Townsville Round Win Extends Muscat’s Championship Lead
Richard Muscat won round three of the Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli in Townsville this weekend, further increasing his lead in the championship.
A win in race three, a second place in race one, and a third place in race two, combined to give the Erebus Academy driver the edge over his rivals at his first street circuit race meeting.
“The weekend was really very challenging,” said Muscat.
“I did a lot of simulator work before the event, and it paid off, and we managed to be one of the quickest cars this weekend.”
A crucial pass on Tony Quinn on the opening lap of race three enabled Muscat to control the race and conserve the tyres and brakes on his #36 SLS AMG GT3, contributing to his race win.
“Race three was all about management,” he said.
“We had a good start and were second at the first corner, and on the same lap I passed Tony Quinn going into turn 11, and I took the lead.
“From there I just controlled my race.”
In race two earlier on Sunday, the youngster showed composure beyond his 21-years after spinning whilst in the lead, but still managing to salvage a third place.
“Coming out of turn nine on lap 12 I think, I lost the rear on the exit and I spun the car,” he admitted.
“But I recovered and finished race two in third, so it was a good recovery.”
Race one on Saturday earlier in the weekend was marred by confusion during the safety car period, which was after Muscat’s pitstop.
“Richards was about three seconds in front of us after the first lap, and we slowly crept up and we got to within about half a second of Richo before we pitted,” said Muscat.
“So everything was going well, and then with 15 minutes to go, the safety car came out and there was a bit of confusion with the safety car which really hurt us, but we managed to finish the race in second position.
“Passing Tony Quinn with two corners to go was pretty good for my championship as well!”
Marking the halfway point of the championship, round four will be held at Sydney Motorsport Park in August where the youngster has had much success in the past, and holds the lap record in the GT3 Cup Challenge and the 944 Challenge categories.
“I really like Sydney Motorsport Park, it’s a bit like Phillip Island in that it’s high speed, so a lot of aero,” he said.
“It’s a track where a proper GT car is really fun to drive with those fast corners, so I’m looking forward to going back there in the SLS AMG GT3 this time.”
In the meantime, Muscat will head to Europe to compete in the Blancpain Endurance Series and the Carrera Cup Great Britain, with races at the 24 Hours of Spa and Snetterton respectively.
“I had a very successful weekend at Townsville and extended my championship lead which is the main thing, and I’m looking forward to Sydney for the next round,” he said.
“But with a gap in the Australian GT schedule between rounds three and four, when the opportunity to race in Europe came up, I grabbed it.
“I love racing in whatever category I can as it all helps to keep me race fit, and racing in Europe is great exposure for my career.
“It is also valuable miles which young drivers don’t usually get, so I hope to do a good and mature job.”