The Shannons Nationals at Sydney Motorsport Park cemented itself in the history books today, playing host to the first ever TCR race run in Australia. Other categories also got down to business with their first races of the weekend. Here’s how it went:
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The importance of securing pole position was evident during qualifying – as the times were so close there was less than a second’s gap between first and eighth. In the end it was Tony D’Alberto (VIC) in the Honda who secured the number one spot on the grid, followed by Jason Bright (VIC) in the VW and Dylan O’Keefe (VIC) in the Alfa Romeo.
D’Alberto’s small advantage of leading the race was quickly taken off him by Jason Bright, who overtook D’Alberto early on in Race 1 and stayed in front until he crossed the finished line.
Bright was the only one who managed to get past D’Alberto, who went on to claim second. Will Brown in the Hyundai kept on D’Alberto’s tail throughout the race, but the youngster didn’t find an opportunity to pass and finished third.
Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge
The first race of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge gave Sonic Racing double the reason to celebrate, with their drivers Max Vidau (SA) and Aaron Love (WA) claiming first and second respectively. Third-placed Harri Jones (QLD) kept the pressure on Love throughout the ten laps.
There was plenty of drama throughout Race 2 with a failed clutch for Max Vidau seeing his car drop from competition early on which gave his lead to Aaron Love. Love then ran wide which saw Ryan Suhle (QLD) take the lead, a position he retained for the remainder of the race. Sam Shahin (SA) took second and it was a case of de ja vu for Harri Jones, who was once again third.
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After leading the practice and qualifying sessions yesterday, Luis Leeds (VIC) fantastic start to the season continued today with a race win. Leeds held off Lachie Hughes (QLD) for the 20 minute race to finish three seconds in front. Antonio Astuti (VIC) was next to cross the finish line just over two seconds later.
Australian Prototype Series
The first Prototypes race of the weekend was full of close battles, but in the end it was David Barram (QLD) who crossed the finish line first. A five second jump start penalty saw Mark Short (SA) give up his second place to 2018 Champion Jason Makris (QLD). Short rounded out the podium in third.
Radical Australia Cup
Christopher Perini’s weekend continues to go to plan with the New South Welshmen being the first to cross the finish line in Race One of the Radical Australia Cup. Kostinken Pohorukov (NSW) qualified in 7th but managed to work his way up the field to finish second. Stephen Champion (NSW) finished third.
Alfa Romeo Challenge
Also having a great weekend is David Gatto (NSW) who drove his GTV6 to victory in the Alfa Challenge. David Capraro (NSW) was second, breaking the category’s lap record which he set late last year. Enzo Piazza (NSW) had the pressure kept on him by Michael Musumeci (NSW), but held him off to finish third.
The Shannons Nationals at Sydney Motorsport Park delivered once again as we moved into the final day of round one, the carsales.com.au TCR Australia Series took center stage once again along with a host of other categories wrapping up for the weekend. This is how it went:
South Australian Mark Short in the Prince LSR outpaced his fellow competitors in the final race of the weekend, cementing his round win at Shannons Nationals. There was an intense battle for second place with plenty of race position switches between the two Wolf Tornados of Mark Laucke (SA) and series newcomer Daniel Gonzalez (WA).
Gonzalez did his best to hold off Laucke, but with four minutes to go in the 25 minute race Laucke found the extra pace needed to claim second place. Laucke‘s results over the weekend also saw him take second place for the round. Gonzalez crossed the finish line in third.
Despite having a challenging Race 2, Barram’s weekend ended on a positive note as he stepped onto the podium to accept the round trophy for third.
Harri Jones (QLD) now leads the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series after sweeping to his first victory of the season, winning the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy race. Jones held off a charging Aaron Love (WA) who finished the race in an impressive second place after starting in 10th.
Christian Pancione (VIC), chased down the leader, but finished just behind Jones in a tight finish between the top three.
Brett Boulton (QLD) took the TAG Heuer Pro-Am honours in the race.
It was a smooth race all the way to the finish for Phil Anseline and Ollie Smith who took the chequered flag in Race 2, ten seconds in front of Peter Paddon. The duo of Brad Neilson and Mitchell Neilson crossed the finish line shortly after to claim the final place on the podium.
The start of Will Brown’s (QLD) TCR season is off to a flying start taking out first class honours in both Race 2 and Race 3. Brown and Dylan O’Keefe (VIC) had some fantastic battles during both races but O’Keefe in the Alfa Romeo couldn’t quite find the pace to get around Brown’s Hyundai.
Rounding out the podium for in the Race 2 was Tony D’Alberto (VIC) in the Honda who finished only a second behind O’Keefe in what was a tight race.
With first and second place unchanged between races, third position in the last TCR race of the weekend was claimed by Michael Almond (SA) in the Hyundai.
The Alfa Challenge kicked off today’s program of events. It was a great start to the day for Daniel Gatto (NSW) who was the first Alfa to cross the finish line. He was shortly followed by Enzo Piazza (NSW) and David Capraro (NSW).
Piazza’s second race saw him graduate to first, with Michael Musemeci (NSW) and Michael Aarons (VIC) taking second and third respectively.
AGI Sport’s Luis Leeds has extended his championship lead in Sydney Motorsport Park, to be the first driver to break the 100-point barrier this year after collecting 65 across the weekend’s three races. Leeds carried on his 2016 winning form again in 2019 to claim Castrol Pole Position and Race One yesterday, a last gasp podium in Sunday’s Race Two, and a dominant victory in the final race.
With victory in Race Two, Antonio Astuti broke through to also claim his first career round podium in Formula 4 to join his AGI Sport teammate Leeds on the podium as runner-up for the round.
CAMS Rising Star Lochie Hughes recovered after scoring no points in the weekend’s second race, after he and Astuti had a coming together on the opening lap. Hughes held off teammate Ryan Suhle in the final race, to cement his place on the final step of the podium from his teammate.