Max Twigg and Tony D’Alberto have claimed the maiden CAMS Australian GT Championship race at The Bend Motorsport Park.
The WM Waste Management backed duo converted pole position into a comfortable win, commanding the race for long periods.
Leading 43 laps, they headed home Liam Talbot and John Martin in the Walkinshaw GT3 Porsche 911 GT3-R, and Steve Richards and Michael Almond in the BMW Team SRM M6 GT3.
“If you drive outside your rating, you win – it’s like golf, if you play better than your handicap you do well,” said Twigg.
“I think I drove well, I think Tony drove well, and that’s what happens. We stayed out of trouble, we qualified strongly, and we just put it together.
“If you win any of these endurance races, it’s three times as good. It’s a major, it’s the one you want to win,” he added.
“And a new circuit, we worked it out quickly, and the track came to me more and more as I drove it. I’m thrilled.”
“Max did a fantastic job at the start, settled into a nice rhytym, handed the car over to me in first and it was pretty simple from there on,” explained D’Alberto.
“The car was fantastic. The STM boys just did a great job; the pit stops were clean, and that’s what we were aiming for this weekend.
“Thanks to all my sponsors, WM Waste, V-Spec Performance, all the guys who get me here, it’s just nice to repay some of their faith.”
Having qualified on pole, Twigg slipped behind Martin at the start, before Jake Fouracre (Eggleston Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3) claimed third with a strong move on the second tour.
Following an early safety car Tiwgg briefly dropped to fifth before climbing his way back up the order as those around him began to pit.
Running an alternate strategy, Twigg remained in the car for the first 38 laps before handing it to D’Alberto for the back half of the race.
The Talbot/Martin entry held second for much of the race, the early safety cars eliminating the lead Martin had built on the opening two laps.
The Hot Wheels Car Care Products entry proved a force throughout the race, recording a strong second place finish.
An equally impressive performance from the BMW Team SRM crew was rewarded with the final podium position, with Steven Richards well supported by Michael Almond.
The fast starting Almond climbed one spot on the opening lap, working his way forward before handing the car to Richards on Lap 35.
Richards came close to Martin in the dying stages of the race, but with only a handful of laps remaining he was unable to bridge the gap to mount a serious challenge.
In GT4 Class, the Interlloy M Motorsport KTM X-Bow of Justin McMillan and Glen Wood continued their domination of the weekend, claiming the class win by more than ten seconds over Jeremy Gray and Andrew Miedecke (JMG/Bilstein Aston Martin Vantage GT4).
David Crampton and Trent Harrison rounded out the GT4 Class podium in the Vantage Freight backed KTM.
David Reynolds, who shared the Aussie Driver Search Mercedes with Jaie Robson, recorded the fastest lap of the race, his 1:47.6978s also the new outright lap record at The Bend.
In Championship terms, Twigg and D’Alberto now head the Australian GT Championship by two points over Martin and Talbot by just two points.
They also head the CAMS Australian Endurance Championship after the first of three rounds.
Australian GT next heads to Sandown for Round 3 of the Australian GT Championship on May 11-13.
Race Result: CAMS Australian GT Championship, The Bend
Pos Competitor/Team Driver Vehicle Laps Race Time
1 WM Waste Management Max Twigg/Tony D’Alberto Mercedes-AMG GT3 78 2:41:30.872
2 Walkinshaw GT John Martin/Liam Talbot Porsche 911 GT3-R 78 2:41:39.724
3 BMW Team SRM Steve Richards/Michael Almond BMW M6 GT3 78 2:41:41.266
4 KFC/Ctech Laser/Moveitnet/B&B Tony Bates/Daniel Gaunt Audi R8 LMS 78 2:41:42.938
5 Total/Opti-Coat/Logitech Fraser Ross/Duvashen Padayachee McLaren 650S GT3 78 2:41:46.046
6 Eggleston Motorsport Peter Hackett/Jake Fouracre Mercedes-AMG GT3 78 2:41:46.597
7 Objective Racing Tony Walls/Warren Luff McLaren 650S GT3 77 2:41:37.806
8 Timken Zagame Motorsport Adrian Deitz/Cameron McConville Lamborghini Huracan 77 2:41:38.224
9 Ah Apartments Ash Samadi/Dylan O’Keeffe Audi R8 LMS 77 2:41:40.734
10 Scott Taylor Motorsport Scott Taylor/Craig Baird Mercedes-AMG GT3 77 2:41:41.589
11 Mriani Beef Jerky Tony Quinn/Shane van Gisbergen McLaren 650S GT3 77 2:41:45.277
12 Valvoline Geoff Emery/Garth Tander Audi R8 LMS 76 2:41:41.830
13 Haemokinesis/Trofeo Estate/FreeM Jim Manolios/Dean Canto Lamborghini Huracan 75 2:41:32.158
14 Aussie Driver Search Jaie Robson/David Reynolds Mercedes-AMG GT3 75 2:41:36.382
15 The Bend Motorsport Park Yasser Shahin/Luke Youlden Mercedes-AMG GT3 74 2:41:56.737
16 Interlloy M Motorsport Justin McMillan/Glen Wood KTM X-Bow 72 2:42:25.799
17 JMG Bilstein Jeremy Gray/Andrew Miedecke Aston Martin Vantage GT4 72 2:42:36.389
18 Interlloy M Motorsport David Crampton/Trent Harrison KTM X-Bow 71 2:42:24.809
DNF Hogs Breath Café/Griffith Corporation Mark Griffith/Harrison Jones Ginetta G55 GT4 62 2:21:42.447
Australian GT Championship Standings*
Max Twigg/Tony D’Alberto 404
Liam Talbot/John Martin 402
Peter Hackett 328
Fraser Ross 325
Steve Richards 299
Jaie Robson 270
Tony Bates/Daniel Gaunt 267
Scott Taylor/Craig Baird 261
Geoff Emery 260
Michael Almond 235*provisional
Australian GT Championship GT4 Class Standings*
Justin McMillan 476
Jeremy Gray 470
Glen Wood 320
Andrew Miedecke 279
David Crampton/Trent Harrison 244
Xavier West 189
Mark Griffith 163
Harrison Jones 14*provisional
Australian Endurance Championship Standings
Max Twigg/Tony D’Alberto 315
Liam Talbot/John Martin 282
Steve Richards/Michael Almond 235
Tony Bates/Daniel Gaunt 198
Fraser Ross/Duvashen Padayachee 196
Peter Hackett/Jake Fouracre 193