Saturday rain and shine

The 2021 Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships season has well and truly begun, with a frantic Saturday of qualifying and racing in both glorious sunshine and saturating rain.

Sunday’s schedule will likely be revised, with the National Trans Am Series and Porsche 944 Challenge not starting their second and first races respectively due to the wet weather. Tweaks to the schedule will be advised on speedseries.com.au and social media.

Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series
Melbourne Performance Centre’s Chaz Mostert made TCR Australia history in Saturday’s opening race, with the largest winning margin in the series’ second season.

Mostert’s Audi led home fellow teammate Luke King, with more than 30 seconds separating the pair in heavy rain after 14 laps of running.

The Ash Seward Motorsport Alfa Romeo of Lee Holdsworth rounded out the podium in third, which was enough to vault Jordan Cox out of the series lead.

TCR Australia are set for two more races on Sunday.

VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship
It was a mix of experience and youth on the top step of the podium, with S5000 completing two races in two different conditions.

Dual-Motorsport Australia Gold Star winner Macrow had an impressive launch in the opening race, describing it as one of the best in his career in post-race interviews. It was in vain, with the Hyundai Safety Car deployed on the opening lap for the stalled Braydan Willmington on the grid.

Macrow eventually rebuilt a lead ahead of Thomas Randle and Nathan Herne.

In the second race, seventeen-year-old Cooper Webster drove beyond his years to claim an impressive win by just over a second from Thomas Randle.

The field managed to mostly keep their S5000 machinery afloat in the wet weather, with Luis Leeds and Brayden Willmington colliding on the final lap as the pair crossed the chequered flag.

Randle’s runner-up spot ensured a 14-point lead over Tim Macrow, with the latter crossing the line in fifth place.

S5000 will enjoy a solitary hit out tomorrow, with the third and final race to decide the Phillip Island round winner.

Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge
Ryan Suhle backed up his Friday pole position with victory in the first race of the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge.

Suhle had to work hard for it, with just half a second separating he and fellow front-row starter Bayley Hall.

Courtney Prince impressed on her Porsche and tin-top debut to claim third place by one second over Christian Pancione.

The Michelin Sprint Challenge’s second race was a tough showing for Suhle, with a lock-up at a saturated Turn Four seeing the McElrea Racing pilot relinquish the lead.

Earl Bamber Motorsport enjoyed their first victory on Australia soil, with Callum Hedge enjoying a debut victory in the afternoon’s second race ahead of Suhle. Tom Taplin rounded out the podium in third.

The rain also caught out the likes of Bayley Hall, Andrew Goldie and Shane Barwood in the final stages, as the weather worsened.

Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge are to enjoy a solitary race on Sunday.

Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS
Audi drivers Garth Tander and Yasser Shahin enjoyed a steady finish in a frenetic first race for the return of the Motorsport Australia GT Championship.

Tander led the field home by 14 seconds in the hour long race, ahead of Triple Eight Mercedes-AMG pilots Jamie Whincup and Prince Jefri Ibrahim.

The TCR and GT3 double-stinting Chaz Mostert made a last lap dash to claim third, alongside teammate Tony Bates, ahead of Brad Schumacher – who himself topped the GT3 Trophy Series.

It was an unusual series of events on the opening lap of the race, with Aston Martin driver Michael Bailey suffering a heavy collision with the Turn Three tyre bundle. Adrian Deitz, Andrew MacPherson, Tony Quinn and Garry Higgon also encountered separate collisions on the opening lap.

The end of the race concluded in a similar fashion, with the Ferrari of Wayne Mack pirouetting on the approach to the start-finish line, as the first sprinkles of rain greeted the Phillip Island Circuit.

National Trans Am Series
Aaron Seton was unable to convert Friday’s pole position into a race win, with fellow Ford Mustang pilot Owen Kelly taking line honours in the 11 lap opening race.

Barely a tenth covered Kelly and Seton, with the duo in a class of their own.

Also double-stinting in S5000, Herne was the best of the rest in third, with his own mini-battle against Kyle Gurton and Tim Brook for the final spot on the podium.

Trans Am debutant Ben Grice was the only retirement from the race on lap eight.

Saturday’s second race was postponed due to severe wet weather, with a revised time to be announced for Sunday. Trans Am will now enjoy two races on Sunday.

Porsche 944 Challenge
Cameron Beller claimed pole position by a slim 0.2 seconds over Mark Taubitz, and another 0.3 seconds ahead of Adam Brewer.

With the poor weather affecting the 944 Challenge’s late-afternoon opening race, the field are set for a busy Sunday with three races slated. A revised time for the Porsche 944 Challenge, and any other changes, will be announced on speedseries.com.au and on social media.

Spectator Information
A reminder for all visiting spectators to ensure tickets are pre-purchased before your arrival to Phillip Island, and that if you are feeling or become unwell, to avoid your visit to Phillip Island.

There is also critical information with regard to a recent Coronavirus case in Queensland. If you have attended exposure sites, as listed by the Queensland Government, you must not attend the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships.

Tomorrow’s coverage on the screens of Seven begins from 10am on the 7plus app and 11am on 7mate.

Images: Speed Shots Photography