More of the best from Hackett as French flies and Washington chases.
Skye Sands Team Lamborghini Australia driver Peter Hackett today wrapped up the opening round of the all new 2005 SPEED Energy drink Australian GT Championship and Porsche Drivers challenge by winning the final two races held at the 4.4km Phillip Island track in Victoria today.
After snatching pole position and a race win yesterday, Hackett's impressive debut as the TLA team leader in the 600hp V12 Diablo continued from the get go in this morning's first 8 lap sprint, racing to a commanding early lead before dropping back towards the pack towards the end of the race in order to consolidate his tyres.
The Queenslander held of a late race challenge from ADRAD Radiators driver Bryce Washington's Porsche 911 GT3 cup, taking the win by just under two seconds.
It wasn't all plain sailing for the Lamborghini outfit, as Rusty French was forced to withdraw from the race after just two laps, a broken bell housing on the gearbox spraying fluids on the track and causing the car to slow.
After being involved in a race long dice for the minor positions inside the top five yesterday, Ed Harry menswear Porsche 911 GT3R driver Mark Eddy impressed in today's opening race, scoring his first podium position of the year. Eddy headed home the Industry Central Ferrari 360 of Queenslander John Teulan and the Porsche 911 GT3 of John Kaias.
In a notable performance, Dean Savage moved from last place to an eventual 8th overall in his Ferrari 360 after missing yesterday's action, whilst the Honda NSX Brabham of Ian Palmer slipped backwards down the order after his strong podium finish yesterday, mechanical gremlins sidelining the car for the remainder of the weekend.
The day's second race, originally scheduled to run for 12 laps, was shortened to 10 after delays in the program at Phillip Island. Regardless of length, though, the event through up a cracker, as Rusty French stormed through the field from last place in the Lamborghini.
Running on tyres that had completed 8 less laps than the others, French scythed his way through the field, jumping as high as fifth after just two laps. The rapid forward progress continued from there on, French eventually passing Bryce Washington for second on the penultimate lap. Closing on Hackett, French crossed the line in a formation finish just two tenths of a second his team mate -- who made it a clean sweep of victories in the third race.
"That was just a fantastic way to finish the day, it was a really close finish with Rusty," described an elated Hackett after the race. "I flat spotted a tyre coming down into MG corner during the race, which meant I had to take it really easy in the left hand corners, so we lost some time in that race.
"It was great to see Rusty go from last to second and for us to have a formation finish to cap off a great weekend for Team Lamborghini Australia."
With a solid third place in the final race this afternoon, Porsche Driver Bryce Washington not only lead the German marque's large contingent of Porsche Drivers challenge, but gave the young South Australian driver a solid points haul in both the Drivers Challenge and overall GT Championships.
"It was a good start to the season," he commented tonight. "The car wasn't bad, but we had to make sure we looked after our set of tyres so we could get to the finish. We came here to get some points for both the Porsche drivers challenge and the GT Championship, and we were able to do that today."
The 2005 SPEED Energy Drink Australian GT championship and Porsche Drivers challenge has been designed to promote and grow top-level GT style racing in Australia. Formed in association with the long running Australian Porsche drivers challenge, the new championship places the Stuttgart Marque's large fields head to head with the best global GT cars around from Lamborghini, Ferrari, Honda and Chrysler.
The series is also a feast of great drivers, young stars like Peter Hackett and Bryce Washington challenging some of the most experienced contenders in Australian Sports / GT Racing such as Rusty French and D'arcy Russell.
SPEED Energy Drinks and Aqua 1 Water, Dunlop Tyres, duttondirect.com and Porsche Cars Australia are all proudly supporting the championship this season.
The next round of the championship will be in Ipswich, Queensland Raceway, in early July.
Race 2 -- Results.
1 Peter Hackett Lamborghini Diablo
2 Bryce Washington Porsche Cup Car
3 Mark Eddy Porsche 911 GT3R
4 John Teulan Ferrari 360 Challenge
5 John Kaias Porsche 911 GT-3
Race 3 -- Results.
1 Peter Hackett Lamborghini Diablo
2 Rusty French Lamborghini Diablo
3 Bryce Washington Porsche GT3 Cup Car
4 Mark Eddy Porsche GT3 R
5 John Teulan Ferrari 360 Challenge