Audi dominates Phillip Island
Audi has got off to a sensational start in the first round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia.
Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit proved a very happy hunting ground for Audi over the weekend, with the brand taking both races in the GT World Challenge as well as winning two of the three TCR races.
Daniel Kalisz and Jack Martin
15 March, 2021
From qualifying through to the checkered flag in the two races of the event, Audi R8s set the pace
It was an all Audi weekend at the season-opening Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS race at Phillip Island. From qualifying through to the checkered flag in the two races of the event, Audi R8s set the pace, with plenty of action up at the pointy end of proceedings to keep fans at the track and watching from home happy.
The weekend also saw the second round of this year’s Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series as part of the undercard, with Audi represented by the mighty RS3 LMS and again, right out front of the pack from qualifying onwards.
Supercars ace Chaz Mostert was back in both categories, and he was absolutely one fire all weekend. In race one of the GTs, he took pole position over fellow V8 Supercar and Audi driver, Garth Tander, only to have Tander take the race proper from him.
Tander, who is no stranger to the Audi R8 LMS GT3, was right in his element even when the fickle weather at Phillip Island threw plenty of challenges at the drivers. Sharing the Audi with Yasser Shahin, Tander crossed the line in race one some 14 seconds ahead of the nearest competition, while Jamie Whincup and Prince Jefri Ibrahim were second in the Triple Eight Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, and Chaz Mostert made a last-lap pass to take the final spot on the podium in the Bostik Audi R8 LMS GT3.
“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,” Tander said at the end of the first race.
The second race, held on the Sunday saw an epic battle at the front of the field that pitted Tander, Mostert and Whincup against one another, with safety cars deployed for various incidents allowing any advantage by one of the drivers to be evened out and the racing tp effectively start again.
With Tander laying the platform this time, it was up to co-driver Yasser Shahin, to take it to the opposition once he got behind the wheel, and he left nothing in reserve as he carved through the field to settle into second behind the Grove Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Then, with another safety car deployed towards the end of the hour-long race, Shahin was able to get close enough to the Porsche to put a move on down the main straight to take the lead and ultimately the race.
With two wins from two starts, the Shahin/Tander duo were understandably thrilled with the result. “I’m stoked I don’t think it could have gone better for us," said Shahin.
“Even with a pit stop handicap today I think we mitigated that perfectly with Garth’s drive and luck turned our way and I didn’t make a mistake.”
Tander was likewise all smiles with the weekend.
“I knew that was going to be on and it was important to get into the lead and get clear air so we got that. We didn’t quite have the tyre pressures right so I sort of pulled a gap but Chaz was obviously a bit stronger. That safety car neutralised and helped us a little bit; good fun battling with Chaz, I hope it looked good on TV and everything because we were having a crack.”
Mostert and co-driver, Tony Bates had to settle for another third place finish in their R8 LMS GT3, but they were right in the mix throughout the weekend and two podium finishes from the two starts was a tremendous result.
For Mostert, the TCR category supplied even more success, winning both the first and second of the three races in the round to come away a clear winner for the weekend. Fellow RS 3 LMS driver, Luke King likewise had a successful weekend in the category, taking second in races one and two, for a weekend where Audi was dominant across the categories.
Fans of GT racing won’t have long to wait to see more of the action with Round 2 of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS taking place on hallowed ground at Mount Panorama from April 2-4.
For Mostert, the TCR category supplied even more success, winning two of the three races in the round
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