snared the top spot with a 52.2810 lap, a bare 0.046s faster than Team Navy’s Lachlan Bloxsom who’d set the pace in practice.

“It was pretty surprising given where we came from in practice. We struggled quite a bit but we moved on from there and we improved,” said Giltrap.

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“It takes a while for the tyres to come in. Ultimately we got that time, then we changed tyres and couldn’t go any quicker. My time was set earlier in the session and it was enough to clinch pole.

A scant 0.009s away was Sonic Team Racing’s Marcos Flack (52.3364) ahead of teammate Ronan Murphy, the son of four-time Bathurst winner Greg. The young Murphy’s 56.3602 meant that a mere 0.0792s covered the top four.

Next was Giltrap’s Kiwi countryman Zac Stichbury who eclipsed TekworkX’s Aron Shields.

Behind the six Pro class drivers, Sam Shahin scored the Pro-Am pole position, seventh fastest overall and less than four tenths of a second off Giltrap’s pole time with a 52.6417.

“I started having some dreams after finishing second in practice one, but it was back to reality in qualifying,” Shahin said.

“I’m really happy. I’ve not driven this car since Phillip Island and it’s a real handful; it’s very different to the 992 [that Shahin races in Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia]. There are only a couple of corners you need to absolutely nail and it’s a technical little circuit.

Shahin was quicker than Pro drivers Grove Racing’s young gun Oscar Targett, Sonic’s Harrison Goodman, Tom McLennan (McElrea Racing), Hamish Fitzsimmons (TekworkX) and Caleb Sumich (McElrea).

In 13th position, Brad Carr was the fastest of the Class B, for older Porsches, even outpacing the rest of the Pro-Ams, second of which Brett Boulton. Third in the latter class was Richard Cowen ahead of Pro driver Tom Taplin.

Pro-Am entries follow with Matt Slavin, Andrew Goldie, David Greig, Eric Constantinidis, Ross McGregor and Tim Wolfe with Class B’s Phil Morriss who rounded out the 23-car field.

Round 2 continues on Saturday as a support category to the NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint.

The Porsches will feature twice with Race 1 at 11:40 local time/AEST, Race 2 at 14:40 before the third and final race on Sunday at 11:50.

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