The Australian GT Championship visited Phillip Island for round 2 and we take a look back at the race with this gallery and recap. It was a massive fight…
The Trass Family Ferrari and Taplin Aston Martin would fight hard for the first half of the race
The JAMEC PEM Racing Audi R8 LMS Ultra dropped a lap to the leaders with less than an hour remaining, however a fortuitous final Safety Car period allowed Mies to regain his lap and eventually seize the race lead in the closing stages.
It was an unlikley win with 45 minutes left but the JAMEC PEM duo of Chris Mies and Greg Crick took the win
Given the appearance of three Safety Car periods and a late start the race was originally to run to 5.00pm local time but was extended to 5.15pm to make a total race time of two hours and 40 minutes.
Starting off the front row of the grid, Crick held down a steady top-five spot during the opening stint – handing over to Mies to complete the second half of the race.
The Wall Racing Audi of Greg Taylor and Barton Mawer took out the Trophy class but had to overcome a late puncture
It was Mies’ second big victory in as many weeks after the German claimed outright honours at the prestigious Nurburgring 24 Hour last weekend.
It was Crick’s first Australian GT Championship victory since Phillip Island 2012.
The Lotus Exige Cup of Mark O’Conner and Tony Alford would take out the Challenge Class
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” says Crick.
“As soon as we got the late race Safety Car, I was fairly certain that we could win it because Christopher is so good in that car.
“My stint was OK – it went to plan though I probably ended up a bit further behind the leaders than we had intended to, but I haven’t really done enough miles in this car to push it to the limit yet.
“We’ve got more to come. It’s always going to be tough with the pit-stop penalties, but at the end of the day they can be overcome with a bit of luck and a bit of strategy.”
Rookie Matt Campbell was seriously impressive in the Ginetta, topping practice 2
Defending Phillip Island 101 champions Tony Quinn and Garth Tander finished a strong runner-up in the STIX-backed McLaren 650S.
The pair kept a clean nose throughout the race – with Tander also benefitting from the late-race Safety Car interval to regain a lost lap from the second pit-stop.
Both of the Quinns are now racing the new McLaren 650S GT3, with Tony Quinn and Garth Tander finishing second, barely 1 second from the win
The all-Kiwi combination of pole-sitters Jono Lester and Graeme Smyth rounded out the top three having led the field throughout the early stages – and again inside of the final hour.
The pair looked set to claim victory with less than 40 minutes remaining; however the late race Safety Car compressed the field with a handful of professional drivers in the mirrors of the Trass Family Motorsport Ferrari 458 when green flag racing resumed.
It was a frightening ride for the Freem Lamborghini but they somehow got away from this unscathed
Lester and Smyth didn’t put a foot wrong for the entire day; however Smyth was unable to resist the onslaught from a number of pro-drivers in full-flight during the closing stages.
Tony D’Alberto and Grant Denyer finished fourth in their Maranello Motorsport Ferrari while the Erebus Motorsport Mercedes SLS piloted by Max Twigg and Geoff Emery completed the top-five having also held the race lead a Safety Car intervals and differing pit-stop times jumbled the order.
The #71 Camaro had a heavy crash in practice but the team worked through the night to repair the car
James Koundouris and Marcus Marshall were the last of six entries on the lead lap at the chequered flag, finishing ahead of the second JAMEC PEM Racing Audi (Steve McLaughlan/Steven Johnson) and Objective Racing McLaren (Tony Walls/Warren Luff) respectively.
The Ginetta G55 of Matt Campbell and Michael Hovey, due to start from eighth, was unable to take its place after encountering an issue on the formation lap. The issue was quickly fixed, however, and Campbell was able to join the race from pit-lane shortly after the rolling start.
The Pirelli guys were hard at work to supply 37 cars in a 3 hour race
The young Queenslander completed a flawless opening stint from the rear of the field – picking off car after car to briefly lead the race during the first pit-stop cycle – eventually finishing ninth with Michael Hovey.
The second STIX McLaren rounded out the top-10 with Klark Quinn and Jonathon Webb at the controls.
Greg Taylor and Barton Mawer claimed a comfortable Trophy Class victory in the Adina Apartment Hotels Audi R8 LMS for the second round in a row ahead of Theo Koundouris and Steve Owen. However, Mark Griffth and Daniel Gaunt claimed second on points for the round given championship points were applied to the running order after 40 laps as well as at the completion of the race.
The Audi Customer teams are doing well in Australia, taking the outright win and Trophy win at Phillip Island
In the Challenge Class, Tony Alford and Mark O’Connor recorded a come-from-behind victory in the Donut King Lotus Exige ahead of the Porsches of Michael O’Donnell/Jon McCorkindale and Brendan Cook/Terry Knight.
Dean Canto challenged Jono Lester for the lead in the early stages of the race; however the Taplin Real Estate Aston Martin Vantage was retracted to the garage within the opening hour. Despite returning to the track it did not complete enough laps to be classified as a finisher.
Early trouble struck the EVA Racing Audi R8 Ultra with Peter Fitzgerald and Dean Koutsoumidis forced to retire after a three-car incident in the early stages that also eliminated the Trophy Class Lamborghini of Jan Jinadasa and Josh Hunt.
Photos By Sam Tickell, May 2015
Words by PR
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