Liam Talbot has capped off Round 2 of the CAMS Australian GT Championship with a stunning victory in Albert Park.
A string of consistent performances set up Talbot’s across the event’s opening three days, while clever use of his Pirelli tyres paid dividends in the final race of the weekend.
Having started fourth, Talbot made his play for the lead midway around the third lap with an brilliant move on pole sitter Roger Lago.
Gaining good traction through Turn 9, Talbot had the momentum to draw alongside, racing side by side through Turn 11 before Lago was finally forced to ceded the position.
The door to door action wasn’t over there, with Max Twigg then launching an attack on Lago as they raced into Turn 13, taking the position.
The result marked Talbot’s second Australian GT victory, his first as a solo driver, and his first since 2013.
“I knew that we had the pace,” Talbot beamed. “We saved everything for the last race because of the big points.
“I don’t really know what happened on that restart,” he added. “Roger struggled and I had a massive opportunity with Max Twigg. We were then mowing down Roger, and I was just wondering where we could get him.
“Roger has done a great job all weekend, and all year, so I knew I was in for a challenge. Ultimately our tyre selection was the crucial difference there.”
An incident on the opening lap saw Fraser Ross drop down the order, before a strong recovery drive meant the Tekno Autosports McLaren 650S GT3 climbed back to 15th in the eight lap encounter.
Two corners later, the congested 28-car field saw Peter Major run out of room, dropping a wheel off the circuit which and saw him make contact with the luckless Hector Lester. with the incident drawing the first safety car of the weekend.
In the early exchanges Pirelli/Trofeo Motorsport driver Ryan Millier made great strides forward to sit four after starting ninth,only for a mechanical issue forced the Lamborghini to skate off track at turn one, drawing the safety car for a second time.
Race 2 pole sitter Max Twigg (Australian Engineered Flooring Mercedes-AMG GT3) claimed second place behind Talbot and netting victory in the Gold Driver Cup for the weekend.
Geoff Emery rounded out the podium in the Valvoline Audi R8 LMS, he and co-driver Kelvin van der Linde taking out the round courtesy of strong results in all four races.
The points haul sees the duo move into fourth in the Australian GT Championship, which is now led by Lago in the JBS Australia Lamborghini R-EX.
Lago and co-driver David Russell were strong contenders across all four races, their weekend’s efforts rewarded with Lago leaping to the top of the Championship standings, and second overall for the weekend.
Victory for Talbot in the finale saw the Walkinshaw GT3 driver take third for the round, a mighty effort for the solo racer, and record the team’s first Australian GT race win.
“To stand on my own two feet without a Pro driver in this format, which is very tough, I couldn’t thank the team enough,” said Talbot. “They did a great job; it’s a real team effort.”
The Invitational Class was dominated by Wayne Mack aboard the Mack Roofing Products Ferrari 458 ahead of Matthew Turnbull (Fire Rating Solutions Lamborghini Gallardo) and Michael O’Donnell (Shoal/Thomson Geer Lawyers Porsche GT3 Cup Car).
The CAMS Australian GT Championship now moves on to Barbagallo (May 5 – 7) for its fourth round, while Australian GT will be back in action with the opening round of the 2017 CAMS Australian GT Trophy Series presented by Pirelli at Sandown in two weeks (April 7 – 9).
Race 4 Results
Pos Competitor/Team Driver Vehicle Time
1 MEGA Racing Liam Talbot Porsche 911 GT3-R 28:29.980
2 Australian Engineered Flooring Max Twigg Mercedes-AMG GT3 28:31.599
3 Valvoline Geoff Emery/Kelvin van der Linde Audi R8 LMS 28:33.360
4 JBS Australia Roger Lago/David Russell Lamborghini R-EX 28:34.196
5 Interlloy M Motorsport Yasser Shahin/Glen Wood Lamborghini R-EX 28:34.821
6 Supabarn Supermarkets James Koundouris/Ash Walsh Audi R8 LMS 28:35.473
7 Objective Racing Tony Walls McLaren 650S GT3 28:36.579
8 Moveitnet/AFS Tony Bates Mercedes-AMG GT3 28:37.808
9 Hallmarc Construction Marc Cini/Dean Fiore Audi R8 LMS 28:38.596
10 Valvoline Tim Miles Audi R8 LMS 28:38.889
11 Hog’s Breath Café/Griffith Corporation Mark Griffith/Jake Camilleri Mercedes-AMG GT3 28:40.697
12 BMW Team SRM Steve Richards/James Bergmuller BMW M6 GT3 28:41.387
13 Maranello Motorsport Peter Edwards Ferrari 488 GT3 28:41.933
14 Industrie Clothing Nick Kelly Audi R8 Ultra 28:42.023
15 Tekno Autosports Fraser Ross/Lewis Williamson McLaren 650S GT3 28:42.097
16 HHH Triffid Racing Michael Hovey Lamborghini R-EX 28:45.619
17 Darrell Lea Tony Quinn McLaren 650S GT3 28:48.754
18 AMAC Motorsport Andrew Macpherson Lamborghini Huracan GT3 28:49.606
19 Mack Roofing Products Wayne Mack Ferrari 458 GT3 28:50.067
20 Timken Zagame Motorsport Adrian Deitz/Cameron McConville Lamborghini Huracan GT3 28:51.141
21 Scott Taylor Motorsport Scott Taylor Mercedes-AMG GT3 28:53.228
22 Fire Rating Solutions Mathew Turnbull Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 28:55.417
23 KFC Gary Higgon/Daniel Gaunt Audi R8 LMS 28:55.822
24 Shoal/Thomson Geer Lawyers Michael O’Donnell Porsche GT3 Cup Car 28:58.083
DNF Pirelli/Trofeo Motorsport Ryan Millier/Ivan Capelli Lamborghini Huracan GT3 16:20.375
DNF DJS Racing Danny Stuttered BMW M6 GT3 14:25.312
DNF PM Motorsport Peter Major Lamborghini R-EX
DNF Rosso Verde Racing Hector Lester/Benny Simonsen Ferrari 458 GT3