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Murray dominates Round 3 of the Porsche Payce and Michelin Virtual Cup

Wednesday 3rd June, 2020 - 2:33pm

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  • Cooper Murray extends Virtual Championship lead in a dominant performance at Monza

Following two split-second photo finishes in Round 2 in Daytona, the close racing continued between the country’s best Porsche drivers in Monza for Round 3 of the Porsche PAYCE & Michelin Virtual Cup.

Championship leader, Cooper Murray claimed his sixth victory in a row, and by doing so, extends his Mobil Pro Championship lead to 72 points over Porsche Junior driver, Jaxon Evans in second.

As in Daytona, the slipstreaming effect among the field’s front runners in the Mobil Pro class was again a factor in the lead changes on the long straights and sweeping turns which characterize the famous Grand Prix Circuit at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

Murray signalled his intentions early, topping the practice timesheets, 0.3 seconds clear of young go-karter, Matthew Payne and Porsche factory driver Matt Campbell. The Phase 8 McElrea Racing driver would start Race 1 in second behind young, Formula Ford star Cody Burcher.

The field’s usual suspects in Payne and Campbell rounded out the top four positions respectively, with the quartet promising to resume the tight, on track tussle they displayed in Daytona.

Burcher made the best of his pole position off-the-line to lead Murray and Evans (who started from fifth) on the first lap. Harri Jones and Campbell lost touch with leading trio midway through the first lap, after the front pack was split avoiding a spinning Aaron Love.

With Murray, Burcher and Evans swopping positions lap-after-lap, it would be Murray who would take the lead a final time and defend the position to the flag. The Pro-Am field, by contrast, was more spread out by the end of the first 20-minute sprint race, with Matthew Belford coming home over 20 seconds ahead of Graham Williams and John Goodacre.

Belford was able to repeat his winning performance in Race 2, coming home four seconds ahead of the Porsche Team entry of McElrea Racing’s Jamie Ross on that occasion, with Sergio Pires in third.

In the Mobil Pro field, Evans would make the best from the front row but out-brake himself into turn 1, handing the lead and advantage to Murray, Jones and Burcher. Campbell and Payne would also clash in the early laps dropping the pair down the 40-car field and out of contention for the remainder of the round.

As the race progressed, both Murray and Burcher would overtake Jones, while Evans would lose ground after making contact with a lapped backmarker.

The race was settled when Murray and Burcher made contact in the final stages, with Burcher running wide as a result. Evans meanwhile, would recover to second position after Jones spun on the final lap.

The final race of the evening would again see Evans lead off-the-line from and run wide into the first turn. The Porsche Junior would then clash with another backmarker mid-race dropping him to fourth behind Murray, Burcher and Jones.

Unlike the first two races, Murray was never challenged and by the end of the race crossed the line over four seconds ahead of Burcher.

After a huge start-line pile-up at the rear of the field, Pro-Am Championship leader, Dean Cook would emerge unscathed to take the class win from Marcel Zalloua and Emanual Palyaris.

Cook now holds a 37-point lead over Graham Williams heading into Round 4. Round 4 of the Porsche PAYCE & MICHELIN Virtual Cup will take place on the 15 June at the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst.

All three races from Round 3 in Monza will be shown on both the @PorscheMotorsportAU Youtube channel and Facebook page at 20:00 (Melbourne time) on Friday evening.

Results: Round 3, Monza Race 1

Mobil Pro
1. Cooper Murray
2. Jaxon Evans
3. Cody Burcher

Pro-Am
1. Matthew Belford
2. Graham Williams
3. John Goodacre

Race 2
Mobil Pro
1. Cooper Murray
2. Jaxon Evans
3. Cody Burcher

Pro-Am
1. Matthew Belford
2. Jamie Ross
3. Sergio Pires

Race 3
Mobil Pro
1. Cooper Murray
2. Cody Burcher
3. Harri Jones

Pro-Am
1. Dean Cook
2. Marcel Zalloua
3. Emanuel Palyaris

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