Australia’s fastest one-make championship will this weekend return to Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway for the first time in nine years as its drivers eagerly await the winter getaway.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia will contest its fourth round of 2016 at the popular Northern Territory venue – the championship’s fifth Darwin round (2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007) – ending a near-decade break from the circuit.
The lengthy break means that the majority of the championship’s drivers have not competed at Hidden Valley, though four of the current Carrera Cup crop were present for the one-make series’ previous Top End adventures – Alex Davison, Dean Fiore, David Wall and Marc Cini.
“The good thing about Darwin is that none of us, expect for a few drivers, have been there for such a long time, so you start fresh. That creates a little bit of excitement; you really look forward to those events,” said Cini, the most experience Carrera Cup racer in the field.
“It has a mega atmosphere off the track; that’s the best thing about Darwin. As soon as you step off the plane the weather hits you and it’s like you’re on a holiday and everyone’s there to party. It’s brilliant,” added Cini’s teammate, Fiore.
Several other Carrera Cup drivers have competed at the circuit of late in various race categories: In addition to Davison, Wall and Fiore, Ash Walsh and Steven Richards have raced at Hidden Valley since 2007 in the Supercars Championship.
“We’ll have lots of grip and the cars will be on the edge of their performance window and I think the circuit will suit our cars incredibly well; it’s nice and smooth with not many kerbs. It will be great,” said Richards.
Adelaide race winner Michael Almond competed at Darwin in 2012 and 2013 in Touring Car Masters and in 2014 in a V8 Ute. Meanwhile series rookie James Abela raced at last year’s Darwin round in an Aussie Racing Cars, as did Scott Taylor, who returns to Carrera Cup in Darwin for the first time this season.
With the championship’s halfway point looming, Matt Campbell holds a 36.5 point advantage over his nearest rival Nick McBride, aided by his Pro-Am clean sweep at the recent Porsche Rennsport Australia event when teamed with Geoff Emery. Davison sits third in the standings from Walsh and Wall in fifth.
Tony Bates’ strong start to the season has handed the Victorian a 42.5 point lead in the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge standings over Rennsport class winner James Bergmuller, Stephen Grove and Shane Smollen.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia will hold three races across the Hidden Valley round.
Practice 1 – Friday June 17, 9:20am, Fox Sports 5*
Practice 2 – Friday June 17, 12:40pm, Fox Sports 5*
Qualifying – Saturday June 18, 11:05am, Fox Sports 5
Race 1 – Saturday June 18, 3:10pm, Fox Sports 5
Race 2 – Sunday June 19, 12:25pm, Fox Sports 5
Race 3 – Sunday June 19, 4:30pm, Fox Sports 5
*broadcast subject to change
Friday June 17, 2016
9:20am-9:40am Practice 1 (20 minutes)
12:40pm-1:00pm Practice 2 (20 minutes)
Saturday June 18, 2016
11:05am-11:25am Qualifying (20 minutes)
3:10pm-3:35pm Race 1 (18 laps)
Sunday June 19, 2016
12:25pm-12:50pm Race 2 (18 laps)
4:30pm-4:55pm Race 3 (18 laps)
#4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Hire
#7 Matt Campbell (Outright) Nuveau Constructions/Phase 8
#8 Dean Fiore (Outright) Saint/Porsche Centre Melbourne
#9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc
#12 Steven Richards (Outright) Laser Plumbing and Electrical
#13 James Bergmuller (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) pricepressure.com.au
#21 Garth Walden (Outright) Commercial Interior Projects
#24 Tony Bates (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Moveitnet/A.F.S
#25 Alex Davison (Outright) Wilson Parking
#26 Michael Almond (Outright) Stone’s Original/Copyworld
#38 David Wall (Outright) Wilson Security/PAYCE
#39 Adrian Mastronardo (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Veritas Property Group
#45 Duvashen Padayachee (Outright) Darrell Lea STIX
#54 James Abela (Outright) Horsley Park Gun Shop
#56 Shane Smollen (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) McGrath Estate Agents
#77 Nick McBride (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts
#88 Dylan O’Keeffe (Outright) All Star Equipment Sales / Dexion Supply Centre
#222 Scott Taylor (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Scott Taylor Motorsport
#360 Fraser Ross (Outright) Preston Hire
#777 Ash Walsh (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts / Infants Friend