Liam Talbot has scored his third Australian GT victory this season with a win on the scorching streets of Townsville for the first race of the weekend.
If you didn’t return to the paddock with a battle scar you were a pretty lucky driver. Incidents and accidents galore would be an understatement. Battle scars and bodywork were being traded left right and centre with two safety car periods and a whole lot of chaos.
It all began on the opening lap when Tony Bates found the concrete wall on the run down to turn two. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 was side by side with Steven Richards in the BMW M6 GT3 making contact through the high speed kink. Bates’ car went crashing into the concrete barrier grinding to halt with huge damage to the front end.
The safety car was deployed for a lengthy period as the marshals cleaned up strewn bits of Mercedes all over the track. All this however threw a huge curve ball for the front running teams who started with their Pro drivers, the opportunity to create a gap to the rest of the field before the pitstops was annihilated from their grasp.
When the SC boards were finally brought in, a few of the drivers dived into the pits as the compulsory pitstop window opened. Ash Samadi, Marc Cini and Max Twigg all came in taking the earliest opportunity to complete their stops. With the shortest CPS time, Samadi blasted out of the pitlane and resumed as the effective leader.
Meanwhile, out on track, carbon-fibre and bodywork were flying everywhere. The stewards had their hands full as the on-track volcano erupted with full force. As the pitstop window closed, Ash Samadi had taken the lead in the Ah Apartments Audi from Scott Taylor in the STM Mercedes. The Am drivers were to the fore with the race playing into a lot of their hands.
seventeen minutes remained on the clock and there was no writing the headline just yet. Andrew Macpherson who had taken over from Brad Shiels made slight contact with the Max Twigg Mercedes giving the AMAC Porsche a left-rear puncture.
With a leaking radiator to compliment the puncture, Macpherson lost control of the 997 Porsche spinning into the barrier at turn six. Heavy damage to the front end of the car put the duo out of the race as the safety car accelerated out of the pitlane for the second time.
The imminent result of the safety car was field was closed up circulating bumper to bumper. Liam Talbot was in the prime positon and he seized the opportunity charging through the field when the green flag flew. Talbot passed Taylor on the last lap in the final corner to nab second place but that would end up being for the win as Ash Samadi who crossed the line first would receive a post race penalty.
Taylor assumed second place with Glen Wood finishing up in third in the M Motorsport Lamborghini RE-X. Kelvin van der Linde and Geoff Emery recovered to fourth place in the Jamec Pem Audi with Roger Lago rounding out the top five for JBS Australia.