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AusGT Trophy Phillip Island: McLaughlan fights back in tricky race two

Steve McLaughlan has taken victory in drama filled race two of the CAMS Australian GT Trophy Series at Phillip Island, making the best of his shorter pit stop time and tricky wet conditions.

McLaughlan sifted through the field in the opening stint and pounced in the pit stops to take the win and extend his championship lead.

A clean conversion from Rod Salmon off his pole position start meant that the Swirk Audi driver lead the field into the first couple of corners.

Richard Gartner’s race didn’t get off to the best of starts when the bright yellow Safe-T-Stop Lamborghini ground to a halt on the exit of Siberia corner, after a number of seconds stationary, Gartner managed to get his Lamborghini going again, but dropped to last.

The biggest mover at the start was McLaughlan in the Jamec Pem Audi, carving his way from eighth place on the grid, to fourth by the end of lap one and third by lap two courtesy of a text book move on Matthew Turnbull at Honda corner.

Jan Jinadasa was also showing good speed in the tricky conditions, making two passes around the outside, the first of those on Audi driver Rob Smith for fourth position at Lukey Heights, and then a few laps later, on fellow Lamborghini compatriot Turnbull at the final corner.

At the head of the field, McLaughlan had caught up to the back of second placed Wayne Mack in his Ferrari 458 and was soon ahead thanks to a classic pass up the inside at turn one.

Salmon entered the pits with a 12-second lead, but a shorter pit stop time for McLaughlan saw the latter steal the lead as they exited the lane.

Rick Mensa found the grass at Siberia corner in his Audi and would stay there until the end of the race, but fourth placed Jinadasa lost a piece of his rear bumper which fell off in the middle of Hayshed leaving drivers to swerve in order to miss it.

It would stay under racing conditions until the chequered flag though.

The race took a turn for Gartner when he received a black flag for serving his compulsory pit stop outside of the allocated window, the Lamborghini ace entering the pits a mere 6-seconds after the window had closed.

Out front though, McLaughlan came across the line 7-seconds ahead of Salmon, while Mack completed the podium in his Ferrari.

Jinadasa held onto fourth despite having no rear bumper, last years champion Smith took out fifth from Turbull and Rio Nugara in seventh place.

Mark Griffith fended off a late charge from the KTM X-BOW GT4 of Justin McMillan while John Goodacre rounded out the top ten.

Gary Higgon survived a spin at the last corner on the penultimate lap to finish eleventh as Scott Hookey, Con Whitlock and the Jamie Arratoon/John Nikolovski Ferrari completed the finishing cars.

The Australian GT Trophy Series will be back on track at Wakefield Park in a few months time, from the 18 – 19 of November.

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