Alex Davison and Stephen Grove have sealed round victory at Albert Park in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by Pages, while Shane Smollen capped the event with his first TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge victory of the season.
Following two race wins across Friday and Saturday, Davison again dominated Sunday’s race four from the outset. The 2004 series champion charged clear of the field from the start and kept Steven Richards at bay for the duration of the 10-lap event.
The race win was Davison’s 40th in the championship and his 11th at the Albert Park circuit.
“I was being careful not to get too excited over the first win of the weekend because it was slightly lucky; the second win was a bit better but I had my doubts on our true speed with different tyre wear, but in the final race I had my most worn set of tyres for the weekend and we still managed to win with reasonable comfort and the car was the best it had been all weekend,” said Davison.
“It’s great to win some races so early in the year. I certainly wasn’t expecting that. The Almond family has been fantastic in giving me this opportunity. I’m rapt to be racing and rapt to be winning some trophies.”
Richards claimed second in race four; one fourth place finish and three consecutive second place results was enough to secure the former champion second for the round.
Nick McBride finished the final race in third, claiming third for the round and securing his lead in the Carrera Cup standings, now 23.5 points ahead of equally placed Davison and Matt Campbell.
“My pace was a lot better this weekend, I was among the front guys in every race. Alex found a bit of pace this weekend but I’m happy where we are at,” said McBride.
“The championship favourite is Matt Campbell, so poor Matt has all the pressure on his shoulders and I’m able to sneak around and keep on collecting points. Obviously I would have liked to have won this weekend, but we’ll head to the next round and see if we can win there.”
Ash Walsh worked his way back from a race one DNF to place fourth in race four from Campbell, David Wall, Duvashen Padayachee, Michael Almond and Dean Fiore in ninth, followed by rookie duo James Abela and Dylan O’Keeffe and 10th and 11th.
Smollen became the third TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge race winner for the season in race four, passing Grove late in the race to claim the win from Grove, Adrian Mastronardo, Marc Cini and James Bergmuller.
Second place handed Grove his first Challenge round win since the 2014 Sandown round.
“Winning at Albert Park does rate pretty highly for me. I love this track and love this event so to win here this weekend is a definitely highlight of the season. What this tells me is that it’s game on for all of us and anyone can win it,” said Grove.
Mastronardo claimed his second Carrera Cup trophy, following his third place in class at last year’s Pro-Am round alongside Tim Slade, and his first in a single driver format.
“It’s my first single driver podium in 25 years. I’m very happy with the result; I’ve stepped up my driving this weekend so finally it’s starting to come,” said Mastronardo.
Though Tony Bates failed to finish race four, he remains the leader in the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge standings from Grove, who now sits just 25.5 points adrift.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by Pages will next race at the Porsche Rennsport Australia event on April 29-May 01 at Sydney Motorsport Park, where the championship uses its two-driver format across two one-hour races.
Race 4 Results
1. #25 Alex Davison Wilson Parking – 10 laps, 20:11.4
2. #12 Steven Richards Laser Plumbing and Electrical – 10 laps, 20:13.0
3. #77 Nick McBride Bob Jane T-Marts – 10 laps, 20:15.2
4. #777 Ash Walsh Bob Jane T-Marts/Infants Friend – 10 laps, 20:15.4
5. #7 Matt Campbell Nuveau Construct. Qld/Phase 8 – 10 laps, 20:18.4
6. #38 David Wall Wilson Security – 10 laps, 20:21.9
7. #45 Duvashen Padayachee Darrell Lea STIX 10 laps, 20:25.6
8. #26 Michael Almond Copyworld – 10 laps, 20:26.1
9. #8 Dean Fiore Saint/Porsche Centre Melbourne – 10 laps, 20:26.6
10. #54 James Abela Horsley Park Gun Shop – 10 laps, 20:26.9
11. #88 Dylan O’Keeffe Allstar Equipment/Dexion Supply Centre – 10 laps, 20:28.8
12. #56 Shane Smollen (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) McGrath Estate Agents – 10 laps, 20:52.3
13. #4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Hire – 10 laps, 20:57.0
14. #39 Adrian Mastronardo (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Veritas Property Group – 10 laps, 20:57.4
15. #9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc – 10 laps, 21:00.8
16. #13 James Bergmuller (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) pricepressure.com.au – 10 laps, 21:19.5
DNF #360 Fraser Ross 360fly – 8 laps, 16:17.9
DNF #24 Tony Bates (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Moveitnet/A.F.S – 1 lap, 02:14.8
EXC #21 Garth Walden (NSW) Commercial Interior Projects
STANDINGS – Post-Round 2
1. Nick McBride – 300
2. Matt Campbell – 276.5
3. Alex Davison – 276.5
4. Michael Almond – 223.5
5. Steven Richards – 209
6. David Wall – 198.5
7. Ash Walsh – 178.5
8. Fraser Ross – 170
9. Dean Fiore – 140
10. Duvashen Padayachee – 130
11. Tony Bates – 92.5
12. Garth Walden – 68.5
13. Stephen Grove – 68
14. Adrian Mastronardo – 63
15. Shane Smollen – 62.5
16. James Abela – 61
17. James Bergmuller – 60.5
18. Dylan O’Keeffe – 33
19. Marc Cini – 30
TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge
1. Tony Bates – 292.5
2. Stephen Grove – 267
3. Adrian Mastronardo – 236.5
4. Shane Smollen – 225
5. James Bergmuller – 223.5
6. Marc Cini – 190.5