VICTORY in the rookie class has seen reigning Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia Champion Harri Jones fall narrowly short of claiming the title in a dramatic conclusion to the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup finale at Monza.
Jones finished fourth in a wild Supercup showdown at the Cathedral of Speed, taking the rookie class win for the first time and just falling short of a podium finish following a frenetic last-lap battle with home-town hero, Simone Iaquinta.
With Rookie Championship leader Allesandro Ghiretti out of the race, Jones needed to finish third outright in the race to overhaul the 15-point deficit to the class lead.
He qualified fifth but started third following a host of grid penalties for key rivals.
After running fourth in the early laps, Jones found himself back in third position following a late-race restart, with Iaquinta just behind.
The Italian, with nothing to lose, and Jones engaged in a dramatic battle that included banging doors on the start-finish straight and at the turn one chicane.
Jones’ led his rival as the final lap commenced however lost the spot following the second of the two Lesmo right-handers, narrowly missing third place and the rookie title.
Still, the result was the strongest of Jones’ debut Supercup season.
“I’m really proud of myself and really proud of the team with our best result of the year in P4 and to take the Rookie win as well,” Jones said.
“(Lechner Racing) took the teams championship and another drivers’ championship as well and it was great to be part of that.
“It’s been an amazing year, and I’m really looking forward to coming back to Bathurst and Gold Coast to take everything I’ve learned over here and really apply it.”
BWT Lechner Racing teammate Harry King won the race, denying runner-up Larry ten Voorde the championship after points leader – and Lechner teammate – Bastian Buus struck issues and finished down the order.
Fourth still represented Jones’ best result of a solid Supercup rookie season that saw him claim six top-10 finishes from the eight races, ending the year ninth overall in the standings.
With the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Season complete, Jones’ will turn his attention to a pair of quickfire Porsche Carrera Cup Germany events in the coming weeks – the first at the Sachsenring and the second a return to the Red Bull Ring in Austria – where he raced in Supercup earlier this year.
Jones will then return to Australia and the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia Championship in October as Jones Motorsport makes it’s debut in the championship.
The defending champion will race at Bathurst and the Gold Coast this year for his own team.
The Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia Championship returns at the Sandown 500 in two weeks time.