A THREE-WAY tie for round honours will be broken in the final race of Round 2 of the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit.
A dramatic Saturday at the iconic Victorian circuit set up tomorrow’s decider that has Aaron Love, Harri Jones and Max Vidau tied on 108 points each after two of the rounds’ three races.
Starting from pole, Max Vidau won a wild race one after a three-way fight with Jones and Love – that saw each of the three drivers lead the race on the opening lap.
If that was the entrée then the main course delivered even more as another Jim Richards Endurance Trophy classic added a new winner to the list this year.
Love starred in the 26-lap race later in the afternoon in another pitched battle with Jones and Vidau that saw intense battling from start to finish.
Jones jumped from second on the grid to an early lead in the trophy race and then spent much of the first half defending attack after attack launched at his McElrea Porsche by race one winner Vidau.
After several attempted moves for the lead, the Sonic driver then survived a wild, high-speed off at turn four mid-race after he and Jones caught lapped traffic – Vidau dropping back to sixth position before slowly recovering through the field.
That left Jones defending from Love, who finally worked his way past on lap 18.
The 16-year-old then edged away in the closing laps to record a stunning victory, becoming the fourth different winner in the eight races contested so far this season.
Jones finished second and Vidau third – after a heady battle with Christian Pancione and Ryan Suhle – to set up the three-way tie for the round results ahead of tomorrow’s finale.
Love, the younger brother of Porsche PAYCE Carrera Cup Australia title contender Jordan, was thrilled to record his maiden victory in the series after graduating from open-wheel racing this year.
“It can’t get much better than that,” he said. “I was nice and consistent and tried to let the race come to us at the start.
“We were on the back of Harri and it was a long fought battle from there. I ended up getting past him at turn two and I was really proud of that. I tried really hard for that. After that it was keeping my eyes forward – being calm with no mistakes.
“It will be a really good race tomorrow with the three of us close together on points. It will be all out tomorrow to see who comes out on top so we’ll see how it goes.”
Pancione finished fourth – just behind Vidau – while Suhle was also in the mix en-route to fifth place.
With Cameron Crick sixth, Brett Boulton came from the back of the field to win TAG Heuer Pro-Am and claim maximum points in the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy class fight.
The McElrea driver had started from the back of the field after failing to finish race one due to damage from an altercation on the opening lap (for which he was penalised), but charged through the field – and survived a spin at turn 12 – to take the class.
Tom Taplin finished eighth and Sam Shahin ninth – second in Pro-Am. Ross McGregor completed the top-10.
Love finished third in the earlier sprint race, won by Vidau after a pitched battle with Jones at the front of the field in the eight-lap dash.
Suhle and Pancione completed the top five, while Shane Barwood scored his first TAG Heuer Pro-Am victory of the season after title contenders Brett Boulton and Sam Shahin made contact at turn two – both spinning.
Andrew Goldie won both races in Class B to further close the margin to Class B leader David Grieg.
The final race of Round 3 commences at 9:10am on Sunday morning and will be streamed live via the GT3 Cup Challenge website and Shannons Nationals social media accounts.
Championship Standings – After Race 2, Round 3
- Harri Jones 426
- Max Vidau 374
- Aaron Love 362
- Ryan Suhle 324
- Christian Pancione 274
- Sam Shahin 249
- Tom Taplin 227
- Cameron Crick 212
- Ross McGregor 172
- Brett Boulton 156
Race 1 Results
|Pos||Car||Driver||CL Lap||Laps||Race Time||Fastest Lap|
|1||77||Max Vidau (SA)||Pro||8||15:11.3481||1:31.9865*|
|2||12||Harri Jones (Qld)||Pro||8||15:11.8408||1:32.1421|
|3||78||Aaron Love (WA)||Pro||8||15:12.8496||1:32.2306|
|4||7||Ryan Suhle (Qld)||Pro||8||15:14.4269||1:32.5262|
|5||76||Christian Pancione (Vic)||Pro||8||15:14.8536||1:32.4293|
|6||777||Cameron Crick (ACT)||Pro||8||15:16.1264||1:32.8550|
|7||21||Shane Barwood (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||8||15:25.2874||1:35.2665|
|8||99||Ross McGregor (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||8||15:25.6853||1:35.4064|
|9||22||Andrew Goldie (WA)||Class B||8||15:31.0965||1:36.2604|
|10||26||Tom Taplin (SA)||Pro||8||15:32.4895||1:34.6234|
|11||131||Graham Williams (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||8||15:35.7675||1:36.1317|
|12||73||Michael Hovey (Qld)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||8||15:36.5960||1:36.3625|
|13||87||David Greig (Vic)||Class B||8||15:43.1955||1:39.1409|
|14||29||Rob Woods (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||8||15:50.6337||1:39.1749|
|15||3||Jonathan Gliksten (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||8||15:53.5661||1:40.2667|
|16||5||Nathan Murray (Vic)||Class B||8||15:58.5206||1:42.3395|
|17||14||Matt Belford (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||8||16:08.2349||1:39.6331|
|18||13||Sam Shahin (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||8||16:10.6023||1:36.6188|
|19||9||Tony Martin (Qld)||Class B||8||16:16.3375||1:38.6567|
|20||93||Marty Ewer (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||8||16:20.3163||1:40.4964|
|DNF||84||Brett Boulton (Qld)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am|
Race 2 Results
|Position||Car||Driver||Class||Laps||Race Time||Fastest Lap|
|1||78||Aaron Love (WA)||Pro||26||42:20.4106||1:32.1617*|
|2||12||Harri Jones (Qld)||Pro||26||42:21.5577||1:32.4175|
|3||77||Max Vidau (SA)||Pro||26||42:33.3337||1:32.3597|
|4||76||Christian Pancione (Vic)||Pro||26||42:33.5610||1:32.7454|
|5||7||Ryan Suhle (Qld)||Pro||26||42:33.9336||1:32.7379|
|6||777||Cameron Crick (ACT)||Pro||26||42:37.0944||1:33.0446|
|7||84||Brett Boulton (Qld)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||26||42:48.3452||1:34.3046|
|8||26||Tom Taplin (SA)||PRO||26||42:52.5446||1:33.6636|
|9||13||Sam Shahin (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||26||42:58.5660||1:34.4205|
|10||99||Ross McGregor (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||26||43:01.1165||1:35.4363|
|11||73||Michael Hovey (Qld)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||26||43:02.3686||1:35.6442|
|12||21||Shane Barwood (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||26||43:27.9874||1:36.0455|
|13||22||Andrew Goldie (WA)||Class B||26||43:28.4191||1:35.9862|
|14||29||Rob Woods (NSW)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||26||43:32.0685||1:36.6494|
|15||131||Graham Williams (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||26||43:32.2741||1:36.4886|
|16||87||David Greig (Vic)||Class B||26||43:40.1594||1:37.5353|
|17||9||Tony Martin (Qld)||Class B||26||43:46.6991||1:37.6034|
|18||3||Jonathan Gliksten (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||25||43:45.3067||1:37.5999|
|19||14||Matt Belford (Vic)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||24||43:20.0457||1:37.9907|
|DNF||93||Marty Ewer (SA)||TAG Heuer Pro-Am||19||37:16.1519||1:40.1950|
|DNF||5||Nathan Murray (Vic)||Class B||9||15:30.4352||1:41.1599|
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