Shoal and QxBranch at Townsville 400
Following on from the 2nd place in our division, for round 2 of the Australian GT Championship at Phillip Island, the Thomson Geer / Shoal / QxBranch Porsche 997 GT3 competed in the Castrol Edge Townsville 400.
Our team, led by Michael O’Donnell, ended the round equal 1st place, but a rival car took the trophy on the tiebreaker (which goes on best position in last race). Well done team!
This round was physically tough (and exhausting), with temperatures in the car at one stage exceeding 60 degrees Celsius for an hour, and the tricky street circuit with a 240 km/h turn 1, that required an exact entry line. Despite these challenges conditions, the team managed to settle in and qualify 3rd.
During race 1 on Saturday, rival driver John Bowe spun on turn 11 and reversed back onto the race line (right in front of our car and 3 others coming in hot). It was a near miss but we got past undamaged. The team then had a thrilling tussle with car 53 all the way to the finish where, coming down to the last turn on the last lap, we won! It was our team’s first win!
Race 2 on Sunday started well, we took off and immediately set about passing higher division cars to put distance between us and our rivals. The team was all set for another win when a Lamborghini from a higher division rammed and spun our car into last place. A quick recovery and 50 minutes of focused chasing saw our car pass all rivals, to be back fighting with car 53 for the lead with seven laps to go. Unfortunately a late safety car ruined that plan, which also opened up the way for a professional driver in a rival’s car to catch up and pass us, resulting in the team posting a 3rd place.
The team currently stands in second place in the championship, a mere 20 points off the leader.
The next round is at the Sydney Motorsport Park, August 20 to 23, for the Sydney 500.