Matt Slavin has closed the gap to Pro-Am series leader, Sam Shahin after a personal-best weekend in Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge at Queensland Raceway.
A maiden round win for Slavin sees the gap to Shahin close to 87 points, with the latter suffering a crucial DNF in an opening race that was eventually won by the former.
While he couldn’t repeat his race one success, a third-place class finish in race two had the Victorian on the front foot, meaning despite finishing fourth in class in race three, he comfortably took round honours ahead of David Greig.
Grieg now sits in third place more than 100 points behind Slavin, making it a two-horse race while Andrew Goldie and Richard Cowan round out the top five.
After putting together his best weekend of the year, Slavin was thrilled to come away with the Pro-Am round win in his first appearance at the Ipswich circuit.
“I’m very happy to have gotten a race and a round win, it’s great to see the results show after putting in all the hard work with Ash Seward to get myself up to speed as quickly as possible,” Slavin said.
“I was able to carry a bit of momentum from Sydney, I hadn’t raced at Queensland Raceway before, only a little bit of practice in the simulator, so I was able to carry a bit of confidence and comfort from two weeks ago to make it all flow a bit better.
“This is my first full season; we have the intent to learn as much as possible, but we don’t want to be going around in circles with no results.
“This result not only gave us some handy points for the weekend, but for the overall points tally too. I feel like I was able to validate the process I’ve made throughout the year.
“Sam was unfortunate in race one, which helped reduce the gap going into the next round where he will have a massive home ground advantage.
“I was trying to keep myself out of trouble as much as I could, I knew I couldn’t get a DNF and it almost got me in trouble a couple of times, but it all worked out in the end.
“It’s all a part of the learning curve.”
The series now has a large break before the next round at Shell V-Power Motorsport Park – another circuit where Slavin hasn’t competed at before.
“We now have a long break until Tailem Bend, it’s a long time to think about it and a long time to lose the feeling behind the wheel, I’ll have to make sure I get a test day in beforehand,” Slavin added.
“A test day could be crucial to get that feeling back so we can go into the Friday practice on the front foot.
“I have more motivation now to keep fit and spend plenty of time in the simulator to close the gap even further.”
In the outright Pro standings, Marco Giltrap has further extended his lead at the top of the outright Pro tally.
With the gap to the top now at 141 points, the title is arguably the New Zealanders to lose with only two rounds remaining in 2023.
After picking up his maiden round win at Sydney Motorsport Park last month, Aron Shields amassed enough points to climb into second in the standings after a drama-free round in Queensland.
An impressive weekend for Zac Stitchbury and Oscar Targett sees them move into third and fourth respectively, while Ronan Murphy drops out of the top five.
While not impossible, the chasing pack would need everything to go their way to be within a shot by the final round at Mount Panorama.
Queensland Raceway outright round winner, Nash Morris remains outside of title contention after missing the majority of the first half of the season.
The next round of the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia season will take place at Shell V-Power Motorsport Park on 13-15 October.