The Porsche Carrera Cup Australia standings has received a shake-up at Sandown after both series leaders failed to finish Sunday’s race three, as victory for Alex Davison and James Bergmuller handed the duo surprise round wins.
Outright points leader Matt Campbell was favourite to claim a Sandown clean sweep following victory in race one and race two, however a sluggish race three start saw Campbell and Nick McBride drop down the order, with Davison charging to the front.
Campbell’s race worsened when gearbox dramas slowed the 21-year-old’s GT3 Cup car; the issue ultimately ending his race.
Davison continues his charge at the front from Steven Richards and David Wall when the safety car was called late in the race when Tony Bates spectacularly made heavy impact with the turn eight barrier; a horror finish to what was set to be a TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge clean sweep at Sandown – his second in two years.
With the race finishing under safety car conditions, Davison claimed the race win from Richards and Wall, handing the 2004 Carrera Cup champion the Sandown round win. Dean Fiore placed a round high fourth place from McBride, Dylan O’Keeffe, Duvashen Padayachee, Garth Walden, Ash Walsh and Michael Almond in 10th.
“I’m really happy with the car in the final race. I held the lead quite comfortably and, if I really needed to, I probably could have extended it. But the conditions were tricky and I just did what I had to do,” said Davison, who moved to just 37.5 points behind Campbell in the standings.
“It’s unfortunate for Matt; I don’t wish that upon anyone, but we all have bad luck during the year; I had some mechanical dramas in Sydney which cost me some points as well as some issue here on Friday. You take these advantages when you can and the important thing is that we’re still in the championship hunt.”
After finishing second and third on Saturday’s races, fifth on Sunday was enough to secure McBride second for the round, with Richards claiming the last position on the outright round podium.
“That’s not the way you want to gain on the championship lead, with poor Matt having a mechanical drama. It was a great weekend up until race three where I made a little mistake and dropped a couple of spots. I still finished in fifth, but it wasn’t my greatest race,” said McBride, who sits 55.5 points from the series lead.
“The tightening of the championship is certainly great from a spectator point of view. It was a better round for us. Qualifying on the front row with Matt and leading the first race was a positive; it just finished on a downer in race three. It left a little sour taste in my mouth, but it will keep me hungry for Bathurst.”
Bates’ race three DNF made for an incredible conclusion for the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge, with James Bergmuller, Stephen Grove and Marc Cini finishing the weekend equal on 144 points, though with race three positions determining the round winner, Bergmuller came away with the spoils.
“I got lucky with Tony at the end, so I’m rapt. I didn’t expect the round win,” said Bergmuller.
“There are plenty of other boys who have won when I’ve had a round like that or they’ve taken me out so you have to take these results while you can. There are two rounds to go and it’s going to be really close. I think anyone can have a shot at winning this championship.”
Tony Bates retains his lead in the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge standings, though Shane Smollen, who placed second in the final race, now sits only 49.5 points behind Bates in second, with Grove a further 54 points adrift.
Only two rounds remain for the 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia season, with the Porsche one-make series next visiting Mount Panorama, Bathurst, before its series finale on the Gold Coast.
Results: Race 3
1. #25 Alex Davison (Outright) Wilson Parking – 18 laps, 24:41.4935s
2. #12 Steven Richards (Outright) Laser Plumbing and Electrical – 18 laps, 24:42.6396s
3. #38 David Wall (Outright) Wilson Security – 18 laps, 24:43.0875s
4. #8 Dean Fiore (Outright) Saint/Porsche Centre Melbourne – 18 laps, 24:43.6506s
5. #77 Nick McBride (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts – 18 laps, 24:44.3202s
6. #88 Dylan O’Keeffe (Outright) Allstar Equipment / APB Group 18 laps, 24:44.6491s
7. #45 Duvashen Padayachee (Outright) Darrell Lea STIX – 18 laps, 24:45.5055s
8. #21 Garth Walden (Outright) Commercial Interior Projects – 18 laps, 24:46.7783s
9. #777 Ash Walsh (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts / Infants Friend – 18 laps, 24:48.5624s
10. #26 Michael Almond (Outright) Copyworld – 18 laps, 24:48.9120s
11. #54 James Abela (Outright) Horsley Park Gun Shop – 18 laps, 24:49.2340s
12. #13 James Bergmuller (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) pricepressure.com.au – 18 laps, 24:49.6789s
13. #56 Shane Smollen (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) McGrath Estate Agents – 18 laps, 24:50.2857s
14. #4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Hire – 18 laps, 24:50.7514s
15. #9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc – 18 laps, 24:51.3769s
16. #39 Adrian Mastronardo (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Veritas Property Group – 18 laps, 24:51.8338s
DNF #24 Tony Bates (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Moveitnet / A.F.S – 14 laps, 17:15.3894s
DNF #7 Matt Campbell (Outright) Nuveau Constructions / Phase 8 – 5 laps, 6:20.1302s