Young sports car sensation Matt Campbell continues his Porsche Carrera Cup Australia crusade with a stunning victory in the opening race on the streets of Surfers Paradise, while Shane Smollen moved one step closer to the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge title with class victory.
Starting third on the grid, Campbell quickly moved into second, passing series points leader Nick Foster off the start line. The 20-year-old then claimed the lead on lap two from pole-sitter David Russell before extending his margin at the front, ultimately crossing the chequered flag 2.6secs ahead of Russell and Foster.
The impressive result was Campbell’s second straight race win after taking victory in the final Bathurst race, and his eighth top two result in nine races.
“I was able to get a good start and pass Foster by turn one and, fortunately for me, Russell made a small mistake and I was able to squeeze by. I then pulled a gap and held that until the finish,” said Campbell.
“I know I have good pace and I didn’t get the result I was looking for in qualifying; I made a bit of a mistake, but it’s great to get that race win and hopefully continue this pace into tomorrow.”
Russell placed second with Foster placing third, extending his points lead to 47.5 points – a margin helped by the 35 second post-race penalty handed to Steven Richards for kerb hopping, relegating the reigning champion to 12th in the results.
While Foster extended his points lead, the title hopeful still wanted more from his opening race.
“I had a pretty average start, which wasn’t ideal; I was hoping to get away cleanly and race a little bit at the front because, to be honest, we’ve got a car that’s very much capable of winning,” said Foster.
“I was pretty reserved in that race and my pace was still relatively quick. It was another nice, placid run and the front three guys ran away with that race. I did what I needed to do. We have two more races tomorrow which will hopefully be similar to today.”
Michael Almond placed fourth in a brilliant season high result from Craig Baird, Richard Muscat, Duvashen Padayachee, Shae Davies and Nick McBride in ninth.
Tenth place went to Smollen, who claimed the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge race victory and took one step closer to the class title.
Tony Bates placed second in class from James Bergmuller, Marc Cini, Scott Taylor and Ash Samadi, while Grove, who sits second in the Challenge standings, spun in the closing laps and placed seventh in class.
Smollen therefore enters the last day of the Carrera Cup championship with a 78 point lead in the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge standings.
“It’s a good result in a really mixed race. I don’t know what happened to Tony but he seemed to slow down momentarily, which allowed me to pass. My objective was to run a safe race but the window opened twice so I was happy to take the win. I was very lucky to avoid contact with Stephen and very unfortunate for him to have that lose at the first chicane,” said Smollen.
“That result certainly builds my buffer and places a lot more emphasis on race two compared to race three. I still need to finish races; I can’t afford to lose 120 points, for example, over the next two races. I’ve just got to take it corner by corner, race by race.”
Just two races remain in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia season, the first of which will be held at 8:45am on Sunday followed by the final race of the season at 11:10am.
Sunday October 25, 2015
8:45am – Race 2 (16 laps)
11:10am – Race 3 (21 laps)
Fox Sports 5 (Channel 506)
Race 2 – 8:45am, Sunday October 25
Race 3 – 11:10am, Sunday October 25
Race 3 – 11:15am, Sunday October 25
Race 1 Results
1. #7 Matt Campbell (Professional Class) Phase 8 – 15 laps, 18:28.8
2. #10 David Russell (Professional Class) Finance Ezi – 15 laps, 18:31.4
3. #777 Nick Foster (Professional Class) Bob Jane T-Marts – 15 laps, 18:33.0
4. #26 Michael Almond (Professional Class) Copyworld – 15 laps, 18:41.6
5. #8 Craig Baird (Professional Class) Porsche Centre Melbourne – 15 laps, 18:42.2
6. #22 Richard Muscat (Professional Class) Wilson Security/PAYCE – 15 laps, 18:44.3
7. #45 Duvashen Padayachee (Professional Class) Darrell Lea STIX – 15 laps, 18:44.6
8. #88 Shae Davies (Professional Class) Davbridge Constructions – 15 laps, 18:52.6
9. #77 Nick McBride (Professional Class) Bob Jane T-Marts – 15 laps, 18:55.4
10. #56 Shane Smollen (Carrera Challenge) McGrath Estate Agents – 15 laps, 19:05.7
11. #24 Tony Bates (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) AFS/Fleetguard – 15 laps, 19:11.1
12. #1 Steven Richards (Professional Class) Laser Plumbing & Electrical – 15 laps, 19:14.7
13. #13 James Bergmuller (Carrera Challenge) MotorOne Car Care – 15 laps, 19:16.0
14. #9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc – 15 laps, 19:16.7
15. #65 Fraser Ross (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Porsche Centre Brighton – 15 laps, 19:27.5
16. #222 Scott Taylor (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Scott Taylor Motorsport – 15 laps, 19:29.6
17. #6 Ash Samadi (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Apartment Hotel – 15 laps, 19:52.4
18. #4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Group – 14 laps, 18:34.9
19. #39 Adrian Mastronardo (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Veritas – 14 laps, 18:48.5
20. #25 John Martin (Professional Class) Copyworld – 13 laps, 19:23.8