TEENAGER Marcos Flack has sensationally charged to pole position for the opening round of the 2023 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia Series at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit.
The second-generation Porsche racer hovered around the top group of contenders for the first phase of today’s 30-minute qualifying session, however flew to the top of the charts on his final flying lap – in dominant style.
His 1m31.3032s flyer delivered him pole position by 0.48 seconds – a massive margin given the top-8 cars had been covered by less than that margin for much of the session.
In the Pro-Am class, Sam Shahin held out some intense competition to grab top spot in his category, while 2022 champion Lachlan Harburg topped Class B to kickstart his title defence.
Flack’s flyer delivered Sonic Motor Racing their first Sprint Challenge pole in several years and will see a pair of teenagers on the front row: Flack lining up alongside Team Porsche NZ junior Zak Stichbury.
“It was amazing,” Flack said.
“Being the first round good to start the season this way. We’ve got the job to do tomorrow – but this is the best way to start.”
The session was held in warm conditions at Phillip Island, with peak lap speed coming relatively early on each drivers’ run on a new set of Michelins.
Stichbury held top spot in the early stanza of qualifying before being bumped off pole by Flack late in the session.
The Team Porsche NZ driver was strong throughout practice and qualifying in what was a strong day for the Kiwi Porsche squad.
The second row will be made up of Aron Shields, who is making his first round start with TekworkX Motorsport, and Marco Giltrap.
Fifth was fast teenager Hamish Fitzsimmons, who enjoyed a strong debut session despite beaching his car at the top of Lukey Heights mid-way through qualifying – bringing out the red flag.
Lachlan Bloxsom was sixth for McElrea Racing, Ronan Murphy seventh on his debut and his Sonic teammate Harrison Goodman eighth.
Perth teenager Caleb Sumich was ninth and Tom Taplin tenth. Just one second covered Stichbury in second to Goodman in eighth, while six of the top 10 drivers were on their one-make Porsche debut today.
In Pro-Am, Sam Shahin grabbed top spot in qualifying but faced strong challenges from David Grieg, who qualified a personal-best second.
Grieg was just three-tenths behind Shahin with Brett Boulton just 0.1 seconds further back in third as he commences his Pro-Am class title defence.
Matt Slavin was fourth in class with Richard Cowen – who survived a wild ride on the exit of the final corner – and Andrew Goldie next.
Lachy Harburg scored pole in Class B – and 18th outright – with Brayden Taylor and Phil Morriss next.
The opening round of the 2023 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia Series kicks off at Phillip Island tomorrow, with three races to be contested.
The first two will be a pair of competitive 10-lap sprints, with the finale’ the first round of the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy series.
All three races will be streamed live on Blend Line TV via YouTube.