Peter Hackett and Liam Talbot shared the spoils at Sydney Motorsport Park after a spectacular day of racing to complete Round 5 of the CAMS Australian GT Championship.
Talbot continued his winning ways from Friday, piloting the Hot Wheels Car Care Products Porsche to victory in the day’s opening race, before Hackett converted his incredible qualifying pace into a race win in the final encounter of the weekend.
It left the pair equal on 205 points for the weekend, with Hackett awarded the round courtesy of victory in Race 3.
“We did the best we could in Race 1 and Race 2, and then Race 3 we had a set of green tyres left over, a full set,” Hackett explained.
“Liam made a small mistake in Turn 4 and I saw a window into Turn 5 that I threw the nose into and got alongside him.
“There was a small touch into Turn 6, which I didn’t think much about, and then the guys got on the radio and said get your head down.
“We did what we needed to, we pitted at the first opportunity which brought us out half a second ahead, and then it was about controlling the race from there.”
It saw Hackett take his first race win of 2018, with Talbot following him home in second to complete a near-perfect weekend for the Walkinshaw GT3 squad.
Fraser Ross rounded out the podium in Race 3, having slipped behind Geoff Emery (Valvoline Audi R8 LMS GT3) in Race 2, the McLaren driver finishing third for the round in the Total/Opticoat entry.
Race 2 proved a thrilling affair with a four-way battle between Talbot, Hackett, Ross, and Emery.
The leading quartet circulated with little between them, Hackett making a stunning move on Ross soon after the pit stops as the McLaren driver shaped up to pass Emery.
Talbot won the race, which ended under Safety Car following a crash for Nick Kelly (Industrie Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT3) and David Crampton (Vantage Freight KTM X-Bow GT4).
The pair touched at the exit of Turn 3 before finding the wall on the outside of the corner.
Both drivers were able to climb free from their cars, before being cleared of injury by circuit medical staff.
It left Jeremy Gray (JMG/Bilstein Aston Martin Vantage GT4) to claim a class victory in both of Saturday’s races to extend his GT4 championship advantage to 299 points.
After suffering electrical problems on Friday, the Miedecke Motorsport/Magswitch Aston Martin Vantage GT3 stormed through the field in the hands of both George and Andrew Miedecke.
The pair’s efforts were rewarded with seventh in the weekend’s final race, one spot back from the impressive Brett Hobson.
Making his Australian GT Championship debut, Hobson enjoyed a stunning final race in the Hobson Motorsport / Hi-Tech Oils Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.
The team quietly tuned the car across the weekend before Hobson delivered a flawless performance in the finale.
Ryan How (BTE Bulk Transport Equipment / Ren Racing Audi R8 LS Ultra GT3) proved he is a star of the future with two wins from three starts in Trophy Series competition over the weekend.
The impressive teenager won Saturday morning’s race before a sensational drive from Dave Stevens saw the Superfluid Ferrari 458 GT3 driver take the spoils in Race 3.
However, with two wins across the weekend, 16-year-old How won the round from Stevens, with Matt Stoupas (Kentucky Fried Chicken Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT3) banking important championship points in his quest for the Trophy Series title.
Steve Richards and Ricky Capo combined to score solid championship points, the BMW Team SRM entry now sitting third in the championship heading into the final round.
The leading six drivers in the championship are split by just 65 points, with a whopping 320 on offer at Hampton Downs at the season’s final round.
The Australian GT Championship now heads to New Zealand for its final race of the year, which will also act as the CAMS Australian Endurance Championship final on October 13-14.
It will see two champions crowned on an action-packed weekend of racing at the challenging North Waikato circuit.
Before then, the CAMS Australian GT Trophy Series will crown its 2018 champion at Winton as part of the Shannons Nationals on September 1-2.