VIDEO | Audi R8 LMS wins Phillip Island 101

2015 Australian GT Championship | Phillip Island 101 (Wrap Up)

Article and Images | Rhys Vandersyde

The Australian GT championship joined with the Shannons Nationals to host their 101 lap endurance race at Victoria’s Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

The Phillip Island 101 formed the second round of the 2015 Australian GT championship, and the first of two endurances races on the calendar with the second being the final round of the championship at Tony Quinn’s Highlands Circuit in Queenstown New Zealand.

Qualifying

Qualifying was held over two sessions with both drivers scheduled to get a full 15 minute session each to bank their best times. The lap times of both drivers would be combined to set the grid for the scheduled afternoon race.

The championship drivers took to the track first but were interrupted by an early red flag when the Ginetta G50Z of Ben Foessel struck mechanical issues. The session would resume, but was shortened to keep the event on schedule.

By the end of the session the Ferrari 458 GT3 of Jono Lester (Trass Family Motorsport) was the fastest with the Audi R8 LMS Ultra of Christopher Mies in second and the Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 458 GT3 of Tony D’Alberto in third.

The second 15 minute qualifying session featured some well-credentialed co-drivers that went about settling quick lap times that helped to jumble the grid starting order.

Matt Campbell (Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Championship) had everyone’s attention as he blitzed through the field in the Ginetta G55 GT3 to set the fastest time.

The time not only surprised but beat V8 Supercars star Garth Tander in the McLaren 650S GT3 and V8 Supercars endurance regular Dean Canto in the Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

On combined times the grid had the Ferrari of Jono Lester and Graeme Smyth on pole with the Audi of Christopher Mies and Greg Crick in second. On the second row, the Ferrari of Tony D’Alberto and TV Personality Grant Denyer sat in third alongside the Aston Martin of Dean Canto and Andrew Taplin in forth.

Images on desktop version

Images by Rhys Vandersyde

Race

A cold and overcast Phillip Island greeted the 33 GT3 spec cars as they lined up on the grid to start of the 101 lap race.

A clean start had Jono Lester’s Ferrari 458 taking an early lead with Taplin Real Estate Aston Martin (Canto/Taplin) and the JAMEC PEM Racing Audi (Mies/Crick) close behind.

With only one full lap completed, the safety car had to swing into action when the JJA Consulting Group Lamborghini LP560 driven by Jan Jinadasa and the Evolve Technik Audi R8 Ultra driven by Dean Koutsoumidis collided heavily and ending their race early.

The race soon settled into a constant rhythm with the first round of pit stops and driver changes taking places then on lap 48, the safety car was again called to take control of the field.

The collision between the two Porsche’s of Peter Conroy and Michael Hector caused a lengthy delay as officials worked to clear the track.

When the safety car finally returned to pit lane, racing resumed with Graeme Smyth leading the field in the Ferrari 458 GT3.

With time counting down to the end of the race, the Flying B Bentley Continental GT3 of John Bowe and Peter Edwards found trouble by spearing off the track and into the gravel trap which signalled another safety car.

Due to the number of safety car periods, officials extended the race past its original deadline of 1700 hours to finish at 1713 plus one lap.

With light continuing to fade, a slight mistake by Smyth in the leading Ferrari 458 saw Mies in the Audi R8 take full advantage with Tander driving the McLaren 650S following suit to put Smyth back in third.

Crossing the line in first place, the JAMEC PEM Racing Audi R8 LMS of Christopher Mies and Greg Crick followed by the Darrell Lea McLaren 650S of Tony Quinn and Garth Tander in second place.

The disappointment of third position for the Trass Family Motorsport Ferrari team would only get worse with a post-race penalty issued for passing under yellow flags. The penalty dropped the team to fourth overall elevating the Maranello Motorsport Ferrari of Tony D’Alberto and Grant Denyer into third.

The win for Mies comes off the back of his win at the Nurburgring 24 Hour in Germany last week, he said, “I’m surprised [but happy] to be in this position, we had the longest pit stop time in the entire field.

The next round of the Australian GT Championship takes place in Townsville on the 10th – 12th July, 2015.

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