Jordan Love has made a strong start in his first appearance as Australia’s new Porsche Junior, posting the fastest time in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli’s opening practice at Sandown Raceway, while Anthony Gilbertson was the best performing Elite Class driver on the first day of the season.
Young gun Love, fresh from a season in the Australian Formula 4 series, set the quickest time in both of Friday’s practice sessions and finished the day two tenths ahead of the second fastest driver and Professional Class rival, Brenton Grove.
Just a second covered the top four Elite Class competitors, which is set to be a hard-fought competition throughout the 2017 season. Gilbertson was the class pace-setter on Friday from Sam Shahin, returning driver John Karytinos and John Morriss, who moves to equal second on the list of all-time round starts on his 27th appearance in the category, with debutant Nick Karnaros seventh fastest in practice.
High-profile rookie John Steffensen impressed with the eighth fastest time in his first motor racing appearance. The dual Commonwealth Games gold medallist experienced throttle cable issues in the first practice session, providing Steffensen only partial throttle. The issue was fixed for practice two, allowing Steffensen to secure a time of 1:14.0678.
Ross McGregor returned for his 19th GT3 Cup Challenge round to post the ninth fastest time from newcomer Brett Boulton, Ben Stack, Michael O’Donnell and Shane Barwood; the latter duo having to adapt from a Class B Porsche to the second generation Type 997 race car over the off-season.
Phil Morriss was the 14th fastest driver on Friday from Rob Woods, Class B pace-setter Michael Tsigeridis, Invitational Class driver Aaron Ireland and David Greig.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli will hold qualifying and its opening race of the season on Saturday, followed by race two and race three on Sunday.
To view the two Sunday races, be sure to tune into the event’s Live Stream, available at www.thenationals.com.au.
Saturday April 08, 2017
11:05am Qualifying (20 minutes)
1:30pm Race 1 (12 laps)
Sunday April 09, 2017
10:20am Race 2 (12 laps)
2:10pm Race 3 (12 laps)
Combines Practice times
1. #79 Jordan Love (Professional Class) Sonic Motor Racing / Quintis – 1:12.1595s
2. #23 Brenton Grove (Professional Class) Grove Hire – 1:12.3531s
3. #19 Anthony Gilbertson (Elite Class) Hallmark Homes – 1:12.4927s
4. #13 Sam Shahin (Elite Class) HTFU – 1:12.7033s
5. #16 John Karytinos (Elite Class) Richmonds Automotive – 1:13.1007s
6. #34 John Morriss (Elite Class) Motorsport Leasing P/L – 1:13.3865s
7. #25 Nick Karnaros (Elite Class) Porsche Centre Brighton – 1:13.7300s
8. #78 John Steffensen (Professional Class) Zagame Autosport – 1:14.0678s
9. #99 Ross McGregor (Elite Class) Southern Star Windows – 1:14.1488s
10. #84 Brett Boulton (Elite Class) Bold Living – 1:14.2310s
11. #65 Ben Stack (Elite Class) DNA Racing – 1:14.3620s
12. #68 Michael O’Donnell (Elite Class) SHOAL/Thomson Geer – 1:14.6030s
13. #21 Shane Barwood (Elite Class) Melbourne Orthopaedic Group – 1:15.0592s
14. #88 Phil Morriss (Elite Class) Morriss Racing Services – 1:15.1661s
15. #29 Rob Woods (Elite Class) Platinum Nightclub – 1:15.3215s
16. #81 Michael Tsigeridis (Class B) Hunter French Real Estate – 1:16.3079s
17. #66 Aaron Ireland (Invitational Class) Creditline Finance – 1:16.7955s
18. #87 David Greig (Class B) – 1:17.3114s