David Wall edges closer to 2017 Porsche title
Jaxon Evans has stormed to the biggest ever Porsche Carrera Cup Australia race victory on the streets of Surfers Paradise, while Stephen Grove won the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge battle.
Meanwhile, championship leader David Wall produced one of the best wet-weather drives of his career to charge from fifth to second and extend his title margin over nearest rival, Andre Heimgartner. The pair are now split by 68 points, with 120 up for grabs across Sunday’s two races.
In treacherous conditions the field started the race behind the Porsche Safety Car, however once green it didn’t take long for Evans to work his way through to the lead.
He first passed Nick McBride on the first lap of racing and then pounced on Heimgartner on lap five, with a bold move at turn eleven.
The McElrea Racing driver then disappeared away from the field to record a 10.5-second victory: the largest ever for a Carrera Cup race on any variation of the Gold Coast street circuit.
It was Evans’ fourth win of the season and came at his home event; he lives just 20 minutes North of the circuit on the Gold Coast.
“It’s awesome and I can’t thank the McElrea boys for tuning up the car before we went out,” Evans said.
“We weren’t sure what to expect, but to get to the lead and pull a pretty handy margin was pretty special. To do it here on my home soil is even better.”
Starting fifth, Wall gradually worked his way into podium contention in the shortened, 10-lap affair and spent several laps battling Heimgartner for second place.
The sensational fight included several side-by-side moments and was only decided in the race to the line, when Wall got a superior run out of the final corner and out-dragged his rival to the line to snatch second by 0.03s.
Having stared down a reduced points margin for much of the race, the critical move ultimately extended Wall’s championship lead heading into the final two races.
Behind the title rivals, Dylan O’Keeffe produced a strong drive to climb from seventh to fourth place, finishing hot on the heels of the two title combatants in front.
Michael Almond was also in the thick of the action and finished fifth, with Cam McConville sixth.
Garth Walden, Nick McBride – who started second but was shuffled down the field early – Brenton Grove and Alex Davison completed the top-10.
Davison had run as high as fourth in the race however lost track position when forced to take the escape road at turn eleven, ultimately working his way back into the top-10 by the end.
The former champion is now out of championship calculations, however retains third place in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia standings ahead of the final two races.
Stephen Grove’s twelfth win of the season came with three-time TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge champion Max Twigg hot on the heels of the Grove Racing Porsche.
Twigg started four positions behind Grove but gradually worked his way through the field to tail the newly crowned champion by less than one second at the line. Dean Cook finished third in class.
“I think they are some of the wettest conditions I have ever experienced. You’re trying to stay off the white lines, trying to see through the spray and it was really tough,” Grove said.
“The process for me was to try and build a gap, which I did, and then just managed it to make sure that we finished.”
James Abela was the only non-finisher, forced to withdraw to pit lane after his car suffered broken steering whilst involved in a furious battle for seventh and eighth place on lap four.
The final round of the 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship concludes tomorrow, with two races on the Gold Coast.
Race two will be the 28-lap finale of the Carrera Cup Endurance Cup, to be followed by the sprint race finale just prior to the final leg of the Vodafone Gold Coast 600.
Races two and three will be shown live on FOX Sports 506, with delayed coverage of the season finale’ also available on Channel 10.
Sunday October 22, 2017
8:50am Race 2 (28 laps)
1:05pm Race 3 (12 laps)
Race 3 – 1:10pm, Sunday October 22 (delayed)
Channel: Fox Sports 506
Race 2 – 8:50am, Sunday October 22
Race 3 – 1:05pm, Sunday October 22
Results, Race 1: Round 8, Gold Coast
1. #7 Jaxon Evans (QLD) (Outright) Hungry Jacks – 16:06.5505
2. #38 David Wall (NSW) (Outright) PAYCE/Wilson Security – 16:17.2123
3. #777 Andre Heimgartner (NZ) (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts / Money Now – 16:17.2480
4. #88 Dylan O’Keeffe (VIC) (Outright) APB Group/President Limo Australia – 16:17.7445
5. #26 Michael Almond (SA) (Outright) Copyworld – 16:18.3586
6. #5 Cameron McConville (VIC) (Outright) Repair Management Australia – 16:21.3328
7. #29 Garth Walden (NSW) (Outright) Platinum Nightclub - Broadbeach - 16:21.9171
8. #77 Nick McBride (VIC) (Outright) Sonic / Bob Jane T-Marts – 16:26.5504
9. #23 Brenton Grove (VIC) (Outright) Porsche Centre Melbourne - 16:26.9882
10. #888 Alex Davison (QLD) (Outright) President Limo Australia – 16:27.4166
11. #79 Jordan Love (WA) (Outright) Sonic Motor Racing / Quintis – 16:31.4064
12. #4 Stephen Grove (VIC) (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Group – 17:12.1503
13. #18 Max Twigg (VIC) (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) – 17:12.8238
14. #22 Dean Cook (VIC) Zonzo Racing - 17:17.6868
15. #33 Simon Ellingham (NZ) (Outright) Peak Marketing – 17:21.8195
16. #13 Sam Shahin (SA) (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) HTFU – 17:27.0524
17. #131 Graham Williams (VIC) (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) WRA – 17:02.6477
18. #9 Marc Cini (VIC) (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc – 17:11.6163
DNF. #136 James Abela (NSW) (Outright) Horsley Park Gun Shop – 1:13.5379 (-0.9743)