Two victories for Steve McLaughlan at Winton have seen the Valvoline Jamec Pem Audi driver extend his Series lead after Rond 2 of the CAMS Australian GT Trophy Series presented by Pirelli.
Having qualified strongly on Saturday, McLaughlan raced his way to the front of the field in both races, dominating the second half of Race 1 in commanding style.
He was then made to work hard in Race 2, pressuring Matt Stoupas into a mistake on the penultimate lap to seal back to back victories.
“Going into the weekend we would have been happy just to score some points, but to come away with two wins is great,” said McLaughlan.
McLaughlan was embroiled in a thrilling three-way battle for the lead in the dying moments of Race 2, pressuring race leader Matt Stoupas (Kentucky Fried Chicken Audi R8 LMS) into a late race mistake.
“That was fun. We’re all in the same cars so it comes down to being patient and picking your moment, and that’s what we did.”
A late safety car bunched the field with just six minutes left in Race 2, with race leader Stoupas beginning to struggle on worn tyres.
Try as he might the pressure proved too much, and a small mistake at the penultimate corner saw him open the door for McLaughlan.
Rod Salmon was in the thick of the action, leading the opening race before joining McLaughlan and Stoupas in the lead battle in the closing stages of Race 2.
The intense pace eventually forced a mistake from the Skwirk Online Education pilot, leaving the circuit at Turn 6 and becoming stuck in the gravel.
It followed a strong opening event where he held a comfortable second place ahead of Rick Mensa (CCC Polished Concrete Audi) who enjoyed the best weekend of his Australian GT career, with third overall after two podium places.
Travers Beynon also enjoyed a breakthrough weekend, finishing a strong fourth in the black and gold Audi R8 LMS on his debut at Winton Motor Raceway.
Earlier, Rio Nugara and Jake Fouracre had their opening race halted at the first turn, when an incident left the Eat Furniture Audi pointing the wrong way at the start of Race 1
Their day didn’t get any better with technical issues forcing Fouracre to pull into the garage shortly after taking the car over from Nugara.
A near perfect weekend for McLaughlan sees him pocket 218 of the 220 points on offer at Winton, and now heads the Series by 102 points over Salmon.
Despite that, and with three rounds remaining, McLaughlan refuses to get ahead of himself.
“You can have just one DNF and it changes the whole nature of the thing, so until we get to the final round it is what it is.”
The CAMS Australian GT Trophy Series presented by Pirelli now heads to Queensland Raceway for Round 3 (August 5-6) while coverage of this weekend’s event will be shown on Speedweek in the coming weeks.
Australian GT will next be in action at Townsville as the CAMS Australian GT Championship ventures to the popular Queensland event on July (7-9).
Race 1 Results
|1||Audi Sport Customer Racing||Steve McLaughlan||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||50:37.482|
|2||Audi Sport Customer Racing||Rod Salmon||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||50:59.505|
|3||CCC Polished Concrete||Rick Mensa||Audi R8 LMS||51:10.305|
|4||Safe-T-Stop||Richard Gartner||Lamborghini Gallardo GT3||51:16.395|
|5||Kentucky Fried Chicken||Matthew Stoupas||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||51:17.353|
|6||Malibu Boats||Xavier West||Porsche 997 Cup Car||51:29.518|
|7||Audi Sport Customer Racing||Rob Smith||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||51:30.333|
|8||Harcourts Epping||Emanuel Mezzasalma||Porsche 997 Cup Car||51:56.190|
|9||Gap Solutions/SEKTOR||John Goodacre||MARC Focus V8||50:45.188|
|10||Travers Beynon Racing||Travers Beynon||Audi R8 LMS||50:45.439|
|11||Griffith Corporation||Mark Griffith||Ferrari F430||51:51.982|
|12||Whitlock Bullbars||Con Whitlock||Audi R8 LMS||50:57.592|
|13||Audi Sport Customer Racing||Rio Nugara/Jake Fouracre||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||51:40.055|
|DNF||JJA Consulting Group||Jan Jinadasa||Lamborghini Gallardo GT3||50:31.540|
Race 2 Results
|1||Audi Sport Customer Racing||Steve McLaughlan||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||51:15.210|
|2||Kentucky Fried Chicken||Matthew Stoupas||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||51:19.203|
|3||CCC Polished Concrete||Rick Mensa||Audi R8 LMS||51:20.373|
|4||Travers Beynon Racing||Travers Beynon||Audi R8 LMS||51:22.005|
|5||Safe-T-Stop||Richard Gartner||Lamborghini Gallardo GT3||51:22.433|
|6||Harcourts Epping||Emanuel Mezzasalma||Porsche 997 Cup Car||51:26.258|
|7||Gap Solutions/SEKTOR||John Goodacre||MARC Focus V8||51:27.177|
|8||Malibu Boats||Xavier West||Porsche 997 Cup Car||51:27.771|
|9||JJA Consulting Group||Jan Jinadasa||Lamborghini Gallardo GT3||51:32.198|
|10||Griffith Corporation||Mark Griffith||Ferrari F430||51:37.591|
|11||Whitlock Bullbars||Con Whitlock||Audi R8 LMS||51:55.944|
|DNF||Audi Sport Customer Racing||Rod Salmon||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||48:28.731|
|DNF||Audi Sport Customer Racing||Rio Nugara/Jake Fouracre||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||29:53.665|
|DNF||Audi Sport Customer Racing||Rob Smith||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||28:34.189|