Phillip Island: Saturday wrap

Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered By AWS

Yasser Shahin and Garnett Patterson have won the first race of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered By AWS  weekend, elevating them to the top of the outright standings.

Having qualified in second place earlier in the day, the Porsche 911 GT3R pilots led for most of the race after replacing pole sitters Liam Talbot and Fraser Ross on the opening lap, only dropping the lead during their pitstop.

In what was a strong performance from the Bend Motorsport Park duo, they never looked like letting go of the lead once they regained it despite crossing the line just four tenths ahead of the Mercedes AMG GT3 of Jayden Ojeda and Ross Poulakis, who picked up pole in Q2.

While the front duo put on a show, the standout performers of the race were Brenton and Stephen Grove in the Grove Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3R Porsche 911 GT3R, as the father-son duo rounded out the podium after starting from dead last.

Taking advantage of pit stops and an aggressive strategy, the Groves managed to charge through to the field during the one-hour race to comfortably pick up third by almost two seconds.

Rounding out the top five were the two entries who dominated yesterday’s practice sessions with Geoff Emery and Max Offer in the Jamec Racing Audi R8 LMS Evo 2 beating Justin McMillan and Glen Wood to the line.

It ended up being a tough hour for the polesitters, who finished sixth for the race and ahead of GTA winners Michael Sheargold and Garth Walden, while Renee Gracie won the GT3 class.

Ojeda and Poulakis will lead the field in the category’s second race for the weekend at 12:50pm AEST tomorrow.

Mobil 1 Australian Production Car Series / Monochrome GT4 Australia Series

The combined category once again saw the GT4 cars dominate the race as the top five all belonged to the Monochrome GT4 Australia Series.

Taking out the outright victory was Shane Smollen after the Porsche Cayman driver reached the chequered flag more than one and half seconds ahead of the second placed Tony Quinn, who made it a Porsche Cayman one-two.

Mark Griffth grabbed the final spot on the podium after guiding his Mercedes AMG to third just half a second off Quinn, while Steve Jukes and Karl Begg made up the rest of the top five a few seconds behind.

Claiming the Mobile 1 Australian Production Cars victory was Grant Sherrin in his Sherrin Rentals BMW M4, beating A2 winner Coleby Cowham by just six tenths.

Rounding out the Production Cars outright top three was Iain Sherrin, while other class winners included Tyler Meklem (Class A1), Tom Needman (Class C) and Liam Moyse (Class D), Rob Rubis (Class B1) and Phil Alexander (Class E).

The category has two races tomorrow with the first at 9:10am AEST and the second at 12:10pm.

S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship

Reigning champion Joey Mawson has delivered his ACM Finance 88 Racing / Team BRM team a fourth consecutive S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship race win, taking out the first outing of the Phillip Island round.

Starting second alongside polesitter Cooper Webster, Mawson made the better start of the two and led the field into the opening corner.

The New South Welshman was never majorly challenged throughout the race as he went on to claim 13th career S5000 race, moving past 200 laps led in the process, with the only expiation being on the restart from the race’s sole safety car intervention.

Webster would eventually cross the line in second place ahead of James Golding, who edged out GRM teammate Aaron Cameron.

The S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship returns tomorrow with the first race at 10:20am AEST.

Kumho V8 Touring Car Series

After a minor mishap during yesterday’s practice sessions, Jude Bargwanna was in a league of his own today as he took out a 24-second race win on his official debut.

The teenager set the benchmark for the category early in the day after a strong qualifying run saw him claim pole position, and he took that form into the race and never looked like relinquishing his lead.

Comfortably finishing the race in second place was Jim Pollicina after he broke away from an intense battle with Ray Hislop.

While Bargwanna was well in front, Pollicina had his hands full with Hislop for much of the race until Hislop found himself facing the wrong way with just three laps to go.

Despite the error, Hislop recovered to cross the line in third place and keep himself in the hunt.

The series has two races tomorrow with the first at 9:50am and the second at 2:00pm AEST.

National Trans Am Series

Owen Kelly has picked up his first National Trans Am Series race win for 2023 after a thrilling opening race at Phillip Island.

After qualifying in second place behind the in-form James Moffat, Kelly held position off the line and maintained second place through the opening stages of the race.

Kelly held his position behind Moffat for much of the race, until a mechanical black-flag forced Moffat into an unplanned pit-stop, elevating Kelly into a comfortable lead.

Behind him, the battle for podium places continued to heat up with Brett Holdsworth, Lochie Dalton and Morris alternating places all while putting on a fantastic show for the punters.

In the end, it was Morris and Holdsworth who would round out the podium behind Kelly after Dalton was forced to the pits.

The National Trans Am Series will take the track again on Sunday as they gear up for their first of two races at 10:55am AEST.

Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series

HMO Customer Racing’s Josh Buchan has dominated the opening race of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series, leading the dramatic from start to finish.

Buchan got the jump from pole in his Hyundai i30N Sedan, whilst reigning series champion Tony D’Alberto also got a great start from third on the grid and got past Zac Soutar’s Audi for second.

More drama came on the penultimate lap as D’Alberto suffered a right front tyre failure on the Gardner Straight – having only just lost second place to Lachlan Mineeff’s Audi at MG Corner.

Mineeff would finish a brilliant second in his older-spec Audi RS3 LMS SEQ, whilst Aaron Cameron rounded out the podium with a fine drive from eighth on the grid in his Team Valvoline GRM Peugeot.

The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series is back on track for two races tomorrow, with the first race being the reverse top ten affair at 11:30 am.

Sunday’s races will be broadcast live, ad-break free and on demand on Stan Sport.