Audi claim the major silverware in Australian GT final – Drive Safe and Fast

Motorsports

Published on December 2nd, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Audi claim the major silverware in Australian GT final

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Coming into the final event of the 2015 Australian GT season, Audi was primed to achieve two championship victories, with Audi Sport customer racing Australia team-mates locked into a title fight in both the outright [Championship] and Trophy classes.

Ultimately Audi claimed both title wins, with German factory star Christopher Mies, and team-mates Greg Taylor and Barton Mawer claiming the silverware, all three drivers celebrating their maiden season in the hotly contested GT3 championship with victory.

With just two 60-minute races scheduled to close out the 2015 Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli, no-one was quite sure on who would claim the coveted GT3 crown. On paper Jamec-Pem Racing’s Christopher Mies held a strong advantage over title rival Nathan Antunes, although the latter had tasted the champagne in New Zealand in the past so held an early advantage.

Qualifying saw the two locked together with little separating them, the pair ultimately claiming third [Antunes] and fourth [Mies] for the first of the two 60-minute races, with Mies new team-mate and fellow factory driver Christopher Haase taking the top spot in the #75 Jamec-Pem entry.

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Off the front row, V8 Supercar star Shane Van Gisbergen charged away from the field with Haase and Antunes battling over second place with local driver Graeme Smyth, whilst Mies sat in a watching brief from behind.

Initially Haase had the pace, but slowly Antunes pulled him in, the Skwirk/Beechwood Homes driver doing everything he could to get past, before finally diving up the inside at the forest hairpin as they came up to lap some slower cars.

Antunes looked to have taken the position away, but Haase also moved across as they approached the corner, making contact with Antunes which forced them both into retirement, in the process bringing Antunes’ challenge for the title – and his weekend in the #6 Audi – to a close.

With Antunes out of the equation, and Haase also sitting on the sidelines, Mies handed the car across to team-mate Ryan Millier to complete the job, the pair falling just short of the podium with fourth place.

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Mark Griffith turned in one of his best drives of the year to claim a top ten finish in the Hog’s Breath Audi, and with it, victory in the Trophy Class to close down points leaders Taylor/Mawer, with his championship rivals home immediately behind to carry the title fight all the way down to the final race.

The returning Peter Fitzgerald was 14th, the experienced veteran lamenting contact with a lapped Porsche mid race which forced him to pit to replace a wheel, ultimately dropping him back down the order.

With Antunes out, the championship trophy was effectively in Mies’ hands but the German still had one race remaining, and the championship favourites were back in the mix ahead of the compulsory pit stop, but contact between Millier and McLaren’s Tony Quinn saw the Audi driver receive a drive through penalty, all but negating a run at the podium. Mies was ultimately forced to work his way through to 11th, immediately behind Trophy Class winner Mark Grififth.

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Whilst Mies took the Championship class title, Griffith had done everything he needed to, to take the title fight up to Taylor and Mawer in Trophy Class, and at one point looked to have the title in his grasp with Taylor buried in the sand trap early in the race. Fortunately for the Adina Apartments team, officials recovered the #38 Audi, allowing Mawer to take the finish three laps down, but with enough points to claim the title over their Audi rival by 25 points.

Sadly Peter Fitzgerald and the Steven McLaughlan/Christopher Haase combination were forced into retirement during the race, Fitzgerald eliminated after the car went into ‘limp’ mode after contact mid race caused a failure in a wheel sensor, which affected the ECU, whilst McLaughlan was forced to withdraw after recurring damage as a result of contact in race one forced them out mid race.

Whilst Mies was able to celebrate victory on his debut in Australian GT – Audi Sports customer racing Australia’s second Australian GT crown (the first for Mark Eddy back in 2011) – and Taylor and Mawer added a second Trophy Class title to the victory which Rod Salmon claimed in 2014, there was still one more race remaining on the 2015 calendar – the coveted Highlands 101.

Qualifying saw Mies and Millier once more on the front row, with Mawer an impressive ninth alongside Nathan Antunes who was subbing for Taylor, whilst McLaughlan was 13th, Griffith 16th and Fitzgerald 20th. With an extended time pit-stop penalty for teams who qualified towards the front of the field, the 101 starting positions weren’t a true indication of the pace of the teams, with strategy playing a part in the three hour plus event.

Ultimately Mies and Millier closed out their year with second place, the German hounding V8 Supercar hero Shane Van Gisbergen across the closing laps to cross the line just metres behind the McLaren, whilst 2014 101 runner-up Antunes was eighth alongside Mawer, immediately ahead of Fitzgerald and V8 Supercar star and former 101 winner Fabian Coulthard, whilst Daniel Gaunt and Mark Griffith were 11th.

Sadly for Christopher Haase his debut in Australian GT saw only a top qualifying position for the opening Australian GT race, the German and team-boss Steve McLaughlan forced out of the event early after again falling foul to problems as a result of contact with Antunes, although for McLaughlan, it was a weekend that also saw his team claim their maiden Australian GT title.

For the Jamec-Pem Racing team the focus now turns to the opening event of the 2016 season, the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour where the team will feature an all-star cast including V8 Supercar champions Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander, and international stars Christopher Mies and Christopher Haase.

Meanwhile Taylor and Mawer will be joined by title contender Antunes in their new Adina Apartments Audi R8 LMS, with Peter Fitzgerald also expected to enter his Eva Racing/Evolve Technik Audi R8 ultra.

