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GARRY’S SANDOWN SUPERCARS SUPPORT WRAP – SATURDAY

Geoff Emery claimed the Australian GT title - Photo: Dirk Klynsmith

Geoff Emery claimed the Australian GT title – Photo: Dirk Klynsmith

AUSTRALIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP

THE CONCLUSION of the Australian GT Championship was a tense one with Geoff Emery claiming the prestigious title by just ten points over nearest rival Liam Talbot.

It was a remarkable comeback for Emery who couldn’t walk 12 months ago because of a back-breaking accident in May of 2016. He came into the final round with a 28-point deficit but a race-one victory in the Audi R8 LMS and the overall round honours were enough to claim the title.

Tony Quinn (McLaren 650S) won race two while the similarly-mounted Fraser Ross scored the third race victory.

All three races took part on the Saturday of the Wilson Security Sandown 500 with four drivers in contention. Max Twigg (Mercedes-Benz AMG) bowed out first, following a poor qualifier, a pit lane speed infringement, and an eighth in race one.

Ash Walsh was the next to fall out of contention. Sharing an Audi with Duvashen Padayachee, they had two five-second time penalties in race two after crossing the line first.

It came down to the last race to decide the title. Emery had the advantage early although behind Talbot on the road. After the round of pitstops, the pendulum swung in favour of the Porsche 911 GT3-R driver.

He was second on the road while Emery was seventh, and trailing by a projected four points. Getting by his team mate Stephen McLaughlin helped, and then spins by Max Twigg (Mercedes) and Ash Samadi (Audi) at turn 1 late in the race, sealed the deal for Emery.

DUNLOP SUPER2

Paul Dumbrell won the opening Dunlop Super2 race at Sandown - Photo: Dirk Klynsmith

Paul Dumbrell won the opening Dunlop Super2 race at Sandown – Photo: Dirk Klynsmith

PAUL DUMBRELL has seized the lead in the Dunlop Super2 Supercars Series with a dominant win at Sandown Park.

The two-time Development Series champion won handily in the first of two races, ahead of Jack Le Brocq and Todd Hazelwood. That in itself was an amazing result, as Hazelwood had stepped out of a wrecked BJR Commodore in the first race for co-drivers barely an hour earlier.

Dumbrell started from pole position in a session interrupted by three red flags. He kept his head while many others did not, and as a result Dumbrell now has the points lead.

The Triple Eight Commodores and JLB’s Nissan seemed to be well-matched for speed, while the best of the Ford drivers was Andre de Pasquale, in fourth place.

But the day was a bad one for Garry Jacobson. The current Dunlop Champion lost his Qualifying time when he caused one of the red flags, then got a drive-through penalty of overlapping at the restart. He finished the race in 18th place.

PORSCHE CARRERA CUP

Nick McBride won both Carrera Cup races at Sandown - Photo: Dirk Klynsmith

Nick McBride won both Carrera Cup races at Sandown – Photo: Dirk Klynsmith

FASTEST QUALIFIER Nick McBride made it two from two in the first two races of the sixth round, leading from start to finish in both.

In the first, over 12 laps, he held off the early challenge from Sonic Racing team mate Andre Heimgartner for a half-second victory.

Jordan Love who recently won the second tier (GT3 Cup Challenge) series was third at the outset and despite some frantic endeavors, held off the seasoned Alex Davison for five laps.

Love also fell to series leader David Wall and Cameron McConville shortly after, but held off GT3 Cup rival and fellow debutan, Brenton Grove, and James Abela.

In the Challenge class Tim Miles led throughout, ultimately finishing 11th ahead of Simon Ellingham and Dean Cook. Sam Shahin lost his third spot with a spin at turn 4 on lap nine.

Due to accidents in TCM and the Supercars co-drivers’ race, and the ensuing track repairs, the second race was shortened to nine laps.

McBride again led throughout. Initially Heimgartner was second until a slight miscue at turn 11 on lap eight allowed Davison through. But the Kiwi did hold off Wall and McConville.

Love had been fifth on the opening lap, but went off after the rise at the end of the back straight, and bunkered at turn 9, forcing a safety car period.

Dylan O’Keeffe finished sixth ahead of Grove, Michael Almond and Jaxon Evans who started rear of grid after breaking a driveshaft on the race one warm-up lap.

In Challenge it was again Miles the winner with Ellingham second ahead of Stephen Grove, Shahin and Dean Cook.

TOURING CAR MASTERS

The Touring Car Masters race was a non-event - Photo: Dirk Klynsmith

The Touring Car Masters race was a non-event – Photo: Dirk Klynsmith

IT WAS a very short track venture for race two, the first sprint scratch race for round five of the series. Lined up in qualifying order, pole sitter John Bowe (Holden Torana) managed to hold off the Ford Mustang driven by Steven Johnson to grab the lead.

Adam Garwood spun his Torana at turn one while Eddie Abelnica (Ford Falcon XB), Ryan Hansford (Torana) and Tony Karanfilovski (Mustang) chased the leaders. Jason Gomersall was next until he speared off at the top rise with his Torana A9X careering into the tyre barrier at high speed.

The race came under an immediate red flag and was declared a no race. The driver emerged from the heavily damaged car but there would be a delay while repairs were made to the barrier.

For updates throughout the Sandown 500, make sure you follow us on social media FacebookTwitter, Instagram. We’ll also have a full in depth analysis of all the weekends action in the next issue of Auto Action Magazine, on sale Thursday.