PHOTOS: Daniel Kalisz
Garth Tander and Yasser Shahin won a thrilling season-opening Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS race at Phillip Island.
Tander took the No. 777 The Bend Motorsport Park Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo to a 14-second victory in the first 60-minute race at the Victorian circuit and subsequently won the Pro-Am class.
After the race Tander was full of praise for Shahin,
“It’s really important for Audi so it’s great to get that first win and Yasser set the race up getting to the lead,” said Tander.
“We spent a lot of time working on his speed and making sure he was really comfortable in the car and that really paid off because he got to the lead and even those couple of laps before the safety car pulled a big gap.
“That really just enabled me to jump in and manage the gap; the team did an awesome job and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Jamie Whincup and Prince Jefri Ibrahim were second in the Triple Eight Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, while Chaz Mostert made a last-lap pass to take the final spot on the podium in the Bostik Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.
A safety car was needed in the early stages after a heavy crash for the Aston Martin Vantage of Michael Bailey.
Bailey looped the car exiting Turn 3 and speared across to the inside of the circuit landing up sideways in the earth-bank.
While Bailey was uninjured his Aston Martin is out for the weekend.
Brad Schumacher finished the race in fourth at the wheel of his Audi R8 LMS Ultra, while Matt Stoupas completed the top five in his Audi R8 LMS GT3 after running second after the pit stop sequence.
Schumacher was also the best of the Trophy runners and won the Am class.
Grove Motorsport recovered to sixth after dramas with the pit limiter during the mandatory pit stop in the hands of Stephen Grove saw them drop out of the top three.
Brenton Grove jumped in the Porsche 911 GT3 R at the pit stop having fallen to 15th and drove back up the order to just outside the top five by the chequered flag.
Brett Hobson had a strong run to seventh in the Nissan GTR NISMO GT3, while Tony Quinn was eighth despite contact in the early stages.
Trophy class competitors Nick Kelly and Greg Taylor, both in Audis, rounded out the top 10.
The Ferrari 488 GT3 of Adrian Deitz stopped on track due to opening lap contact with the spinning Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Andrew MacPherson.
Gary Higgon retired to the garage after making contact with Quinn, while Wayne Mack lost control of his Ferrari 458 GT3 in slippery conditions at the final corner and impacted the pit wall on the final lap.
Both Ferrari’s have withdrawn from the event as a result of damage.
Race 2 is scheduled for 11:50 AEDT on Sunday.