Cooper Murray was the standout performer in the opening Phillip Island race for round three of the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia championship, while Marcel Zalloua and Ben Stack endured a race-long battle for the Pro-Am lead.
After claiming pole position, Murray took the race one lead into the opening corner but was not able to pull away from the chasing Max Vidau. The duo pushed for the first half of the race until Vidau left the track on lap eight and was thereafter stranded in the turn two run-off area, handing Murray a lengthy margin to his nearest rival, Simon Fallon.
Murray ultimately claimed an impressive 10-second victory from Fallon, with Chelsea Angelo claiming third place; her second top-three result so far this season.
“I’m very happy with the win and it’s a great way to start the weekend. The team gave me a great car; I just had to drive it straight to come away with the win,” said Murray.
“Max was there at the start and then dropped away, so there wasn’t a huge amount of pressure for the final part of the race. It’s now great to have a gap in the points in case something does go wrong, but we’re not even half way through the season and there’s a lot of racing remaining.”
Marcel Zalloua and Ben Stack were in a tussle for the Pro-Am lead for the majority of the 11-lap race, a battle that Zalloua ultimately won by a mere 0.3secs. The result was the equal season-best result by a Pro-Am driver in the overall results.
“I’m pretty shocked with the result to be honest. It was an amazing race and it’s fantastic to get the Pro-Am win and place fourth overall,” said Zalloua.
“I rate myself as pretty much a rookie so to be that far up the order and stay there… I’m pretty chuffed.
“Ben had some heat on me for most of that race. I managed to get past early and I was hanging on for dear life for the rest of the race.”
Pro-Am points leader Danny Stutterd placed sixth outright and third in the Pro-Am class from Michelin Junior Jimmy Vernon, Shane Barwood, Sam Fillmore and Luis Leeds; Leeds and Vernon both overcoming opening lap dramas to come through the field and finish in the top 10.
David Greig was the best of the Class B runners, placing 11th outright in his second-generation 997-series 911 GT3 Cup car, with Andrew Goldie and Christian Pancione placing second and third in the class.
The remaining two Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia races at Phillip Island will feature on Sunday, both of which can be viewed via the Shannons Nationals live stream, available from www.thenationals.com.au.
Sunday June 3, 2018
9:10am – Race 2 (12 laps)
12:05pm – Race 3 (12 laps)
Results: Race 1
|Position||Car||Driver||Class||Laps||Race time||Fastest Lap|
|11||87||David Greig||Class B||11||17:58.9734||1:35.9598|
|13||22||Andrew Goldie||Class B||11||18:05.9559||1:36.4080|
|17||76||Christian Pancione||Class B||11||18:11.6310||1:35.3632|
|20||88||Phil Morriss||Class B||11||18:16.9304||1:37.0133|
|21||117||Sergio Pires||Class B||11||18:25.2473||1:37.1535|
|22||57||Richard Bloomfield||Class B||11||18:36.2995||1:37.9015|
|DNF||9||Tony Martin||Class B||6||12:23.7976||1:39.8349|
|DNF||15||Vince Misuraca||Class B||1||1:48.6803||1:48.6803|