Michael Patrizi and Stephen Grove have claimed the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia round victory at Sandown Raceway in an eventful day of competition.
Sunday’s opening race came to an abrupt end on the opening lap following a Turn 1 incident – initiated between team-mates Nick Foster and Nick McBride and ultimately resulting in contact between McBride, Duvashen Padayachee, Tony Bates and Ash Samadi. The event was declared a non-race.
Extensive damage to McBride’s, Samadi’s and Padayachee’s Porsches ended their Sandown campaign while Bates’s team was able to repair the #24 Porsche for final Race 3.
The Race 3 grid was determined by the Race 1 finishing positions, placing Patrizi on pole position. Then points leader Steven Richards was set to start second, however he failed to make the grid due to a broken drive shaft on the warm-up lap.
Patrizi’s dominance was soon apparent when he pulled away from the field in the 17 lap race, claiming a three-second victory from Shae Davies, Craig Baird and Sam Power, who made his way past Warren Luff in the final laps.
Nick Foster came through the field to finish sixth following a 10-grid spot penalty for his role in the Race 2 incident, while Michael Almond placed seventh.
Patrizi, who won the round from Davies and Baird, was pleased with his clean sweep of race wins and is looking forward to October’s Bathurst round.
“I was really disappointed not to get pole position and make it a perfect weekend, but after that it was our weekend,” said Patrizi.
“I’m confident we would have won Race 2 as well; we were in the lead when the red flags came out, but that’s motor racing.
“I’ve won at Bathurst in the Porsche and I’ve led the race in the V8 Supercar so it gives me a lot of confidence going into the next round. What also gives me a lot of confidence is that the team was so fast there last year with Nick Percat.”
Grove finished eighth in Race 3 and won the Elite Class, which handed the Melbourne racer his third Elite Class round win of the season.
Grove, who was joined on the Elite Class round podium by second-placed Tony Bates and James Bergmuller, was pleased with his return to form after a horror last round at Sydney Motorsport Park.
“I’m pretty happy with another Elite Class round win. I was pretty conservative in Sydney and it didn’t work so I wanted to come here and take it race by race and get back to racing well again,” said Grove.
“My goal now is not to think about the Elite Class championship until after Bathurst and we’ll see where we are. Then we’ll head into Gold Coast and think about what we should or shouldn’t be doing.”
James Bergmuller’s capitalised on the abandoning of Race 2 after he hit the barrier in avoiding the opening lap incident. Bergmuller’s team were able to fix the damage and return him to Race 3 where he placed ninth from Shane Smollen, Marc Cini, Renee Gracie, Brenton Ramsay, Roger Lago, Tony Bates, Adrian Mastronardo, Greg Taylor, Tony Walls, Scott Taylor and Maurie Pickering in 20th.
Richards’ horror Race 3 allowed Luff to jump to the top of the championship standings, now holding a narrow six-point lead. Baird’s gradual charge to the front continues, with the reigning champion now only 26 points from the points lead.
Grove holds a commanding 75-point lead in the Elite Class from Bergmuller and Bates.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia will now head to Mount Panorama for one of the largest sporting events in the country – the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 on October 09-12, 2014.