A battle royale between combatants Alex Davison and Jim Richards was the start and end result of race one of the Carrera Cup at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide today, but it was a spectacular crash that featured prominently. Davison (Greg Murphy ...
A battle royale between combatants Alex Davison and Jim Richards was the start and end result of race one of the Carrera Cup at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide today, but it was a spectacular crash that featured prominently.
Davison (Greg Murphy Racing / Glenfords Tool Centre) was the winner of the first official race of the series, adding to his two race wins in the non-championship round at the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago. He was also winner of all six Australian Carrera Cup races he contested last year.
But the all-Porsche race was won by less than three-tenths of a second with runner-up Richards (Jim Richards Racing / OAMPS Insurance Brokers) showing in the final lap of today's 12-lap race that he intends to hold on tightly to his 2003 series crown.
"It was a good and hard race," said Davison. "Until the safety car, I had a bit of a bumper over Jim and then was trying to conserve my tyres for the weekend ahead. Then he really pressured me towards the end, which made it a good little tussle."
Davison took control of the race from the start, and led Richards, Peter Fitzgerald (Fitzgerald Racing / Acer, SEW Eurodrive) and Fabian Coulthard (Greg Murphy Racing / Team Braun) into the first corner and then first lap.
Young Auckland gun Coulthard demonstrated more of his talent with a bold passing manoeuvre on Fitzgerald on the second lap to move into third.
On the fifth lap, drama unfolded when Matt Coleman (Matt Coleman Racing / City Commercial Property, Donald Group) was looking for an overtaking passage past Tony Quinn (Team VIP Petfoods) nearing the Gillette Sweeper. When looking for an inside run, Coleman clipped Quinn and hit the inside wall and then ploughed straight into the outside wall. This ended the 30-year-old's race with the car damage still being evaluated. Coleman walked away from the incident and was cleared by track medical staff.
"I'm physically alright," said Coleman. "But it is devastating as I put my heart and soul into racing, and this happens. I just have to evaluate everything now."
This incident brought out the first and only yellow flag of the Carrera Cup race, with the cars proceeding in formation for a few laps before the race went back under green. When it did, this restarted the duel between Davison and Richards, while a little further back in the field a mini-battle was being staged between Dean Grant (Becks Racing) and Rodney Jane (Rodney Jane Racing / Bob Jane T-Marts) for sixth position.
Davison, 24, held on to take the checkered flag but only just from Richards with Coulthard only a further 1.4 seconds back to claim third in his first points-scoring race in a Porsche GT3 911. Fitzgerald maintained his position in fourth with Gold Coast 21-year-old Klark Quinn (Team VIP Petfoods) putting in a determined showing for fifth. Grant won his fight with Jane for sixth, in the process, recording a new personal best race result in the all-Porsche category.
"This is great and the car felt great," said Grant. "My goal was to finish in the top 10 and to record my best ever result is just awesome."
The youngest driver in the field, 20-year-old James Cressey (Team VIP Petfoods) was the hard charger through the field. The Gold Coast-based Kiwi started at the rear of the 17-car grid and chipped away at the field to eventually place eighth.
Another driver putting in his best-ever Carrera Cup performance was Stephen Borness (Celerity Racing / Logiadd) in ninth, with Tony Quinn placing tenth.
The Carrera Cup is the most successful 'one make' championship in the world with close-to-identical Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars built by Porsche' racing arm in Weissach, Germany set for racing at the Clipsal 500. All cars have a top speed in excess of 300 kilometres per hour with a 400-horsepower, 6 cylinder Boxer engine which revs to 8000 RPM.
Race two of the Carrera Cup at the Clipsal 500 is tomorrow, Saturday March 20 at 12.50pm, and race three on Sunday March 21. All races will be contested over 12 laps of the 3.22km street circuit. 'Trackside' on Network Ten will telecast round one of the Carrera Cup on Sunday March 28 at 2pm (check local guides).