Set for another dramatic round of an already compelling 2019 series, the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge battle will continue at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit this weekend (June 7-9).
The annual stop at the 4.46km circuit in Victoria comes after two different drivers from two different teams claimed victory in the opening pair of rounds this year.
While Sonic Motor Racing’s Max Vidau swept to all three victories at the Symmons Plains season opener, McElrea Racing’s Harri Jones returned serve in Sydney three weeks ago to leap to the championship lead as Vidau struck issues.
Jones jumped to the championship lead by winning the Jim Richards Enduro Championship race – his first of the year – at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Consistency has been key for the Porsche Michelin Junior driver; he’s the only driver in the series to finish inside the top three in every race to date.
“There’s a long way to go in the championship but it’s good to be in this position after round two,” Jones said following his Sydney success.
“I’m looking forward to getting to Phillip Island in the Porsche and driving that great circuit in one of these cars.”
Jones leads Round 1 winner Max Vidau by 52 points, the latter having won the first four races of the season before a clutch issue saw him sidelined at the start of the second race in Sydney.
Vidau recovered to eighth in the final race that weekend and now heads a highly competitive fight for second in the standings as the series approaches it’s half-way point.
Teammate Aaron Love trails Vidau by 12 points, while McElrea Racing driver Ryan Suhle is just 20 points behind second position.
In a weekend that featured three winners from three races, Suhle won his maiden Porsche race in Sydney before failing to finish the finale’ with similar mechanical issues to Vidau.
The leading foursome are not expected to have things their own way this weekend as their three rival Michelin Juniors and the leading TAG Heuer Pro-Am contenders also attempt to grab some Phillip Island success.
17-year-old Victorian Christian Pancione scored his best ever Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge result in Sydney, grabbing his first major trophy of the season by finishing third overall.
The reigning class B champion also won at Phillip Island twelve months ago and will be keen to continue that performance on home turf this weekend.
Cameron Crick scored a trio of consistent results in Sydney to finish fifth overall, while Tom Taplin continued his rapid improvement to record his best finish (fourth, in race two) of the season to date.
Meanwhile, TAG Heuer Pro-Am leader Sam Shahin will look to use his vast experience to continue to fight with the Professional class contenders this weekend.
Shahin finished fourth outright in Sydney and has won the first two rounds of the Pro-Am championship this season.
He finished second and third, respectively, in the first two Porsche PAYCE Carrera Cup races held at Phillip Island in April this year before failing to finish the third race.
Shahin leads the consistent Ross McGregor by 96-points in the Pro-Am battle while Brett Boulton now sits third.
The Queenslander won his first race of the season in Sydney’s Jim Richards Enduro Trophy thriller, overhauling Shahin on fresher rubber late in the race.
Much with their Professional class rivals, the battle for second, third and fourth in TAG Heuer Pro-Am is particularly close with just 25 points covering McGregor, Boulton and fourth-placed Sergio Pires.
Just 24 points cover class B leader David Grieg and Andrew Goldie in their title fight, Tony Martin a further 30 points further behind.
The Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge last visited Phillip Island in June last year.
After taking pole by just 0.08s, Cooper Murray completed a perfect weekend by going on to win all three races in style.
Having qualified second, Max Vidau failed to finish race one however recovered strongly to finish the final race on Murray’s tail.
Simon Fallon and Jimmy Vernon competed the outright podium, while Ben Stack won TAG Heuer Pro-Am and Christian Pancione Class B.
The third round of the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge will be a feature at this weekend’s Shannons Nationals round at Phillip Island.
After a pair of practice sessions on Friday, qualifying and two races will be held on a busy Saturday – the second race the longer, Jim Richards Endurance Trophy affair.
A final sprint race completes the round on Sunday morning with all three to be streamed live via the Shannons Nationals website, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge website and social media accounts.
Schedule – Round 3, Phillip Island
Friday, 7 June
12:35–1:05pm: Practice 1
3:00–3:30pm: Practice 2
Saturday, 8 June
12:10–12:30pm: Race 1
3:10–3:55pm: Race 2 (Jim Richards Endurance Trophy)
Sunday, 9 June
9:10–9:30am: Race 3
TV Broadcast details
Qualifying and all three races will be streamed live via www.thenationals.com.au
Entry List – Round 3, Phillip Island
|3||Friedreich’s Ataxia||Jonathan||Gliksten||VIC||(TAG Heuer Pro-Am)|
|5||Garage 1||Nathan||Murray||VIC||(Class B)|
|7||Ryan Suhle Racing – Ray White||Ryan||Suhle||QLD||(Pro)|
|9||TM Motorsport / The Triffid Bar. Venue||Tony||Martin||QLD||(Class B)|
|13||The Bend/HTFU||Sam||Shahin||SA||(TAG Heuer Pro-Am)|
|14||ID Land||Matt||Belford||VIC||(TAG Heuer Pro-Am)|
|21||Melbourne Orthopaedic Group||Shane||Barwood||VIC||(TAG Heuer Pro-Am)|
|22||Woodford Trailers||Andrew||Goldie||WA||(Class B)|
|26||Taplin Real Estate||Tom||Taplin||SA||(Pro)|
|29||GWR/Commercial Interior Projects||Rob||Woods||NSW||(TAG Heuer Pro-Am)|
|73||Triffid Bar + Venue||Michael||Hovey||QLD||(TAG Heuer Pro-Am)|
|77||Sonic Motor Racing /||Max||Vidau||SA||(Pro)|
|78||Sonic Motor Racing / SRG Global||Aaron||Love||WA||(Pro)|
|84||Bold Living||Brett||Boulton||QLD||(TAG Heuer Pro-Am)|
|87||Daikin Air Conditioning / DW Motorsport||David||Greig||VIC||(Class B)|
|93||Dr Marty Ewer||Marty||Ewer||SA||(TAG Heuer Pro-Am)|
|99||Southern Star Windows P/L||Ross||McGregor||VIC||(TAG Heuer Pro-Am)|
|131||Sonic Motor Racing / Williams Racing||Graham||Williams||VIC||(TAG Heuer Pro-Am)|
|777||GWR/Plus Fitness Racing||Cameron||Crick||ACT||(Pro)|