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RESULTS: Monday Night GT3 League 2014 - Round 5 @ Le Mans 24hr

Thursday, June 05, 2014

As we step into some of the more intense endurance rounds of the GT3 championship, the format was changed to 3 hours. The Le Mans 24 Hour is one of the three most prestigious events in the motorsport world, a win every driver would like to add to their racing resume. The Racecentre 2.4 hour gave drivers the perfect blend of challenge of a race around the clock, just in a more manageable fashion.

Qualify:

Despite drivers having 40 minutes to qualify, all cars were quick to join the track as soon as the green light opened the session. With the sudden grouping of cars on track, it was questioned whether we would see the slipstream and teamwork play a role in setting the best time. Ross Rizzo, Francarlo Rizzo and newcomer Stuart Vaughan rose to the top in an exclusive 4:05 bracket, barely tenths separating them. The popular choice of car was clearly the McLaren MP4, however Allan Marks surprised all with his raw top speed in the slightly older Ferrari F430. Ross Rizzo with only seconds to go in the session had one more ace in his sleeve finding another 0.5 seconds to take pole position.

The Race:

The opening lap was challenge of survival through the first chicane and Esses. Allan and Tim Hamilton appeared to make contact, whilst Francarlo and Chris Paras spun. Ross and Stuart began an intense drafting duel with constant changes for the lead. As per previous rounds, Shane Gilfeather and Jason Brooks found themselves battling for the same piece of track. As the race settled into a rhythm, three main battle packs emerged. The duel between Ross and Stuart slowly allowed a recovering Francarlo back into the mix, with Jason and Allan not too far behind.

Andrew Clarke and Chris Paras initiated the first of the pit stops after 8 laps. Pat O’Reilly attempted to power away from his on-track group, but goes off into the barriers at Indianapolis. Nathan Tregarthen also finds the wall, but is lucky enough that it was on the entry to pit lane, minimising time lost limping around the track. Just as Francarlo catches the lead pair, Ross dives to the pit for his first stop. Stuart accidentally missing the pitlane entry is forced to stay out on tyres that are becoming quite the handful, both him and Allan spin on the subsequent laps. Francarlo benefits and is recorded as the race leader on lap 11. Unfortunely, all goes wrong for Stuart. His tyres blow out on the other end if the circuit, requiring him to limp all the way back to the pits. Francarlo is then processed and is only 2 seconds behind Ross. By lap 12 only Jason has stayed out, attempting to stretch his stint to the halfway mark, succeeds and rejoins in 3rd.

The darkness sets in. Ross takes his final stop on lap 19, 30 seconds behind one-stopper Jason. Positions 6-9 all find themselves in the pits together at the same time for one final dash to the line. Pat and Allan dice it up for 5th with the former having a huge crash on the entry to the straight. Meanwhile, Jason does all he can to maintain the tyres, the gap dwindling to 2 seconds with only 4 laps to go. Ross sneaks up the side but Jason manages to hold the draft and fight, atleast until the twisty bits. On the final lap, Stuart charges past two drivers, whereas Nathan Tregarthan was very unlucky to lose two spots. Ross crosses the line after a flawless drive in front of regular podium sitters, Jason and Francarlo.

By Matt Anderson

Race Results:

 

Finish Start Diff Driver Car Laps Race time Fastest lap Qual. time
1 1 - Ross Rizzo McLaren MP4-12C 28 1:58:22.060 4:06.124 4:05.192
2 6 +4 Jason Brooks McLaren MP4-12C 28 +0:07.308 4:08.139 4:09.563
3 2 -1 Francarlo Rizzo McLaren MP4-12C 28 +0:09.483 4:05.797 4:05.537
4 7 +3 Tim Hamilton Nissan GT-R GT3 28 +1:40.555 4:10.014 4:10.819
5 5 - Allan Marks Ferrari F430 28 +2:08.559 4:09.425 4:08.767
6 3 -3 Stuart Vaughan McLaren MP4-12C 28 +2:27.651 4:07.045 4:05.698
7 9 +2 Shane Gilfeather Vantage GT3 28 +2:33.683 4:09.145 4:13.286
8 10 +2 Nathan Tregarthan Porsche 997 CupR 28 +2:42.759 4:10.591 4:13.684
9 4 -5 Pat O'Reilly McLaren MP4-12C 28 +3:25.752 4:10.161 4:08.473
10 11 +1 Chris Herringe McLaren MP4-12C 27 +1 lap 4:14.800 4:16.449
11 13 +2 Enda Murphy McLaren MP4-12C 26 DNF 4:15.972 4:19.411
12 12 - Chris Paras McLaren MP4-12C 26 +2 laps 4:17.743 4:18.876
13 8 -5 Andrew Clarke McLaren MP4-12C 15 DNF 4:13.210 4:13.249

Championship Standings:

 

        2014 GT3 League
Drivers State Race 1  Race 2  Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Race 6 Race 7 Race 8 Race 9 Race 10 Race 11 Race 12 Total Points Current Place
Ross Rizzo QLD 20 20 20 20 20               100 1st
Francarlo Rizzo QLD 15 17 15 17 15               79 2nd
Jason Brooks NSW 17 13 17 10 17               74 3rd
Tim Hamilton QLD 7 15 13 15 13               63 4th
Allan Marks NSW 8 8 8 11 12               47 5th
Nathan Tregarthan NSW 3 10 10 13 9               45 6th
Shane Van Gilfeather NSW 0 12 11 12 10               45 7th
Chris Herringe QLD 12 6 0 9 7               34 8th
Nikolai Valge NSW 10 11 12 0 0               33 9th
Pat O'Reilly NSW 9 9 7 0 8               33 10th
Iain Salteri QLD 13 0 0 0 0               13 11th
Chris Paras NSW 0 7 0 0 5               12 12th
Ryan Healy QLD 11 0 0 0 0               11 13th
Stuart Vaughan NSW 0 0 0 0 11               11 14th
Iain McIntosh QLD 0 0 9 0 0               9 15th
Rob Cooper QLD 6 0 0 0 0               6 16th
Enda Murphy QLD 0 0 0 0 6               6 17th
Justin Wilson NSW 5 0 0 0 0               5 18th
Luke Bannano NSW 4 0 0 0 0               4 19th
Andrew Clarke NSW 0 0 0 0 4               4 20th
Evan Golbach NSW 2 0 0 0 0               2 21st
Todd Varacalli QLD 1 0 0 0 0               1 22nd

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