New Zealand’s Marco Giltrap extended his championship lead in the Porsche Sprint Challenge following this weekend’s round at Queensland Raceway, but it was Australia’s Nash Morris who stole the show to take victory in all three races.
Morris, who only joined the competition last round, won all three races and has now claimed five of the last six victories, more than any other competitor this year.
Giltrap proved that consistency was key and finished fifth in Race 1, sixth in Race 2 and fourth in Sunday’s Jim Richards Enduro to move 141 points clear of second-placed Aron Shields.
Shields jumps both Zac Stichbury and Ronan Murphy for the position, the latter experiencing a challenging outing with fortune not in his favour.
Friday’s qualifying session was a fair representation of how competitive the series has become, as Oscar Targett claimed pole over Morris by just 0.0012 seconds. Marcos Flack was third, a further 0.0085 seconds off pole, while Lachlan Bloxsom and Shields were also in contention. Less than one-tenth of a second separated the top five.
Murphy was the best of the Kiwi qualifiers in sixth, with Giltrap eighth and Stichbury 13th.
Morris returned to winning ways in Saturday’s opener, overtaking Targett at Turn 4 on Lap 1 and holding the position until the chequered flag. Targett settled for second, ahead of Flack.
Giltrap finished in fifth, while Murphy ran into trouble early in the race, coming together with Bloxsom and spinning into the infield. The damage sustained forced him to retire from the race. Stichbury came home ninth.
Morris pulled clear off the line in Saturday’s second sprint race as second-placed Targett ran wide at Turn 2 and dropped several places. This opened the door for Hamish Fitzsimmons and Flack, who were locked in a battle for second.
A collision between Brad Carr and Tim Wolfe at Turn 2 sent both cars into the gravel towards the closing stages, bringing the field together and setting a two-lap dash for the line.
Morris held on to take the win over Fitzsimmons and Flack. Giltrap was sixth, ahead of Stichbury in eighth and Murphy in 14th, the latter having charged from the rear of the field.
A major crash involving Richard Cowen and Andrew Goldie put a dampener on the race, the two making high-speed contact and sliding into a tyre wall intended to protect marshalls. Both drivers hit the wall drivers-side first and required medical assistance at the scene.
Both were taken to hospital, with Goldie understood to have suffered broken ribs and significant bruising. Cowen, meanwhile, was initially in a serious condition and required surgery. He is now reportedly in stable condition.
Victory for Morris was much more straightforward in Sunday’s sole race, the TekworkX Motorsport driver taking a lights-to-flag win. Fitzsimmons held on in a late battle with Giltrap, Shields and Targett for second. Targett claimed the final podium spot ahead of Giltrap.
Stichbury finished ninth, while Murphy was required to pit due to a puncture and came home 18th.
Stichbury and Giltrap are now tied on points in third in the standings.
The Porsche Sprint Challenge Australia returns for its penultimate round at The Bend on October 13-15.