Nick McBride has taken his maiden Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by Michelin round victory at the season opening Clipsal 500, where Adelaide racer Michael Almond scored an emotional maiden race win and Tony Bates claimed his third straight Adelaide clean sweep in the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge.
McBride led from the start of race three into a chaotic opening lap; race two winner Ash Walsh spun at the opening chicane and made contact with the turn four wall, resulting in the safety car joining the circuit.
Upon the restart it was announced McBride would be handed a five second penalty for starting outside his grid box, effectively handing Steven Richards the race lead from Almond and David Wall.
Richards then made contact with the turn 11 barrier on lap 10, ending his race after a promising start.
Almond continued in pursuit of McBride for the remainder of the race and was within five seconds of the race leader by the finish, handing the Adelaide driver his first Carrera Cup win in front of his home crowd.
“It’s very exciting to get my first Carrera Cup win. I’m privileged to even race cars, so to win here in front of a home crowd is just fantastic,” said Almond.
Matt Campbell, who was closing in on Almond in the closing laps, placed second, with McBride placing third in the race following the implementation of his five second post-race penalty.
The result handed McBride the round win – his first round podium in the championship after four fourth place finishes.
“This is a great result to get my first round win… and an awesome feeling. I’ve got to thank my team, who has really nurtured me and turned me into a faster, more complete driver,” said McBride.
“Over the past two seasons I’ve been around second or third in the championship mid-season and haven’t capitalised. Hopefully I can carry this pace all season and see where I end up at the end.”
Alex Davison placed fourth from David Wall, Fraser Ross and Dean Fiore in seventh.
Bates was the victor in the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge, claiming a remarkable ninth straight class race win at the Clipsal 500, third straight round win in Adelaide and a record equalling fourth straight Challenge round win after claiming the Sandown, Bathurst and Gold Coast rounds in 2015.
“I love the street circuits and this event in particular. I was really focussed and, this year, I really wanted to step up and hang on to the back of some of the pro driver. Yesterday I was mixing it with Alex and Matt, and today my aim was to hunt down Fiore and stick on the back of him, which I did.”
Marc Cini claimed an impressive second place in class in the final race, handing Carrera Cup’s most experienced racer second in class for the round, with James Bergmuller in third for the race and the round.
“It’s been a long time,” Cini said.
“It was a really good weekend. The first two races were very good, nice and consistent and I finished fourth in both. The last race was one of those races where everything fell into place. I got a really good start, got to where I needed to get and a couple of guys in our field had a bit of attrition so that helps as well.”
McBride now leads the Carrera Cup outright standings on 156 points from Almond (140), Campbell (137), Davison (110) and Walsh (108).
Bates’s clean sweep hands him a 42 point lead in the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge standings from Cini (138), Bergmuller (120), Smollen (108) and Mastronardo (106).
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by Michelin will next race in two weeks at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
Race 3 Results
1. #26 Michael Almond, Copyworld – 16 laps, 25:24.4
2. #7 Matt Campbell, Nuveau Construct. Qld/Phase 8 – 16 laps, 25:24.7
3. #77 Nick McBride, Bob Jane T-Marts – 16 laps, 25:25.1
4. #25 Alex Davison, Wilson Parking – 16 laps, 25:25.7
5. #38 David Wall, Wilson Security – 16 laps, 25:26.5
6. #360 Fraser Ross, 360fly – 16 laps, 25:33.8
7. #8 Dean Fiore, Saint/Porsche Centre Melbourne – 16 laps, 25:41.8
8. #24 Tony Bates (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Moveitnet/A.F.S – 16 laps, 25:42.3
9. #45 Duvashen Padayachee, Darrell Lea STIX – 16 laps,:44.5
10. #54 James Abela, Horsley Park Gun Shop – 16 laps, 25:52.2
11. #9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc – 16 laps, 26:06.2
12. #13 James Bergmuller (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) pricepressure.com.au – 16 laps, 26:06.7
13. #39 Adrian Mastronardo (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Veritas Property Group – 16 laps, 26:08.4
DNF #12 Steven Richards, Laser Plumbing and Electrical 9 15:38.0
DNF #4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Hire – 7 laps, 13:24.7
DNF #21 Garth Walden, CIP/GWR – 3 laps, 7:12.7210
DNF #88 Dylan O’Keeffe, All Star Equipment Sales/Dexion Supply Centre – 16 laps, 7:13.2775
DNF #777 Ash Walsh, Bob Jane T-Marts/Infants Frien
DNF #56 Shane Smollen (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) McGrath Estate Agents