Porsche Carrera Cup Qualifying at Surfers Paradise
Andre Heimgartner has given his chances of winning the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship the best possible boost, taking the TAG Heuer Pole Position on the Gold Coast today.
Meanwhile, TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge champion-elect Stephen Grove grabbed his class pole position as he seeks to wrap up his second title in style.
Heimgartner trails championship leader David Wall by 62 points ahead of the three races this weekend, however a stunning 1m12.5636s final lap saw him lock away the top spot – with his nearest rivals for the championship only able to climb as high as the third row of the grid.
Adding to his already good day, Heimgartner’s Sonic Motor Racing teammate Nick McBride qualified second with a last-minute flyer late in the session – locking out the front row for the Melbourne squad with the pair split by just 0.19s.
Sonic’s 1-2 qualifying punch has given Heimgartner the best possible advantage to try and reel in Wall’s championship lead, starting with race one tomorrow morning.
“I’m pretty pumped. It’s a weekend where I need to win every race to give myself the best chance in the championship. It puts us in a good position for tomorrow; it’s going to be wet so you never know what to expect. We’ll have to see what comes and play it by ear,” said Heimgartner.
Jaxon Evans qualified third on his Surfers Paradise Street Circuit debut, however was 0.4s from Heimgartner’s stunning pole position lap.
Michael Almond qualified fourth, though was frustrated by traffic that could have seen him potentially further up the grid.
However, in what may be a smart call, the Adelaide driver was able to save a new set of tyres today – a decision that could pay off later in the weekend should conditions remain dry.
Championship contenders David Wall (5th) and Alex Davison (6th) both struggled to compete with their Sonic Motor Racing rivals and will line up together on the third row of the grid.
Wall competed for the top spot early in the session but was unable to match the Sonic cars on his second new-tyre run, while Davison’s sixth place came after enduring gearbox issues during an earlier practice session.
The 2004 Carrera Cup Champion was forced to replace a clutch prior to qualifying and could only manage the sixth fastest time in the 20-minute dash.
Dylan O’Keeffe and Cam McConville completed the fourth row, while James Abela and the returning Garth Walden rounded out the top 10.
Surfers Paradise rookie Brenton Grove was eleventh and fellow first-timer Jordan Love twelfth – the pair of GT3 Cup Challenge Australia graduates rebounding from contact with the wall earlier in the day on their respective street circuit debuts.
Grove’s TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge pole position came despite becoming the first driver at this year’s Gold Coast event to find the wall; bouncing the rear of his 911 GT3 Cup car off the tyre barriers on the exit of turn ten.
With his car quickly repaired, his closest rival for class honours tomorrow will be Dean Cook, who managed to edge Marc Cini out by 0.05s for second and third in class.
“It’s good to come here and put it on pole position, which gives you an advantage in race one. We have a staggered grid and it’s really hard to pass. Hopefully with a good start we can push on and claim a race one win,” said Grove.
Max Twigg – who rebounded from a crash in practice two – Sam Shahin and Graham Williams completed the Challenge class runners.
The first of three Porsche Carrera Cup Australia races will be held on Saturday. The 12-lap race will start at 10:45am local time and will be shown live on Fox Sports 506, and delayed on Channel 10 later in the day.
Sunday’s two races complete the weekend, including the 28-lap Endurance Cup race on Sunday morning.
The Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Champion will be crowned shortly after the 1:45pm season finale’ on Sunday afternoon.
Saturday October 21, 2017
10:45am Race 1 (12 laps)
Sunday October 22, 2017
8:50am Race 2 (28 laps)
1:05pm Race 3 (12 laps)
Race 1 – 12:40pm, Saturday October 21 (delayed)
Race 3 – 1:10pm, Sunday October 22 (delayed)
Channel: Fox Sports 506
Race 1 – 10:45am, Saturday October 21
Race 2 – 8:50am, Sunday October 22
Race 3 – 1:05pm, Sunday October 22