Mawer & Taylor still lead Trophy class after up-down-up Sandown
Barton Mawer and Greg Taylor will take a 25-point Trophy class lead into the final round of the Australian GT Championship after an ‘up, down and up’ fifth round at Sandown.
Mawer started the round strongly by qualifying the Adina Apartment Hotels Audi R8 LMS fastest in the class for superseded GT3 models, but he and Taylor finished a disappointing fourth in Saturday’s first of two hour-long races.
Mawer received an early pitlane drive-through penalty, and Taylor had a late-race spin on the 3.1km Melbourne circuit.
But on Sunday they struck back in the second race to take maximum class points.
The results put Mawer and Taylor second for the round behind Porsche solo driver Theo Koundouris, who took over second place from Mark Griffith (Audi) in the Trophy class pointscore.
“This was a strange round for us, with two great results and a not-so-good one,” Mawer said.
“I managed to set the fastest Trophy class qualifying lap despite my session being red-flagged and a minor fuel system issue preventing me from making a second attempt.
“In the first race I copped a drive-through for overtaking another car before crossing the Start line. It isn’t hard to do in a rolling start with everyone accelerating when the green lights go off, but it was my mistake.
“After that I came back through the field to be leading the class when it was time to come into the pits to hand the car over to Greg for his stint.
“He drove really well and was third in class until he spun a few laps from the finish, which dropped us another spot.
“We made amends in the second race, even though Greg had to recover after one of the faster Championship class cars pushed him out of the way on the second lap.
“But he climbed back through the field from last place to be running second in class by our compulsory pit-stop.
“That put me in a good position to finish the job, and I caught and passed Theo for the class lead six laps from the end.”
Taylor’s driving continued to impress his ‘pro’ co-driver Mawer.
“Greg’s improved at every round of the GT Championship, and he took a step up this weekend,” Mawer said.
“It was the closest our lap times have ever been, and he’s getting more consistent, which shows that he’s getting comfortable driving the car.
“Even though the Audi is a 2011 model it’s still a very quick car. My fastest lap in the second race was only 1.5 seconds off the best Championship class time, so we’re at V8 Supercar pace.
“I have to keep reminding myself that Greg’s only in his second year of motor racing!”
Mawer remains cautious about the Adina Apartment Hotels team’s chances of winning the Trophy class title with only one round remaining at Highlands Motorsport Park, New Zealand, in November.
“There’s 165 points on offer at each round, so our lead won’t count for much at Highlands,” he said. “Still, I’d rather be 25 points ahead than 25 behind!
“Wall Racing has been doing a great job with the car preparation and pit work, so Greg and I just need to stay at or near the top of the class in qualifying and both races.
“But the competition has been extremely tight all year, and in motorsport anything can happen at any time, so I’m not counting our chickens until the last chequered flag!”
2015 Australian GT Championship round 5 – September 11-13, Sandown International Motor Raceway, Melbourne (3.1km)
QUALIFYING: Barton Mawer 1st in Trophy class; 16th outright
RACE 1 (45 laps/139.5km): Barton Mawer/Greg Taylor 4th in Trophy class; 20th outright
RACE 2 (49 laps/151.9km): Greg Taylor/Barton Mawer 1st in Trophy class, 14th outright
TROPHY CLASS POINTSCORE
1. Barton Mawer/Greg Taylor (2011 Audi R8 LMS) 643
3. Theo Koundouris (Porsche 996 GT3-S) 618
2. Mark Griffiths (2011 Audi R8 LMS) 581
NEXT ROUND (FINAL)
November 13-15 – Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell (New Zealand)