Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Richie Stanaway and Prince Jefri Ibrahim have driven the #888 Mercedes AMG GT3 to second in the opening race of the GT World Challenge Australia round in Sydney.
A superb second stint from the Kiwi saw him overturn a nearly 17-second deficit on the two cars ahead, taking second off Fraser Ross (Audi R8 LMS Evo 2) with 15 minutes remaining and then chasing down leader Garnet Patterson (Porsche 911 GT3R). A thrilling battle would close out the race, but Patterson held firm, withstanding the challenge and lapped traffic to take the win by four-tenths of a second.
Ibrahim started the race having qualified fifth, quickly moving up a spot as a rhythm was quick to set in. Up front, Liam Talbot had built a solid lead over Yasser Shahin as the duo pulled clear of the field.
Ibrahim would hand over to Stanaway just before the halfway point, while Talbot passed over to Ross and Shahin to Patterson. Ross would take the net lead over Patterson, while Stanaway gained a spot following the stops and sat comfortably in third but over 17 seconds behind the two leaders.
Up front, Patterson would make easy work of Ross to take the lead with 22 minutes remaining, while Stanaway had reduced the gap to nine seconds at the same time. On his charge forward, the Kiwi broke the lap record at Sydney, his 1:27.5173 topping the 1:27.7611 set by George Miedecke (Aston Martin Vantage) in 2016.
He took second spot off Ross eight minutes later and went about bridging the gap to the leader, who was now four seconds clear.
The gap sat at less than a second as the race entered its final 10 minutes, but Patterson held firm and defended excellently as lapped traffic made passing difficult. It would be enough to deliver the win to The Bend Motorsport Park team over the Triple Eight entry while Ross and Talbot rounded out the podium some eight seconds down the road.
The GT World Challenge returns tomorrow for one further race, which begins at 12.45 pm and will be shown live on Sky Sport.
Header Image: Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia