MARCO GILTRAP has picked up where he left off in his Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia campaign, grabbing pole position for Round 2 of the series at Symmons Plains Raceway in one of the series’ closest ever qualifying sessions.
Giltrap set a Porsche track-record 52.2810s best mid-way through the qualifying session and, with the track temperature decreasing, watched as everyone tried but ultimately failed to dislodge his Team Porsche NZ / EBM Porsche from pole position.
Full qualifying results: Click Here
The session was the closest ever in Sprint Challenge history with Lachlan Bloxsom a career-best second, trailing Giltrap by just 0.0464s.
The bonus point for Giltrap extends his championship lead, the 18-year-old Kiwi having won the opening round at Phillip Island in March.
Round 1 polesitter Marcos Flack qualified third – one of only a few to improve late in the session on a second new tyre run – with Ronan Murphy fourth.
The top four cars were covered by just 0.0792 seconds, while Zac Stichbury was fifth and just 0.17s from pole.
Round 1 podium finisher Aron Shields was sixth while Sam Shahin was seventh outright and first of the Pro-Am contenders.
Shahin’s 52.6417s was just 0.3 seconds from pole position and 0.6 seconds quicker than the next closest Pro-Am runner.
Grove Racing junior Oscar Targett qualified an impressive eighth on his Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge debut with Harrison Goodman and Tom McLennan rounding out the top-10.
The 10 quickest cars were split by just 0.45 seconds – the closest on record – while exactly one second covers the top 14 of the 23-strong field this weekend.
Included in that was Class B polesitter Brad Carr, who qualified his Generation 1 991 GT3 Cup Car 13th outright and only 0.8 seconds from the outright pole position time.
Just behind him was Brett Boulton, who was second in Pro-Am, while his McElrea Racing teammate Richard Cowen was 15th outright and third in Pro-Am – his best ever qualifying effort in PMSC.
The second round of the 2023 series continues tomorrow with two sprint races ahead of a longer enduro race on Sunday morning to complete the round.
All the races this weekend will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 506 and Kayo Sports this weekend.
MARCO GILTRAP – Pole Position / Michelin Junior
“It was pretty surprising given where we came from in practice. We struggled quite a bit but we moved on from there and we improved.
“It takes a while for the tyres to come in. Ultimately we got that time, then we changed tyres and couldn’t go any quicker. My time was set earlier in the session and it was enough to clinch pole.
“It reminds me of back home in New Zealand, it’s tight, there’s walls close by. The racing is going to be super intense. There’s going to be a lot on that first lap with people getting to the front.
“I think it will be a good watch – make sure to tune in for that. It’s going to be close – there’s nothing in it.”
SAM SHAHIN – Pro-Am Pole Position
“Very pleasing. I started having some dreams after finishing second in practice one, but it was back to reality in qualifying.
“I’m really happy. I’ve not driven this car since Phillip Island and it’s a real handful, it’s very different to the 992 (that Sam races in Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia). There are only a couple of corners you need to absolutely nail and it’s a technical little circuit.
“I’m very pleased to start a little bit forward, looking forward to some great racing – this track always produces it.”