Variable Phillip Island weather plagued the opening day of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli season finale, though Jordan Love and John Karytinos overcame the inclement conditions to lock out the front row for Saturday’s opening race.
Friday’s two practice sessions were met with wet and slippery conditions, leading to several driver mishaps and subsequent red flag periods. The sun appeared through the clouds later in the day for an ultimately dry qualifying session, which saw Love take pole position by an impressive 1.26secs.
“It was great to get some qualifying laps in the dry after this morning’s two wet practice sessions. There were only a few wet patches but nothing that affected us too much,” said Love who, by taking the top qualifying time, extended his outright series lead to 84 points with only 93 points on offer for the remainder of the series.
“We went out and banked a few good times before the red flag and then changed a few things on the car; we hadn’t had a good feel of the car in the dry as both practice sessions were in the wet. We couldn’t really get in a good lap once the session restarted but luckily my previous times were good enough for pole. I can’t wait to see what the weather does tomorrow as it was an interest part to today.”
Love’s campaign to win the title was assisted by the practice crash of his nearest points rival, Brenton Grove, which saw Grove miss the qualifying session and will therefore start the opening race from the rear of the field.
Meanwhile Karytinos was the pace-setting Elite Class driver qualifying second outright – his best ever qualifying performance – ahead of his teammate Sam Shahin, who was lucky to post a quick time early in the session before causing a red flag and sustaining significant session-ending damage to his Porsche.
The addition of Anthony Gilbertson to the second row of the grid will make for an exciting element to the opening race; the two drivers are a mere seven points apart in the Elite Class standings entering the final three races of the season.
John Morriss qualified fifth ahead of John Steffensen upon his return to the series. Ben Stack will start seventh for race one from Shane Barwood in eighth and Class B pole-sitter David Greig in ninth. Phil Morriss rounded out the top 10 from Ross McGregor and Class B runners Andrew Goldie and Brendon Cook.
Love enters race one with a commanding points lead in the Outright standings, only having to finish inside the top eight in one of Saturday’s three races to secure the title.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli will now embark on the final day of its 2017 season, with Saturday to host three races at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit before the series’ Awards Night on Saturday evening.
Saturday September 09, 2017
9:15am Race 1 (11 laps)
11:35am Race 2 (11 laps)
3:10pm Race 3 (11 laps)
Results – Qualifying
1. #79 Jordan Love (Professional Class) Sonic Motor Racing/Quintis – 1:32.4455*
2. #16 John Karytinos (Elite Class) Richmonds Automotive – 1:33.7105s
3. #13 Sam Shahin (Elite Class) HTFU – 1:34.0555s
4. #19 Anthony Gilbertson (Elite Class) Hallmark Homes – 1:34.1345s
5. #34 John Morriss (Elite Class) Motorsport Leasing P/L – 1:34.2004s
6. #78 John Steffenson (Professional Class) Zagame Autosport – 1:34.5473s
7. #65 Ben Stack (Elite Class) DNA Racing – 1:34.9116s
8. #21 Shane Barwood (Elite Class) Melbourne Orthopaedic Group – 1:35.6651s
9. #87 David Greig (Class B) – 1:37.3898s
10. #88 Phil Morriss (Elite Class) Morriss Racing Services – 1:37.8658s
11. #99 Ross McGregor (Elite Class) Southern Star Windows – 1:38.9047s
12. #22 Andrew Goldie (Class B) – 1:41.0348s
13. #11 Brendan Cook (Class B) Cairns Steel Fabrication – 1:41.4487s