Round 2 of the Shannon Nationals was held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit with five different categories racing around the 4.4 kilometre circuit. The line-up included the Australian GT Championship, the Australian Endurance Championship, Australian Formula 3, the Australian Radical Cup, and the Australian Production Car Championship.
AUSTRALIAN GT CHAMPIONSHIP
Garth Tander claimed pole position in the #2 Jamec Pem racing Audi R8 in Race 1 just pipping Shane Van Gisbergen in the Darrell Lea McLaren 650S GT3, but the focus for the majority of the race was on another McLaren driver, Nathan Morcom.
Morcom started in position 27 after officials found the car was underweight and he was sent to the back of the grid. He blitzed his way through the field and was in tenth position when the pit stop window opened shortly after a safety car period was caused by a stranded Lamborghini. When racing resumed, Morcom stormed from seventh to third before chasing down and then passing Yasser Shahin in a Lamborghini, and Tony Wallis in another McLaren. Morcom won the race ahead of Yasser Shahin and Klark Quinn/Shane Van Gisbergen in third place.
In race 2 Morcom started on pole, however Klark Quinn, who started from grid three, passed Yassar Shahin and Morcom to gain the lead by on lap two. Soon after the safety car was called out for the stranded Walkinshaw Racing Porsche 911 GT3R at turn four, but when the race resumed, Graham Smythe – in the Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 458 GT3 – went off track at turn one. He spun all the way through to turn two and was very lucky to be avoided by the rest of the field.
After pit stops, the Interloy Motorsports Lamborghini was battling for second position with Garth Tander in the Jamec Pem racing Audi R8. Tander succeeded, finishing behind the winning Yassar Shahin Bend Motorsport Lamborghini.
Formula 3 champion Tim Macrow, recorded a double victory to complete a clean sweep at Phillip Island, but faced a strong challenge by Chris Anthony from Gilmour racing in both races. All races were affected by rain and safety cars were called upon for most of the Saturday race. Anthony followed Macrow home, while Team BRM’s Trent Shirvington battled closely with Roland Legge to claim the final podium.
The opening race on Sunday had Anthony take the lead in the early laps, but it wasn’t long before Macrow passed him for the lead and took the win by 4.2 seconds. Trent Shirvington came third after late passes on Roland Legge and Cameron Shields. Macrow made a great start from pole in the third race and lead from start to finish. A spin for Shirvington at turn two on the opening lap brought out the safety car and on resumption Chris Anthony received 5-second penalty for jumping the restart. Macrow leads the championship by 19 points.
AUSTRALIAN ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
Shane Van Gisbergen and Klark Quinn started the ‘Phillip Island 101’ from pole in the Darrell Lea McLaren 650S, closely followed by Craig Baird in the Scott Taylor Motorsport Mercedes.
During the first round of pit stops, Baird ran into Van Gisbergen while entering pit lane as Miguel Molina in the Jamec Pem Audi R8 headed out on track and assumed the race lead. Quinn took over the McLaren, re-joining the race in position 18.
Some teams experienced tyre problems with 11 failures resulting from tyre de-lamination or punctures caused by track debris. The SRM BMW driven by Max Twigg and the JBS Lamborghini of David Russell all suffered right rear punctures during the first half of the race.
By the halfway point, Grant Denyer in the McLaren Melbourne 650S GT3 led by 19 seconds from Peter Hackett in the Eggleston Mercedes, Quinn in the Darrell Lea McLaren and the #80 Maranello Ferrari of Graeme Smyth and the Scot Taylor/Craig Baird Mercedes.
Morcom replaced Denyer in the McLaren on lap 72 after the second pit stop and lead to the finish. He was able to cruise until the final laps when he faced a charging Van Gisbergen in the Darrell Lea McLaren, who was just 0.27 seconds shy at the chequered flag. Dominic Storey and Peter Hackett finished third overall in the Mercedes AMG SLS-GT3.
AUSTRALIAN RADICAL CUP
Oliver Smith and Peter Paddon shared the spoils in the two Radical Australia Cup races at Phillip Island. Paddon took the first race win of the round, with Smith claiming the second heat.
Forced to fight their way from the rear of the field in the final race, Paddon and Smith carved their way up to the pointy-end of the grid in the early stages as John Morriss led the way from pole position.
After a safety car restart, Morriss and Paddon were shown the black flag for jumping the start, forcing the two leaders to serve drive-through penalties. With Morriss and Paddon out of the lead, Smith drove away from the field, winning by 20 seconds. Kim Burke followed Smith and managed to hold on for second in the race and third for the round.
Paddon didn’t allow the penalty to stop him finishing on the podium, coming from last to third in the final race. The 50 minute race was dominated by Paddon, who took the chequered flag by 14 seconds from Morriss with Smith in third.
AUSTRALIAN PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
Paul Morris and Luke Searle took the outright victory in the opening round of the Australian Production Car Series at Phillip Island. The Roadchill Freight Express BMW M135i pair dominated the four hour endurance to take the flag by 23 seconds, ahead of the Donut King Audi TTRS piloted by Tony Alford and Stuart Kostera.
The Sherrin Rentals BMW135i of Grant and Iain Sherrin looked set to claim the final place on the podium before drama struck with 20 minutes remaining. Grant Sherrin suffered a spin at the final corner which left his BMW up against the concrete wall. Sherrin managed to return the car to the track as a rain shower hit the circuit, but the damage was too substantial to continue. As a result, the Class C Osborne Motorsport Renault Megane of Colin Osborne and Rick Bates secured the final place on the podium.
Mark Eddy and Dean Grant brought the Network Clothing Audi TTRS home in fourth, ahead of the Beric Lynton and Aaron Seton BMW M1. Class B honours belonged to the Sherrin Rentals BMW of Michael Sherrin and David Russell who finished sixth outright
Words/Photos: Andrew Browne