A single championship point now separates Porsche Carrera Cup Australia’s two front-running drivers in their chase for the 2014 title following a dramatic opening race at Gold Coast, featuring the closest ever winning margin.
Steven Richards holds a one point lead into the penultimate race of the season after placing a narrow second to David Russell, demoting Warren Luff to second in the standings.
Richards look set to take the opening race win after front-runner Russell was penalised five seconds to his race time for jumping the start.
Russell charged ahead and gradually pulled a gap on Richards, lap by lap creeping toward a potential five second lead.
Russell crossed the line in first position, an incredible 5.0456 seconds ahead of Richards. With the penalty implemented, Russell won the battle by a mere 0.0456 seconds from Richards, Nick Foster, Shae Davies, Craig Baird and former points leader Luff. Sam Power finished seventh from Michael Almond and Duvashen Padayachee.
The gap at the top of the timesheets between Russell and Richards was the smallest ever winning margin in Carrera Cup Australia history, eclipsing Alex Davison’s 0.0565 second triumph over David Reynolds in Race 3 at Bathurst, 2007.
“I was happy with my start but I knew I jumped so to unwind the penalty with pace was extremely pleasing. I was worried about lapped cars towards the end but they managed to look in their mirrors and see me coming. I was very relieved when the guys told me I’d won by five seconds,” said Russell.
Richards has now amassed 864 points for the season, one point more than Luff with Baird 27 points further behind with two races remaining, though Richards suggests the season is far from over.
“There are two races to go and there’s still a lot that can happen. This whole championship has ebbed and flowed at different times and it’s not over until tomorrow afternoon,” said Richards.
While the fight for the outright title is alive and well, Stephen Grove has secured the Elite Class championship following Saturday’s Race 1.
Tony Bates won the Elite Class race from Shane Smollen, James Bergmuller and Stephen Grove – fourth place enough to secure the Elite Class championship with two races remaining.
“It’s a great feeling. It’s been a big year and the crew has put in a massive effort. To finish it here today is awesome,” said Grove.
“At the start of the season I never thought I’d be in this position with the Elite Class championship. I set my goal for 2014 to finish in the Elite Class top three so to win the title with two races to go, I’m absolutely rapt.”
Elite Class race winner Bates was also pleased with his effort.
“We did what we had to do. We’ve shown from our pace yesterday and today that we’re quick. The guys have done a great job all year and the team has deserved a better result. We’ll press on and look to finish the weekend well.”
Renee Gracie placed 14th from Marc Cini, Tony Walls, Nick McBride, Ash Samadi, Scott Taylor, Maurie Pickering, Greg Taylor and Adrian Mastronardo.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia will hold its final two races of the season on Sunday, with Race 3 to be broadcast live on the Seven Network (details below).
Sunday October 26th, 2014
9:30am – Race 2 (16 laps)
12:30pm – Race 3 (21 laps)
Race 3 (live)
Date: Sunday October 26th, 2014
Time: 12:30pm (QLD, local time), 1:30pm (AEDT)
Channel: Seven (7mate in Perth)