It was a hot and sticky one in the Northern Territory. The 4th round round of Porsche Carrera Cup Australia brings the series to Hidden Valley Raceway just a few kilometres south of Darwin.
The high speed 2.9km circuit poses a fresh challenge for teams with a completely different climate and setting to the last round in Phillip Island. Temperatures averaging in the low thirty’s compared to the chilly low teens in Victoria a few weeks ago.
The 25-minute session kicked off on Saturday morning with a few of the top runners trading fastest laps early on. Jaxon Evans, Alex Davison, Nick McBride and many more duking it out for their respective teams.
Among them was the #777 car of Andre Heimgartner. Overnight the Sonic Motorsport guys put in a phenomenal effort to get the car repaired after a major shunt in practice- The Bob Jane T-Mart car back out on track and putting in solid times in the hands of Heimgartner.
The qualifying session was ended prematurely after Tim Miles binned his #70 car in the gravel bringing out the red flag with just over four minutes left on the clock. The message popped up on the timing screens and the grid was locked in.
David Wall took the pole with a 1:08.015 in his PAYCE sponsored #38 car. Alongside him on the front row is Jaxon Evans and rounding out the top three, Alex Davison.
Collaborated race report-
After qualifying in second, Jaxon Evans took the lead on the opening lap of race one. From that moment forward Evans controlled the rest of the field for all three races. The young Queenslander showing a dominant performance reminiscent of Carrera Cup ace Matt Campbell. Evans was challenged multiple times throughout the weekend by David Wall but nothing was stopping the Hungry Jacks sponsored McElrea racing machine.
Finishing the round in 2nd place was one of the most experienced drivers on the grid- Alex Davison was a permanent figure at the pointy end of the field throughout the weekend but came on strong in race 2 when he passed Wall for 2nd place. When it came to race 3, Wall put pressure on Davison but that wasn’t going to deter the 2004 Carrera Cup champion.
Sydney-sider David Wall had a fantastic weekend in the top end showing strong pace in all three races and qualifying. The race one pole sitter capped his Darwin adventure off with a 3rd place for the round.
Dylan O’Keeffe and James Abela continued their impressive pace on Sunday; the duo placed fourth and fifth for the round taking home some solid points.
Andre Heimgartner had a rather eventful weekend recovering from his practice accident. The Kiwi driver made an excellent move at the start of race 3 diving between cars and pinching 4th position from his 6th place start. Heimgartner finished up taking 6th for the round.
Behind Heimgartner, Supercars driver Cameron McConville grabbed 7th for the round in what was a notable performance given his demanding schedule – jumping between the Porsche and his LD Motorsport Supercar throughout the weekend.
Hot on his heels was the #77 Sonic car of Nick McBride. The Victorian driver was uncharacteristically quiet throughout the Darwin weekend and struggled to convert a disappointing qualifying performance into results.
Sam Shahin took out the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge class with his two wins on Sunday- The Adelaide driver on his debut as a single driver entry.
Tim Miles was second for the round in class; Miles was unable to finish race two after contact with Stephen Grove on the last lap. The pair tangled on the exit of the final corner sending both cars into the inside concrete wall. Meanwhile Grove, who failed to finish race three after a radiator hose came loose, placed third for the round and retains the lead of the Challenge standings over Marc Cini.
Wall is now 40 points clear of Heimgartner in the overall standings, with Davison reducing his margin to the top spot now just 97 points behind.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia now heads even more north to the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, the Australian championship running alongside Carrera Cup Asia from the 21-23 of July.
Photos- Porsche Carrera Cup Australia http://www.carreracup.com.au