Shane Smollen and V8 Supercars driver Nick Percat won a close-fought Carrera Cup Pro-Am at Phillip Island.
Percat and fellow V8 driver Scott McLaughlin staged a thrilling battle for the lead in the first stint of the race, with three separate lead changes.
Starting from pole, Percat dashed at the start – only to be reeled in by McLaughlin throughout the first 12 laps. By Lap 13 McLaughlin was glued to Percat’s bumper, barging his way through at Southern Loop a lap later to take the lead.
But it was short-lived. Four laps later McLaughlin was caught out by lapped traffic at the last corner, allowing Percat to sweep past and re-take the lead. On Lap 20, McLaughlin went back through to the front at turn four.
It was the pitstop later that lap that ultimately decided the race. While Percat’s co-driver Smollen had a clean getaway, a stuck pitlane speed limiter cost McLaughlin’s co-driver Steven Grove six seconds and he tried to re-joined the race.
From there Smollen could control the race on his way to victory.
“We just paused from here last year and went ‘lets go again’,” said Percat on his battle with McLaughlin. “Shane did an awesome job and got it home in one piece.”
With the time lost thanks to limiter, Grove spent most of the second stint bickering over second place with John Goodacre, who had taken over the #14 entry from Cameron McConville.
It turned out to be another cracking battle, with GT3 Cup Challenge regular Goodacre pushing Grove right to the finish, falling just short of nabbing second place.
Nick McBride and Neale Muston wound up fourth, with Shae Davies/Geoff Emery entry coming from eighth on the grid to finish fifth.