Steve McLaughlin has stolen the race 2 victory in the Australian GT Trophy Series at Winton. The #75 Valvoline car leads an Audi whitewash, with four R8 LMS Ultra’s in the top four.
The Victorian driver snatched the lead on the penultimate lap when Matt Stoupas in the #23 KFC sponsored Audi ran wide at turn 11. Stoupas was leading a three car train with McLaughlan and Rod Salmon behind.
Salmon also had a lapse in concentration spinning his “Swirk” Audi into the gravel with 3 laps to go.
That left a duel between Stoupas (#23) and McLaughlan (#75) as the race drew to a close. The #75 was right up the gearbox of the #23 applying persistent pressure. Stoupas succumbed to the pressure, over shooting turn 11 and leaving the door wide open for McLaughlan.
The #75 Audi crossed the line four seconds ahead of Stoupas in the KFC car, extending his series points lead. Benefitting from Salmons misfortune was Rick Mensa in the #22 Audi. The CCC Polished Concrete sponsored car lurked in the background, pouncing as the last laps drama unfolded claiming 3rd position.
Coming home in 4th was another R8. Travers Beynon recovered from his dreadful race one, the Queensland driver suffering from an ABS issue with multiple spins throughout the first race.
With that out of his system, Beynon got his head down after starting from 10th and drove his way through the field to a brilliant fourth place.
The first of the non-Audi’s was Richard Gartner in the SAFE-T-STOP Lamborghini.
The 50 minute race was plagued with safety cars. A total of four throughout, the first one was caused by Rob Smith who beached his Audi in the gravel 11mins in to the race.
Smith’s race didn’t get any better when he caused the second safety car after a steering failure sent him into the barrier at turn 2 on lap 20.
Another team that didn’t have the best of weekendS was the Rio Nugara/Jake Fouracre driven #88 Audi. The duo accomplished pole position on Saturday after Fouracre set a new lap record. In race one, the #88 car made contact with the #23 car on the opening lap, losing a few positions as they repaired the damage. They aimed for a brilliant come back drive in race two, but a steering issue diminished their hopes with the car forced into retirement.
From Winton the Australian GT Trophy series heads to Queensland Raceway from the 5th – 6th of August. Next up though, the sprint series is off to sunny Townsville on the 7th July.