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Rnd#6 2015 Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli

Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell, NZ (13-15 November, 2015)

Qualifying #1: (13 November)

  1. Nathan Antunes(Skwirk/Beechwood Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra) – 1:32.984
  2. Graeme Smythe (Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) – 1:34.326
  3. Ryan Millier (Jamec-Pem Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra) – 1:34.358
  4. Morgan Haber (Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3) – 1:34.527
  5. Tony D’Alberto (Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) – 1:34.535
  6. Klark Quinn (McLaren 650S GT3) – 1:35.646
  7. Craig Baird (Porsche GT3-R) – 1:35.871
  8. Steve Owen (Lamborghini Gallardo LP560) – 1:36.440
  9. Peter Fitzgerald(Eva Racing/Evolve Technik Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra) – 1:36.885
  10. Roger Lago (Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX) – 1:37.750
  11. Steve McLaughlan(Jamec-Pem Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra) – 1:38.091
  12. Mark Griffith(Hog’s Breath Audi R8 LMS GT3)* – 1:38.212
  13. Greg Taylor(Adina Apartments Audi R8 LMS GT3)* – 1:38.615

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Qualifying #2: (13 November)

  1. Christopher Haase(Jamec-Pem Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra) – 1:32.709
  2. Shane Van Gisbergen (McLaren 650S GT3) – 1:32.753
  3. Christopher Mies(Jamec-Pem Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra) – 1:33.034
  4. Jono Lester (Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) – 1:33.146
  5. Nathan Antunes(Skwirk/Beechwood Audi R8 GT3 ultra) – 1:33.562
  6. George Miedecke (Aston Martin Vantage GT3) – 1:34.042
  7. Matt Campbell (Ginetta G55 GT3) – 1:34.161
  8. Shae Davies (Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3) – 1:34.856
  9. Morgan Haber (Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3) – 1:34.864
  10. Cameron McConville (Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) – 1:35.262
  11. Mark Griffith(Hog’s Breath Audi R8 LMS GT3)* – 1:37.181
  12. Peter Fitzgerald(Eva Racing/Evolve Technik Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra) – 1:37.469
  13. Barton Mawer (Adina Apartments Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 1:38.200

Race#1 (60-minutes): (14 November)

  1. Klark Quinn/Shane Van Gisbergen (McLaren 650S GT3)
  2. Jono Lester/Graeme Smythe (Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
  3. Max Twigg/Shae Davies (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3)
  4. Ryan Millier/Christopher Mies(Jamec-Pem Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra)
  5. Tony Quinn/Garth Tander (McLaren 650S GT3)
  6. Grant Denyer/Tony D’Alberto (Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
  7. Tony Walls/Warren Luff (McLaren 650S GT3)
  8. Roger Lago (Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX)
  9. Mark Griffith (Hog’s Breath Audi R8 LMS GT3)*
  10. Greg Taylor/Barton Mawer(Adina Apartments Audi R8 LMS GT3)*
  11. Peter Fitzgerald(Eva Racing/Evolve Technik Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra)

DNF. Steve McLaughlan/Christopher Haase (Jamec-Pem Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra)

DNF. Nathan Antunes (Skwirk/Beechwood Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra)

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Race#2 (60-minutes): (14 November)

  1. Morgan Haber (Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3)
  2. Craig Baird/Scott Taylor (Porsche GT3-R)
  3. Jono Lester/Graeme Smythe (Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
  4. Klark Quinn/Shane Van Gisbergen (McLaren 650S GT3)
  5. Grant Denyer/Tony D’Alberto (Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
  6. Roger Lago (Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX)
  7. Jan Jinadasa/Steve Owen (Lamborghini Gallardo LP560)
  8. Tony Walls/Warren Luff (McLaren 650S GT3)
  9. Andrew Macpherson/Brad Shiels (Porsche GT3-R)
  10. Mark Griffith(Hog’s Breath Audi R8 LMS GT3)*
  11. Ryan Millier/Christopher Mies(Jamec-Pem Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra)
  12. Greg Taylor/Barton Mawer(Adina Apartments Audi R8 LMS GT3)*

DNF. Peter Fitzgerald (Eva Racing/Evolve Technik Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra)

DNF. Steve McLaughlan/Christopher Haase (Jamec-Pem Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra)

DNS. Nathan Antunes (Skwirk/Beechwood Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra)

Highlands 101 (101-laps): (15 November)

  1. Klark Quinn/Shane Van Gisbergen (McLaren 650S GT3)
  2. Christopher Mies/Ryan Millier(Jamec-Pem Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra)
  3. Morgan Haber/Jack LeBrocq (Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3)
  4. Max Twigg/Shae Davies (Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3)
  5. Roger Lago/David Russell (Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX)
  6. Grant Denyer/Tony D’Alberto (Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
  7. Tony Walls/Warren Luff (McLaren 650S GT3)
  8. Barton Mawer/Nathan Antunes(Adina Apartments Audi R8 LMS GT3)*
  9. Peter Fitzgerald/Fabian Coulthard (Eva Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra)
  10. Theo Koundouris/Marcus Marshall (Porsche 997 Cup-S)*
  11. Mark Griffith/Daniel Gaunt (Hog’s Breath Audi R8 LMS GT3)*

DNF. Steve McLaughlan/Christopher Haase (Jamec-Pem Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra)

* GT Trophy Class

2015 Australian GT Championship 

GT Championship Class 
(points after round six of six)

  1. Christopher Mies(643-points), 2. Grant Denyer (549), 3. Klark Quinn (531), 4.Nathan Antunes (514), 5. Jono Lester (496), 6. Tony Quinn (433), 7. Tony D’Alberto (432), 8. Graeme Smyth (416), 9. Max Twigg (366), 10. Ryan Millier(343), 11. Geoff Emery (300), 11. Greg Crick (300), 15. Steven McLaughlan(233)

GT Trophy Class (points after round six of six)

  1. Greg Taylor/Barton Mawer(643-points), 2. Theo Koundouris (618), 3. Mark Griffith (581), 4. Simon Ellingham (447), 5. Jan Jinadasa (244)

 


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