A last corner pass has delivered Liam Talbot his third CAMS Australian GT Championship race victory in as many rounds aboard the MEGA Racing Porsche in a chaotic opening race at the Watpac Townsville 400.
Two lengthy Safety Car periods bookended the Compulsory Pitstop window.
With chaos abounding after the field shuffled following the stops, it was Talbot that was able to keep his head and calculate the remainder of the race, making the most of the conditions as presented.
Using every piece of the experience that led him to the Blancpain Endurance Series Championship last year, he was able to complete a critical three-wide pass on Max Twigg and Marc Cini with minutes left remaining in the 40 minute timed race.
Putting his head down and with the encouragement of the Walkinshaw GT3 team, Talbot pushed the Porsche 911 GT3-R to the absolute limit to close in on the battle for the lead between Scott Taylor and Ash Samadi.
Knowing that a five second post race penalty would be applied to Samadi post race, the final lap saw Talbot’s MEGA Racing Porsche close the gap to Taylor’s AMG GT3 with half a lap to go.
He was able to execute a final corner pass on his fellow Queenslander and followed Samadi across the line well inside the five second window that would be applied to the Audi driver after the race.
In taking his third win in three rounds, his fourth career Australian GT race victory, Talbot has extended his Championship lead.
Earlier in the day, Talbot suffered a throttle body problem in his opening qualifying session, however this was quickly repaired for qualifying two which saw him advance up the order.
Tomorrow, the penultimate round of the Australian GT Championship will resume with two further 40 minute races.
Liam Talbot Racing is supported by Australia’s newest Petroleum company, MEGA Limited, along with WashIt Australia Mobile Truck Wash and Walkinshaw GT3 sponsors, Morris Finance and Urban Maintenance Systems.
QUOTEBOARD – LIAM TALBOT – RACE 1 WINNER:
“That was so wild, I don’t know where to start. We didn’t escape through that unscathed after contact with an over-zealous driver that nearly stuck us in the wall, it was pure survival today!
“We had the pace on board, but just had to calculate how to go about it and avoid what was going on, everyone had the red mist going and didn’t know when to yield.
“There was some pretty wild overtaking going into turn 10 having to go three-wide and then to close down to make the pass on the final corner to win was exciting, unbelievable.
“To protect, let alone extend the Championship lead today of all days is extremely pleasing. We had some struggles during qualifying with the throttle body breaking, but the boys did a MEGA job to get the car back out there and into the race setup that we had. I can’t thank them enough.
“With another two races to come tomorrow, we’re at the front so can control the pace and hopefully be clear of the carnage. Our aim is to be staying out of trouble, keep up the maximum pace and hopefully repeat today with another two race wins!
“Finally, we hope that Tony Bates is OK after his nasty crash, that’s a major priority for everyone and we don’t like seeing that.”
2017 Australian GT Championship Calendar:
1. Mar 2 – 5 Clipsal 500, Adelaide, South Australia – 4th
2. Mar 23 – 26 Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Victoria – 3rd
3. May 5 – 7 Perth Super Sprint, Barbagallo, Western Australia – 1st
4. Jul 7 – 9 Townsville 400, Townsville, Queensland
5. Sep 15 – 17 Sandown 500, Sandown Raceway, Victoria
2017 Australian Endurance Championship Calendar:
1. May 26 – 28 Phillip Island, Phillip Island, Victoria – 6th
2. Aug 18 – 20 Sydney Motorsport Park, Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW
3. Oct 27 – 29 Hampton Downs, Hampton Downs, New Zealand
4. Nov 10 – 12 Highlands 501 Highlands Park, Cromwell, NZ
Further Sources of Information: