TEENAGER Aaron Love has become the third winner from three rounds in the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia, sweeping to victory at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit in Victoria.
In a winner-take-all finale, Love entered the final race of the weekend tied on points with teammate Max Vidau and Championship leader Harri Jones, but won the start and fended off his rivals in a stunning 11-lap sprint to score his second race win of the year – and take the round overall.
Harri Jones finished second overall to extend his title lead, while Max Vidau completed the podium.
Brett Boulton won TAG Heuer Pro-Am in race three, while Shane Barwood won a highly competitive round in the Pro-Am class. Andrew Goldie swept all three races to win Class B.
Love, however, was the star as he won the start and fended off Jones and Vidau before gradually pulling away from the battle for second, ultimately recording a three-second victory aboard his Sonic Motor Racing Porsche.
His results mirror the efforts of older brother Jordan, who won the Porsche PAYCE Carrera Cup Australia round at Phillip Island earlier this year.
As such, the Love brothers now each sit second in their respective championship standings heading into the second half of the year with Aaron now right in contention for the GT3 Cup Challenge title.
“A lot of hard work goes in to it. There’s something about this track and (brother, Jordan) and I that mix with this track really well,” Love said.
“I’m absolutely stoked, thanks to the Sonic boys this weekend. The team pushed me along though the last few races which has really helped and it’s great to come away with the win. It was a close fought battle between each of us this weekend in every race and that makes it even sweeter to come away with the round victory.
“It looks really good in the championship now and we will be pushing harder than ever for the championship coming into the second half of the season.”
The race was yet another thriller and while Love found himself with a margin late in the race, the battle behind was furious.
Jones and Vidau battled for the duration with the pair side-by-side on multiple occasions. The fight for second became a three-way battle late in the race when Ryan Suhle joined the fun, after he diced with Christian Pancione earlier on.
Tom Taplin charged to sixth place while Brett Boulton was seventh and first in TAG Heuer Pro-Am.
He and class leader Sam Shahin battled early in the race however the latter was forced out when his car stopped with damage at turn eleven at half-race distance.
Cameron Crick, Michael Hovey and Shane Barwood completed the top-10. Barwood sealed the TAG Heuer Pro-Am round victory thanks to a trio of consistent results as all three of the title contenders had issues throughout the weekend.
While Boulton and Shahin each had non-finishes this weekend, Ross McGregor was pinged five seconds for a start line infringement in the final race – costing him positions.
Michael Hovey finished second in class at Phillip Island while McGregor completed the podium.
Goldie won class B over Grieg and Tony Martin.
After the first three rounds, Harri Jones now leads the standings by 58 points as the series heads into a winter break, prior to the next round at Queensland Raceway in late July.
Vidau and Love are now tied for second position with Ryan Suhle and Christian Pancione fourth and fifth, respectively.
Sam Shahin continues to lead TAG Heuer Pro-Am, though his earlier comfortable margin has been reduced to 42 points. Ross McGregor remains second in class with Brett Boulton closing on each of them in third.
David Grieg retains the lead Class B however his margin has been reduced thanks to Andrew Godie’s clean sweep at Phillip Island.
After a busy start to the season, the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge field takes a well-earned break prior to the second half of the season commencing at Queensland Raceway on August 2-4.
The Ipswich round will also see the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy decided across all four classes.
Championship Standings – After 3 of 6 Rounds.
- Harri Jones 480
- Max Vidau 422
- Aaron Love 422
- Ryan Suhle 366
- Christian Pancione 310
- Tom Taplin 259
- Sam Shahin 249
- Cameron Crick 238
- Brett Boulton 185
- Ross McGregor 184
Race 3 Results
|Position||Car||Driver||Class||Laps||Race Time||Fastest Lap|
|1||78||Aaron Love (WA)||Pro||11||17:12.5635||1:32.6790|
|2||12||Harri Jones (Qld)||Pro||11||17:15.1545||1:32.5740|
|3||77||Max Vidau (SA)||Pro||11||17:17.5014||1:32.6072|
|4||7||Ryan Suhle (Qld)||Pro||11||17:19.2073||1:32.3630*|
|5||76||Christian Pancione (Vic)||Pro||11||17:26.5947||1:33.4419|
|6||26||Tom Taplin (SA)||Pro||11||17:33.5624||1:34.4088|
|7||84||Brett Boulton (Qld)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||11||17:43.4013||1:34.6628|
|8||777||Cameron Crick (ACT)||Pro||11||17:57.3471||1:33.3551|
|9||73||Michael Hovey (Qld)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||11||18:00.7257||1:35.8891|
|10||21||Shane Barwood (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||11||18:04.1709||1:36.2912|
|11||29||Rob Woods (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||11||18:08.8222||1:36.4034|
|12||22||Andrew Goldie (WA)||Class B||11||18:13.4168||1:36.7874|
|13||131||Graham Williams (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||11||18:16.0191||1:37.4249|
|14||99||Ross McGregor (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||11||18:17.3780||1:36.1580|
|15||87||David Greig (Vic)||Class B||11||18:24.8482||1:37.9237|
|16||14||Matt Belford (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||11||18:36.1152||1:37.7611|
|17||3||Jonathan Gliksten (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||11||18:36.3010||1:38.3433|
|18||9||Tony Martin (Qld)||Class B||11||18:40.1854||1:38.9433|
|19||5||Nathan Murray (Vic)||Class B||10||17:20.4983||1:41.2346|
|20||93||Marty Ewer (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||10||17:24.7785||1:42.0155|
|DNF||13||Sam Shahin (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||6||9:48.9730||1:33.9686|