Heading into this afternoon’s second of two one-hour races for the weekend at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Andre Heimgartner led David Wall in the Carrera Cup Australia title standings by just one point.
Courtesy of a third-place finish in this afternoon’s 60-minute stanza, the Melbourne-based Kiwi has ensured that he leaves round three with his title lead not only intact, but now extended to a 10-point buffer.
In a reverse to yesterday’s driver order, Heimgartner brought home the #777 Bob Jane T-Marts Porsche while it was up to co-driver Aaron Ireland to greet the starter in wet conditions.
The Porsche GT3 regular put in an admirable job at the wheel on slick tyres at the start, before pitting mid-way through his stint for wet tyres. On both slicks and wets, Ireland’s concentration was on keeping the car straight and ready for Heimgartner to take over for the race to the end – something easier said than done for many in the field amidst the tricky weather.
From lap 16 and in drying conditions, it was time for Heimgartner to set to work carving his way through the field, consistently setting fast lap after fast lap – including the quickest rotation of the race of 1m 32.2839s to overtake competitor after competitor.
His first major challenge came when approaching his closest title contender David Wall, with the pair trading positions for a number of laps before Heimgartner was able to make it stick on the penultimate lap before going on to pass Duvashen Padayachee on the very last corner to secure the #777 a race podium.
“It was a wet and wild start for Aaron but he did a great start to keep out of trouble despite the rain and slick tyres,” Heimgartner said.
“I had a really enjoyable stint, it was great. The car was fast and I was able to move through the field. The battle with Wall was obviously important and I was pretty happy to get in front of him and then to get by Padaychee on the last corner down the inside as well – I was pretty happy with that!
“Any time you can leave the race track leading the title, it is a good feeling. We have been able to do so for each of the three rounds held so far for the 2017 Carrera Cup Australia title – hopefully we can keep the streak going when we head to Darwin in a few weeks’ time for round four!”
Round four will be held at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway across June 16-18.