IF PRACTICE is anything to go by, the third round of the 2019 Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia could be one of the closest on record.
Title leader Harri Jones headed the field in his Heli Mods McElrea Racing Porsche GT3 Cup Car, however his 1m32.0964s best set in the second of two 30-minute sessions was only fractionally quicker than his teammate Ryan Suhle and round one winner, Max Vidau.
Suhle was just 0.0128s behind his teammate, while Vidau’s Bob Jane T-Marts Sonic Motor Racing entry was only 0.05s from the fastest time of the day.
It sets the tone for a highly competitive weekend in a series that saw three winners from the three races last time out at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Vidau had topped the first session of the day and looked to do the same in the second session – setting quick sector times on his final flying lap though he was ultimately unable to jump the McElrea pair ahead.
A cloudy and overcast day turned to bright sunshine by the second session, resulting in quicker times in practice two.
Aaron Love was fourth fastest in the second Sonic Motor Racing entry while Sam Shahin completed the top five, and was also fastest in TAG Heuer Pro-Am.
Christian Pancione was sixth fastest on home turf with Cameron Crick in seventh.
Brett Boulton was second fastest in Pro-Am, 0.7 seconds behind class leader Shahin, while Tom Taplin rounded out the Porsche Michelin Juniors in ninth.
Ross McGregor, second in the Pro-Am standings, completed the top-10.
Earlier, Vidau topped the first session by 0.2 seconds as the 21-strong field took to Phillip Island in cool and overcast conditions.
Jones and Love were next while Suhle completed the top four. Christian Pancione was fifth while Sam Shanin continued his excellent form by topping TAG Heuer Pro-Am in practice one.
Cameron Crick, Brett Boulton and an impressive Jonathan Glicksten – returning to the series this weekend – rounded out the top 10.
The Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge field will tackle three races this weekend at Phillip Island – two sprint races and the third instalment of the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy.
Qualifying, race one and race two – the endurance race – make up a busy Saturday program with the final race set for Sunday morning.
Harri Jones leads the 2019 championship thanks to his stunning victory – and misfortune for some of his nearest rivals – at Sydney Motorsport Park. Vidau, Love and Suhle each in close company for second, third and fourth respectively.
Sam Shahin leads the TAG Heuer Pro-Am standings over Ross McGregor and Brett Boulton.
Andrew Goldie topped class B in each session on Friday as he looks to close a 24 point margin to class leader David Grieg this weekend.
All of Saturday and Sunday’s action will be streamed live via the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge website, and thenationals.com.au.
Schedule – Round 3, Phillip Island
Saturday, 8 June
12:10–12:30pm: Race 1
3:10–3:55pm: Race 2 (Jim Richards Endurance Trophy)
Sunday, 9 June
9:10–9:30am: Race 3
TV Broadcast details
Qualifying and all three races will be streamed live via www.thenationals.com.au
Results – Practice 1
|1||77||Max Vidau (SA)||Pro||1:32.7261*|
|2||12||Harri Jones (Qld)||Pro||1:32.9708||0:00.2447|
|3||78||Aaron Love (WA)||Pro||1:33.1768||0:00.4507|
|4||7||Ryan Suhle (Qld)||Pro||1:33.1920||0:00.4659|
|5||76||Christian Pancione (Vic)||Pro||1:33.7376||0:01.0115|
|6||13||Sam Shahin (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:33.8508||0:01.1247|
|7||777||Cameron Crick (ACT)||Pro||1:34.2290||0:01.5029|
|8||84||Brett Boulton (Qld)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:34.3275||0:01.6014|
|9||26||Tom Taplin (SA)||Pro||1:34.9012||0:02.1751|
|10||3||Jonathan Gliksten (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:35.2752||0:02.5491|
|11||21||Shane Barwood (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:36.2358||0:03.5097|
|12||73||Michael Hovey (Qld)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:36.2535||0:03.5274|
|13||22||Andrew Goldie (WA)||Class B||1:36.5645||0:03.8384|
|14||131||Graham Williams (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:36.5837||0:03.8576|
|15||99||Ross McGregor (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:37.3304||0:04.6043|
|16||29||Rob Woods (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:37.4130||0:04.6869|
|17||14||Matt Belford (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:37.6827||0:04.9566|
|18||87||David Greig (Vic)||Class B||1:41.5044||0:08.7783|
|19||9||Tony Martin (Qld)||Class B||1:42.1945||0:09.4684|
|20||5||Nathan Murray (Vic)||Class B||1:43.2274||0:10.5013|
|21||93||Marty Ewer (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:49.9492||0:17.2231|
Results – Practice 2
|1||12||Harri Jones (Qld)||Pro||1:32.0964*|
|2||7||Ryan Suhle (Qld)||Pro||1:32.1092||0:00.0128|
|3||77||Max Vidau (SA)||Pro||1:32.1488||0:00.0524|
|4||78||Aaron Love (WA)||Pro||1:32.9318||0:00.8354|
|5||76||Christian Pancione (Vic)||Pro||1:32.9847||0:00.8883|
|6||13||Sam Shahin (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:33.0784||0:00.9820|
|7||777||Cameron Crick (ACT)||Pro||1:33.3407||0:01.2443|
|8||84||Brett Boulton (Qld)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:33.7943||0:01.6979|
|9||26||Tom Taplin (SA)||Pro||1:35.1922||0:03.0958|
|10||99||Ross McGregor (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:35.2296||0:03.1332|
|11||29||Rob Woods (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:35.5933||0:03.4969|
|12||21||Shane Barwood (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:35.6065||0:03.5101|
|13||73||Michael Hovey (Qld)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:35.6312||0:03.5348|
|14||131||Graham Williams (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:36.1937||0:04.0973|
|15||22||Andrew Goldie (WA)||Class B||1:37.1733||0:05.0769|
|16||14||Matt Belford (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:37.4335||0:05.3371|
|17||3||Jonathan Gliksten (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:37.8053||0:05.7089|
|18||87||David Greig (Vic)||Class B||1:38.4127||0:06.3163|
|19||9||Tony Martin (Qld)||Class B||1:40.6125||0:08.5161|
|20||93||Marty Ewer (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||1:43.3586||0:11.2622|
|21||5||Nathan Murray (Vic)||Class B||1:44.1375||0:12.0411|