The action came down to the final corner of the last race for Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia at Mount Panorama, with Cameron Hill winning the 2021 title, Cooper Murray the race and round five victory while the Pro-Am race was decided in favour of Geoff Emery in the final metres of a dramatic race.
Murray’s success saw him claim the Mobil Pro Class and finish as top Michelin Junior as well.
Despite finishing 19th after a mid-race pit stop, Hill amassed enough points to claim his maiden title before moving to Super2 next season.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet, it’s been a rollercoaster for a couple of years to be honest, with 2020 being cancelled and the interruptions this year, it almost didn’t look like it was going to happen,” Hill reflected.
“So to come here at Bathurst and seal the deal its really special. We had a great start to the year and we were competitive everywhere, we didn’t qualify lower than third the whole year, six race wins on the trot, it was awesome and we know what we had to do when we got here just to finish in the front, but we did that and I’m just glad to bring it home straight.”
Murray’s success came in what could be his last Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia round as the talented young Victorian star chases international success – having just completed the Porsche Junior shootout in Europe prior to the Bathurst event.
“Carrera Cup was everything I expected coming back from Europe, I was fortunate to have some racing miles over there, so I felt very well prepared and to finish the last race and get the round is great, not to mention being so close to that lap record,” Murray said.
“Winning in Bathurst on a Sunday morning, it just doesn’t get better than this, I’ve always wanted to win here on a Sunday and now we’ve made it happen.
“Hopefully, who know in the next years, I’ll be back on the podium for the 1000. But I’m happy with second this year to Cameron, he was consistent all year and there are a few things out of our control that hampered our challenge, but I can’t complain with second overall.”
Meanwhile, the battle for race honours in Morris Finance Pro-Am came down to the last turn of the nine lap race, with Geoff Emery sneaking past Sam Shahin, who spun in sight of the chequered flag.
Shahin managed to regain drive and finish second in Pro-Am ahead of Ben Stack, though the championship was decided in favour of his season-long rival Emery.
The results of the Morris Finance Pro-Am battle remain provisional pending a post-event investigation into the final-corner battle between the title rivals.
“It’s almost unbelievable,” Shahin said of his back-to-back round victories.
“I drove hard, even faster than when in qualifying, I was just really committed. Regards the incident in the last corner of the last lap, we’ve protested, so we’ll see where that ends. But I just cannot be happier, this place is not for the faint hearted and have to overcome some mental battles and mental scars this week.”
There was drama off the race start, with Indiran Padayachee retiring after striking the stalled car of Scott Taylor on the grid.
At the front, Harri Jones led the field away from Murray, who was able to forge past his McElrea Racing teammate around the outside of the fast kink entering the Chase on the third lap.
Aaron Love was next to make his move, on lap four passing Hill at Griffiths Bend, before taking second form Jones, once again around the outside of Australia’s fastest corner.
Craig Lowndes struck dramas on lap five when he suffered a flat tyre, while Hill headed to the pits on lap seven for a replacement tyre.
On the same lap, Marc Cini suffered a lurid spin into Hell Corner, and caused some consternation when he parked his car to the side of Mountain Straight in front of the leaders.
At the chequered flag, Murray was able to clear out from Love, Jones, Matthew Payne, David Russell, Jayden Walls, David Wall, who charged through from 14th to claim seventh, then Max Vidau, Callum Hedge and Christian Pancione in tenth.
The result was that Murray won the race and the round, while Harri Jones produced his best ever round result in second.
Aaron Love was third overall and completed the Mobil Pro Podium.
Sam Shahin clinched his second straight round victory on Sunday, with Geoff Emery second overall for Round 5.
Ben Stack completed the podium in Pro-Am with third, his first Carrera Cup podium.
The Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia Championship thanks all teams, drivers, partners and supporters following the conclusion of the 2021 season.
Dates for the 2022 championship, which will see the debut of a full field of the brand-new 992 Porsche GT3 Cup Car, will be announced soon.