DALE WOOD’s three-year Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia Championship winning drought came to an emphatic end in the Top End, the Timken Racing driver sweeping to both his first race wins and first round victory since 2019 today at Hidden Valley.
Liam Talbot won the Morris Pro-Am class as the unpredictable race-within-a-race continued to entertain this season.
Remarkably, it was Talbot’s first Pro-Am victory in his Carrera Cup career having previously finished second on three occasions.
Wood’s path to overall and Professional class victory commenced with a superb opening lap to the first race on Sunday morning, sweeping past race one winner Harri Jones at turn one to lead all the way home.
He then backed that up with a second victory in the final race of the round to claim the overall honours – his first round win since the 2019 Grand Prix event.
Jones’ finished second, however more importantly extended his championship lead over his nearest rivals thanks to another round of consistent front-running performances.
Jones finished runner-up to Wood in both races today to build his championship lead to more than 100 points heading into the next round at Townsville in three weeks time.
Dylan O’Keeffe finished third overall in Darwin, scoring his second successive podium finish aboard his RAM / GWR Dexion entry and also securing himself in the same position in the championship in the process.
Just in front is David Wall, who finished fourth overall in Darwin however entrenched himself in the championship battle – the former champion sitting second heading into the fourth round next month.
Wood has climbed to fifth in the standings by virtue of his improving form, the Melbourne driver having gone 5th-4th-3rd-2nd-1st and 1st in his last six races.
Christian Pancione scored his best ever round result with fifth overall in Darwin, edging out teammate Jackson Walls by a single point for a spot in the top five round results. Both Michelin Junior drivers set their own race and round personal bests at Hidden Valley.
Luke Youlden, Callum Hedge, Max Vidau and Brad Shiels completed the top-1o in round 3.
The Morris Pro-Am battle delivered two winners from the two Sunday races in Darwin, with Liam Talbot ultimately edging out Dean Cook and Sam Shahin for the round victory.
Talbot trailed Sam Shahin home in race two, before passing The Bend Motorsport Park entry in race three to score his second race win of the weekend – though it was not without controversy as the pair bumped panels exiting turn one, Shahin ending up off the road and slipping down the order.
The results remain provisional pending a post-race investigation into the incident.
Tim Miles and Rodney Jane completed the top five for the Darwin round, while Shahin continues to lead the Morris Pro-Am title standings over Stephen Grove and Darwin winner, Talbot.
The Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia championship returns to the track in three weeks at the NTI Townsville 500 on July 8-10.
Dale Wood, Pro round winner:
“That’s mega, that is one of the best weekends I have had in a long time, to get two race wins, the round victory and pole position, it really could have only been that one little bit better. But I haven’t had that much fun in a long time. I’ve been a bit critical of these new cars, in a sense that there is a lot more aerodynamics and they are hard to follow. Here you know the race is arguably going to be decided in turn 1 unless you go and make a mistake later on. So we had to get through Turn 1, Harri gave it a good crack so hats off to him for that, but we got in the lead and from there on we put our head down. Earl Bamber Motorsport has given me an unbelievable car this weekend and have not had this much fun with a team in a very long time. I absolutely loved it.”
Liam Talbot, Morris Pro Am round winner:
“Unreal, I think this my eleventh round and my first time getting the round win so pretty happy. Sam and I made contact in turn 1 although I left him plenty room, it felt like he drove into me. So it’s a bit of shame for Sam, but we had a cruisy run to the end, it was heaps of fun out there. Very hot, but good fun as I said, after all you’re in a Porsche. It’s been such a good change to come to Darwin, Brisbane has been so cold. Up here its 30 degrees and so nice, I can’t wait to come back.”
Sam Shahin – Race 2 Morris Pro Am winner:
“I’m absolutely thrilled, last time I came to Darwin it really was a bogey track for me and I really didn’t do very well. I haven’t been here for a couple of years and I really screwed up qualifying, so I had a lot of things to make up for in the race. I thought I drove very well today, you know when you’re on as a driver and today I was on. I got a cracker start and was on the tail of Nick McBride for a while and I really enjoyed that because I have the utmost respect for Nick, he is great, honest and respectful driver. So I knew if I could stay with him it was good thing. As the pace picked up, I saw I had built a bit of a gap, so saved the tyres for the last race.”