Murphy wins Porsche final, Gilrap takes round

Ronan Murphy. Image: InSyde Media

Ronan Murphy has taken his first Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia victory in the 40-lap finale at Symmons Plains, with round winner Marco Giltrap missing out on a clean sweep.

The son of four-time Bathurst winner Greg Murphy started fourth on the grid in his Sonic Racing entry and systematically worked his way through to the lead, which he held from the end of Lap 11 through to the finish.

He crossed the line four seconds clear of McElrea Racing’s Lachlan Bloxsom who had to hold off first time circuit racer, Grove Racing’s Oscar Targett over the concluding laps. However, Bloxsom was issued a five-second penalty for early contact on Sonic’s Harrison Goodman and relegated to sixth place.

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That elevated Targett to second with Tom McLennan able to pick up third after the McElrea pilot began the race out of 14th position. Race 1 and Race 2 two winner Marco Giltrap, racing for Team Porsche New Zealand/Earl Bamber Motorsport, finished fourth and took the round honours while TekworkX Motorsport’s Hamish Fitzsimmons next.

Meanwhile in Pro-Am Sam Shahin continued at the front and not only took his third class win but also finished inside the top ten, ahead of several Pros, in eighth behind Caleb Sumich and ahead of the recovering Goodman, and Tom Taplin.

Despite a couple of offs at turn six, Aron Shields was 11th and ahead of Brett Boulton who was second in Pro-Am. Next was Giltrap’s teammate Zac Stichbury. The Kiwi was second behind Giltrap in the early part of the race before he slipped to third and then lost further places after a touch with Bloxsom.

Not long after he another incident at turn four, this time with Marcos Flack which forced the latter to pit to address damage. Stichbury was handed a drive-through pitlane penalty which dropped him to 17th. Flack was able to return and finished 18th, one lap down.

Andrew Goldie was third in Pro-Am and finished in front of the Class B winner Brad Carr, Pro-Am’s David Greig and Richard Cowen.

Giltrap took the Pro and overall points ahead of Murphy, Targett, Stichbury and Goodman. Shahin won Pro-Am from Boulton and Goldie, and Carr scored Class B ahead of Phil Morriss.

Round 4 of the 2023 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia will take place at Sydney Motorsport Park as a support round for Supercars’ Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight on July 28-30.

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