Nick Foster and Tony Bates have completed flawless performances at Sandown Raceway to clean sweep the outright results and TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge, respectively, at the Melbourne circuit.
Having won the previous two Porsche Carrera Cup Australia rounds at Townsville and Sydney Motorsport Park, Foster continued his recent form at Sandown with three wins, though the Queensland based racer was pushed by young gun Matt Campbell all weekend.
After two race wins on Saturday, Foster claimed a narrow 0.2secs victory over Campbell in Sunday’s race three to turn a 90.5 points deficit in the 2015 standings entering the weekend to an 18.5 point championship lead with two rounds remaining.
“It was a perfect weekend here at Sandown. It wasn’t easy though; it was a much harder clean sweep than what I achieved at Townsville as Matt pushed me all the way. We had a great battle in the opening race and he made a decent push for the lead. It didn’t come off but I rated his effort. The second race was easier as I drove away in the closing laps. I tried to do the same in the final race but he came back very strong in the end and it was very tight at the finish. He’s pushing me to drive hard and I’m sure I’m doing the same to him,” said Foster.
“On top of the three race wins I’ve come away with the championship lead, which is a bonus. The next two rounds will be pretty interesting. You can never count out Steven Richards and Craig Baird at Bathurst as they have so much experience on Mount Panorama. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and the results will come.”
Campbell finished second in all three races, while Richard Muscat placed third in each Sandown race – the duo completing the round six Professional Class podium.
“It was a fantastic weekend. I had great pace in practice and qualifying and it was great racing with Nick over the three races also. In the last race, there was never more than a second gap between us. We were pushing each other really hard and started to pull away from the pack.”
Richards continued to claw back positions in the final race following his race one DNF; the former standings leader and reigning champion placed fourth in the final race from David Russell, Baird, John Martin, Michael Almond, Shae Davies and newcomer Aaron Seton in 10th.
Bates had one of his most impressive rounds in Carrera Cup; his race three TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge win was his third of the weekend. Shane Smollen and Stephen Grove placed second and third in the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge for both the final race and the class round points. James Bergmuller finished fourth in class in the final race from Adrian Mastronardo, Ash Samadi and Marc Cini.
Bates was thrilled with his Sandown performance following a horror Sydney Motorsport Park round, where a practice crash ended his weekend prematurely.
“We came here with no pressure of the championship and where we need to finish or what points we need to reel in. We came in with a relaxed attitude and put Sydney Motorsport Park behind us and remind a few people that we can drive and that it was a one off incident. We came here with a really good focus and we just wanted to win every session – which we did.”
Foster now holds a 18.5 point lead in the standings from Richards, with Baird now 66 points from the championship lead.
Smollen holds a 29 point lead of the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge from Grove. The leading duo are clear of their rivals; Bates is the next best placed driver in the class, 225.5 points from the class lead.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia’s next round will be held at Australia’s most iconic motor racing circuit, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, on October 08-11, 2015.
Race 3 Results
1. #777 Nick Foster (Professional) Bob Jane T-Marts – 20 laps, 23:47.4782s
2. #7 Matt Campbell (Professional) Phase 8 – 20 laps, 23:47.6476s
3. #22 Richard Muscat (Professional) Wilson Security / PAYCE – 20 laps, 23:51.9541s
4. #1 Steven Richards (Professional) Laser Plumbing & Electrical – 20 laps, 23:52.8147s
5. #10 David Russell (Professional) Finanze Ezi – 20 laps, 23:55.2372s
6. #8 Craig Baird (Professional) Porsche Centre Melbourne – 20 laps, 23:58.5141s
7. #25 John Martin (Professional) Copyworld – 20 laps, 23:58.9084s
8. #26 Michael Almond (Professional) Copyworld – 20 laps, 24:00.4213s
9. #88 Shae Davies (Professional) Davbridge Constructions – 20 laps, 24:01.1750s
10. #222 Aaron Seton (Professional) Scott Taylor Motorsport – 20 laps, 24:01.5691s
11. #77 Nick McBride (Professional) Bob Jane T-Marts – 20 laps, 24:06.2018s
12. #45 Duvashen Padayachee (Professional) Darrell Lea STIX – 20 laps, 24:07.8413s
13. #24 Tony Bates (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) AFS/Fleetguard – 20 laps, 24:27.4453s
14. #56 Shane Smollen (Carrera Challenge) McGrath Estate Agents – 20 laps, 24:27.6590s
15. #4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Group – 20 laps, 24:33.8763s
16. #13 James Bergmuller (Carrera Challenge) MotorOne Car Care – 20 laps, 24:34.1759s
17. #39 Adrian Mastronardo (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Veritas – 20 laps, 24:38.5012s
18. #6 Ash Samadi (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Apartment Hotel – 20 laps, 24:41.9243s
19. #9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc – 20 laps, 24:42.1899s
DNF #11 John Magro (Professional) Team BRM – 13 laps, 18:15.7281s
DNF #65 Fraser Ross (Professional) Porsche Centre Brighton – 7 laps, 8:29.4426s