GWR Australia has successfully completed one of its busiest-ever race weekends, achieving stellar results across four different national categories in the opening round of the Shannons Nationals at Sydney Motorsport Park.
The Sydney operation ran a total of eight cars, enlisting a staff of 22 crew members to manage trackside operations.
Radical Australia Cup – Perini Scores Maiden Round Win
Chris Perini has closed to within four points of the Radical Australia Cup lead after taking his first overall round win the category. Perini qualified on pole position and drove to a dominant victory in Race 1. Despite suffering a steering glitch in the second of the 50-minute races, Perini still salvaged sixth, accumulating enough points to win the weekend.
“It’s nice to have some luck go our way this weekend, and the car was sensational especially in Race 1,” Perini said.
“It was a very important weekend in terms of the championship, and has put us right back in the game.”
Race 1 was especially strong for GWR, Kosta Pohorukov and Stephen Champion making it a 1-2-3 for the team. Both drivers suffered some misfortune in Race 2, Pohorukov with mechanical problems and Champion with an extra pit stop.
Peter Paddon also had a tough weekend, suffering mechanical problems in practice which saw him swap into Kim Burke’s Radical SR3 RSX. Paddon retired after contact with Paul Braico in Race 1, but charged to second in Race 2.
Braico qualified in the top five but retired from Race 1 after the aforementioned contact from Paddon, and was then caught as an innocent victim in an incident at the start of Race 2.
Australian Prototype Series
Stephen Champion double-entered his Radical in the Prototype races, and finished sixth overall. Paddon and Perini also double-entered, but Paddon missed one race with mechanical problems while Perini elected to focus on his Radical Cup program.
TCR Australia – Almond Recovers to the Podium
Almond qualified fifth and was running strongly in Race 1 before a loose bonnet pin prompted an unscheduled pit stop.
A determined Almond charged from 15th to seventh in Race 2, and third in Race 3, making some spectacular moves along the way.
“The car was very neutral this weekend, which meant I was able to push with confidence,” Almond said.
“I tried a bit hard in qualifying and cost myself some time by over-driving, but it was fast in the races. The fact I hadn’t driven the car before the weekend was probably an advantage, because I wasn’t over-thinking it.”
Despite the Race 1 setback, Almond still finished sixth overall for the round.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge – Standout Qualifying Performance from Crick
A top-three qualifying performance was the highlight of a consistent weekend for Cameron Crick, in his second round in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge.
Crick qualified third, and fought back to fifth in Race 1 after a slow getaway. In Race 2, Crick made a much better start, only to find a stalled car blocking his path – his evasive manoeuvre avoided damage, but also cost him a position.
The third and final race was a longer, 45-minute affair and Crick ran with the lead pack in the early stages, challenging for third before eventually finishing in a safe fourth position.
“The last race was a good opportunity to understand how the car behaves over a longer distance, and at the beginning I was working hard to try and make a move on the car in front,” Crick said.
“As the race went on, I didn’t quite have the tyre life of the top three, which mainly comes down to me still learning these cars. Our overall pace was still strong, and after the dramas we had in Tasmania, I was very happy to come away with top five finishes in all three races.”
Rob Woods also enjoyed a consistent weekend, finishing seventh in the Pro-Am Class in each race. Woods was happy with his pace, but was left ruing a couple of slow starts
“I was very happy with my lap times – I went faster around SMP than I ever had before – it’s just a shame I was losing positions off the line,” he said.
“I’ll be doing some practice starts at the next test day, but overall it’s been a very enjoyable weekend.”