Liam Talbot and Max Hofer fire first shot at Bathurst

The Shannons Insurance Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II of Liam Talbot and Max Hofer has taken victory in the opening race of the season at Bathurst.

A solid defence by Talbot in the opening stint from the similar Fuchs-backed Audi of leading Am Class competitor Brad Schumacher set up a lights-to-flag victory.

Talbot and Schumacher shared the front row, which led to an entertaining stint-long battle between the pair as dual-reigning series champ Yasser Shahin made a great start to be third in the EMA Motorsport/The Bend Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3R as he remained in touch during the first stanza.

Schumacher was unable to hold second at the flag as Garnet Patterson overhauled the Am Class leader during the final stint to place second on the team’s debut, while the Bathurst local completed a phenomenal drive to complete the podium.

Fourth in the end was the returning triple-Australian GT champion Geoff Emery partnered by Audi factory driver Christer Joens, while Jamie Whincup charged through the final stint to deliver fifth for Triple Eight Race Engineering alongside Prince Abu Bakar.

Broc Feeney and Prince Jefri Ibrahim followed their teammates home in seventh following an opening corner spin involving the GWR Australia Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Mike Bailey. The Triple Eight Race Engineering entry finished just ahead of Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport’s Ross Pourlakis with Sam Brabham as co-driver in another Mercedes-AMG GT3 after pitting late for a loose wheel.

GT Trophy winner Marcos Flack was eighth in the Sonic Motor Racing Services Porsche 911 Cup Car ahead of second placed Am Class entry of Marcel Zalloua and Sergio Pires in the Valmont Racing Audi.

Third place in Am Class was 11th outright in the form of Ash Samadi, while Geoff Taunton was the winner of Invitational Class in his MARC II placing 13th outright.

The Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS action concludes tomorrow with Race 2 at 9:20am AEST live on Stan Sport.