HARRI JONES now leads the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series after sweeping to his first victory of the season, winning the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy race today at Sydney Motorsport Park.
The McElrea Racing driver became the third winner from three races and won the Sydney round overall while Brett Boulton took the TAG Heuer Pro-Am honours in the race: Sam Shahin winning the round.
The 25-lap race was a typically dramatic affair with Jones in contention from the outset.
His teammate Ryan Suhle – who won race two on Saturday afternoon – broke a clutch at the start of the race and was left stranded, in a similar fashion to Max Vidau on Saturday.
Once in front, Jones extended an early buffer but then had to fend off a charging Aaron Love in the closing stages.
Love had started 10th however quickly worked his way through the field to sit second by lap 15.
He, and third-placed Christian Pancione, chased down the leader however ultimately finished just behind Jones in a tight finish between the top three.
Having now finished first, second or third in each of the six races held so far, Jones said he was proud of his progress throughout the season to date.
“We have had a lot of work done since Tasmania so our focus was on our starts so I’m stoked to come away with three good results and the podium,” the 19-year-old said.
“The guys at McElrea gave me an excellent car and I’m stoked to come away with the win.
“I had the cool suit in for that last race and it helped a lot. I’ve done a little bit of endurance racing so I think trying to keep the energy going through the race was important and I felt like I drove really well.
“There’s a long way to go yet but it’s good to be in this position after round two.”
Jones won the round overall and now also leads the Jim Richards Enduro Cup standings, while Love and Pancione each finished on the podium for the first time in their respective Porsche careers.
Cameron Crick finished fourth overall while Suhle – who had climbed to second in the championship following his maiden win yesterday – failed to add to his overnight score .
After starting 23rd, former championship leader Max Vidau stormed through the field to run as high as fifth by mid-race, only to ultimately slip back to eighth at the finish as he struggled following damage to his front splitter early in the race.
The battle for TAG Heuer Pro-Am honours was another competitive affair, race one and two winner Shahin actually leading the race outright after another blinding start.
Having used his newest tyres in Saturday’s sprint races, he slowly slipped through the pack and ultimately spent much of the race battling with class rival, Brett Boulton.
Boulton slipped through on lap 16 and ultimately pulled away to record his first class victory of the season, while Shahin’s second position ensured he won the round and extended his lead at the top of the championship.
“It was really tough,” Shahin said. “By race three we had the oldest tyres probably of the field, and the car was a handful – but I actually really enjoyed it!
“I was grinning holding on to the car. It is a bit of a breakthrough weekend for me because this place hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for me to so to go home with a win is great.”
Michael Loccisano completed the TAG Heuer Pro-Am podium.
In Class B, Andrew Goldie completed a perfect sweep of the weekend’s races; taking his third win from as many starts in Sydney to take the round. David Grieg and Nathan Murray completed the podium.
Harri Jones now leads the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge by 52 points, with Max Vudau in second.
Aaron Love moves to third in the standings with Suhle fourth and Sam Shahin still fifth – and leading TAG Heuer Pro-Am.
The next round of the championship will see the series visit the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit on the June 7-9 weekend.
Results – Race 3 (Jim Richards Endurance Trophy)
|Position||Car||Driver||Class||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap|
|1||12||Harri Jones (QLD)||Pro||25||38:57.4077||1:32.0617|
|2||78||Aaron Love (WA)||Pro||25||38:57.9485||1:31.6958*|
|3||76||Christian Pancione (VIC)||Pro||25||38:58.4252||1:32.2344|
|4||777||Cameron Crick (ACT)||Pro||25||39:08.1870||1:32.3907|
|5||84||Brett Boulton (QLD)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||25||39:25.3522||1:33.1571|
|6||13||Sam Shahin (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||25||39:33.2550||1:33.1752|
|7||26||Tom Taplin (SA)||Pro||25||39:34.4360||1:33.0636|
|8||77||Max Vidau (SA)||Pro||25||39:40.1227||1:32.7916|
|9||55||Sergio Pires (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||25||39:57.5269||1:32.9205|
|10||10||Michael Loccisano (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||25||40:03.7711||1:34.5299|
|11||99||Ross McGregor (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||25||40:08.2943||1:34.1249|
|12||22||Andrew Goldie (WA)||Class B||25||40:26.1180||1:34.8620|
|13||21||Shane Barwood (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||25||40:34.2294||1:34.4380|
|14||29||Rob Woods (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||25||40:36.3102||1:34.6749|
|15||131||Graham Williams (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||24||39:09.5840||1:35.4679|
|16||71||Nathan Halstead (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||24||39:23.5385||1:36.2969|
|17||93||Marty Ewer (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||24||39:27.1332||1:36.5840|
|18||14||Matt Belford (VIC)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||24||39:39.2333||1:36.5334|
|19||87||David Greig (VIC)||Class B||24||39:54.6338||1:36.9653|
|20||5||Nathan Murray (VIC)||Class B||24||40:23.3503||1:37.9054|
|21||9||Tony Martin (QLD)||Class B||23||39:00.5614||1:38.3244|
|DNF||17||Marcel Zalloua (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||8||14:07.4025||1:33.5119|
|DNF||73||Michael Hovey (QLD)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||7||11:19.6763||1:34.2330|
|DNF||7||Ryan Suhle (QLD)||Pro|
Provisional Standings – After 2 Rounds
- Harri Jones 318
- Max Vidau 266
- Aaron Love 254
- Ryan Suhle 246
- Sam Shahin 218