Team Porsche New Zealand and Earl Bamber Motorsport driver Marco Giltrap has claimed the 2023 Porsche Sprint Challenge Australia title with a podium finish in the opening race of the Bathurst International. Third place also sees Giltrap secure the Jim Richards Enduro Cup.
TekworkX Motorsport’s Nash Morris was the early pace-setter for the weekend, claiming the pole with a 2:07.7338 and topping Marcos Flack by just 0.0539 seconds. Giltrap was the best of the Kiwi qualifiers, in fifth, two spots ahead of championship rival Aron Shields, who entered the round 171 points behind.
Ronan Murphy qualified ninth, while Clay Osborne was eleventh fastest.
Morris would covert his pole into a race win, overcoming a late Safety Car restart to keep Flack at bay for his sixth win in nine starts.
Giltrap, meanwhile, was a benefactor when Oscar Targett, who had started third, came to grief mid-race, jumping a spot to fourth.
The first Safety Car came on Lap 9, and Giltrap leapt to third with a pass on Hamish Fitzsimmons at Murray’s Corner after the restart.
A second caution was called shortly after when Tim Wolfe ran into trouble on the mountain. A one-lap sprint to the line ensued, with Morris, Flack and Giltrap maintaining their positions to complete the podium.
Murphy and Osborne also made ground, the former coming home eighth, one spot ahead of his compatriot.
Third place sees Giltrap secure the title with two races to spare, with a solid run of form seeing the Kiwi not failing to finish outside the top five in any of this season’s sixteen races. It’s his tenth podium in the series, including four race wins.
The championship success is yet another 2023 accolade for the Auckland teenager, who won the GT New Zealand Championship, Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia Championship and the recent Highlands 10th-Anniversary 6-Hour.
The Porsche Sprint Challenge returns for two further races this weekend at Bathurst, the first at 2.05 pm on Saturday, followed by the season-finale at 4.50 pm, which will be live-streamed on the Speed Series website.