Shannons Phillip Island: Day one wrap

Friday 12 March, 2021
Photo: Nathan Wong
The first day of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships’ first round at Phillip Island has come to a close with plenty of action taking place on the iconic circuit. 

Saturday will also welcome fans into the circuit, however tickets must be pre-purchased online prior to attending.

Action will also be televised on the Screens of Seven, with coverage starting from 10am AEDT on 7plus and 11am on 7mate.


Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series  

The series has attracted some big names already this year and after a solid first round in January, those drivers started this weekend fit and firing.  

Alfa Romeo driver Lee Holdsworth fared best during today's track action, going fastest in the second session and fourth fastest in the opener. 

Supercars star Chaz Mostert continued his good start in the series, having topped the timesheets in practice one before dropping to fifth in the second session.

Michael Caruso, Nathan Morcom and Tony D’Alberto all enjoyed top five finishes, an improvement after a difficult season opener at Symmons Plains, including the latter who enjoyed the third fastest time on both occasions.  

With no drivers sustaining any major issues today, tomorrow will see the full 20-car field enjoy qualifying and one race.  

VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship

James Golding will head into the weekend full of confidence after posting the fastest time in both practice sessions today. 

There was very little separating the drivers throughout the opening session, with fellow GRM teammate Nathan Herne coming in less than two tenths behind, and Thomas Randle just beating Joey Mawson to the third fastest time.  

In the second session, Golding was once again strongest, going half a second faster than the next best in Tim Macrow. Only six hundredths of a second proved the difference between Thomas Randle and Nathan Herne.

It’s a hugely busy day for the championship tomorrow, with the morning’s qualifying session to set up two races in the afternoon.  

Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS

The Motorsport Australia GT Championship was the first category to get official business underway today, with a two-part qualifying session following two practice runs.  

Posting the fastest time for the double session was the #24 Bostik Racing Audi R8 LMS Evo, piloted by the double-stinting Chaz Mostert and Tony Bates. 

In the first qualifying, Bates was behind the wheel of the Audi and grabbed the third fastest time behind Stephen Grove and Yasser Shahin, who only had one hundredth between them at the end.   

Switching drivers and Mostert coolly topped the session after going around two tenths faster than fellow Supercars driver Jamie Whincup, who was steering alongside Prince Jefri Ibrahim aboard a Mercedes AMG GT3. 

Rounding out the top three a further tenth behind was Shahin’s Audi R8 LMS Evo teammate Garth Tander. 

In the Trophy Series, Brad Schumacher was fastest and Brett Hobson third fastest in both sessions, while Matt Stoupas managed second during qualifying one and 2019 Motorsport Australia Targa Champion Paul Stokell finished in between the two in the second qualifying.  

The category enjoys one endurance race tomorrow in the early afternoon. 

Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge

Ryan Suhle will start tomorrow’s Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Race from pole position after producing a brilliant final lap during the category’s qualifying session today.  

Suhle was fastest all day, taking out both practice sessions before blasting his way to the qualifying lead.  

Looking confident behind the wheel during his 11 laps, Suhle had already gone fastest on his fourth lap, only to seal the deal on his last attempt – becoming the only driver to go under a 1:32 laptime.  

Just four tenths behind him was fellow Queenslander Bayley Hall, while New Zealander Callum Hedge will start on the second row alongside Courtney Prince.  

The Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge will have its first race tomorrow morning, before holding the round’s second race in the afternoon.  

National Trans Am Series

Like the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge, a Queenslander dominated the day, going fastest in all three sessions, including the afternoon’s qualifying session.  

Despite qualifying being cut short, Aaron Seton ended up on pole, eight tenths faster than Tasmanian Owen Kelly, while the third placed Kyle Gurton was almost two seconds slower than Seton. 

With New South Welshman Tim Brook in fourth, Ford Mustangs made up the top four as Brett Holdsworth guided his Chevrolet Camaro to a top five start ahead of Nathan Herne and Victorian Excel star Ben Grice.  

The category will enjoy two races tomorrow with the first race late in the morning and the second in the afternoon. 

Porsche 944 Challenge

The state-level Porsche 944 Challenge was the first category to get things underway on Friday, and competitors in the class enjoyed two practice sessions today.  

With just eight drivers participating in the two sessions, former series champion Cameron Beller would have ended the day with the most confidence thanks to his second fastest time in session one and fastest time in second activity.  

Mark Taubitz managed the fastest time in session ahead of Pedr James, while Rickard Hower was another solid performer with two third placings. 

The Challenge returns tomorrow with a qualifying in the morning, and the first race of the weekend to wrap up the day’s action. 

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