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GT World Challenge Australia

Supercars Star Brown Gets First Win at The Bend

MPC Audi and Triple Eight Mercedes-AMG squads share victories as Chaz Mostert, Liam Talbot extend points lead…

Photo: GT World Challenge Australia

Supercars championship leader Will Brown celebrated his first Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS victory alongside MPC Audi teammate Brad Schumacher upon the series’ return to The Bend last weekend.

Brown and Schumacher won Sunday’s second race at the South Australia venue in their Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II, while Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG duo Peter Hackett and Declan Fraser took the spoils in Saturday’s opener.

Meanwhile, a brace of second-place finishes for Phillip Island winners Chaz Mostert and Liam Talbot in the best of the two Arise Racing GT Ferrari 296 GT3s allowed the pair to extend their championship lead.

The first race of the weekend saw the gentleman drivers at the wheel for the start in the Pro-Am class, but it was Garth Walden in the Am class RAM Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo that led the opening stint ahead of Schumacher’s Audi and Talbot’s Ferrari.

Inevitably the RAM car dropped out of contention when the pros took over for the second stint, and it was the Triple Eight Mercedes-AMG that gained the most from the stops as Hackett, who had run fourth, handed over to Fraser.

With all the contenders for victory pitting at the same time, Fraser emerged in the lead ahead of the Arise Ferraris of Mostert and Jaxon Evans, who took over from Elliott Schutte, with the MPC Audi that Schumacher handed to Brown slipping to fourth.

That was how the order up front remained, with Fraser hanging on to take victory by a fraction under two seconds from Mostert to make it three different winning manufacturers in the first three races.

Walden and his teammate in the RAM Mercedes-AMG, Mike Sheargold, lost out on Am class honors in the closing stages to Valmont Audi pair Sergio Pires and Marcel Valloua, who were 10th overall.

In the second race, in which the pros took the start, Mostert grabbed an early lead in his Arise Ferrari ahead of the MPC Audis of Brendon Leitch and Brown, with the latter taking advantage of lapped traffic to move up to second in the opening stint.

That allowed Brown to chase down fellow Supercars regular Mostert before the pit stops, but both Brown and Leitch were able to gain the advantage by pitting a lap later than Mostert, making it an Audi 1-2 at the head of the field.

Schumacher went on to take a comfortable victory by 17.5 seconds as his opposite number in the second-placed Audi, Tim Miles, dropped back and came under pressure from the two Arise Ferraris, now in the hands of Talbot and Schutte.

With less than ten minutes on the clock, Talbot pulled off a pass for second and the penultimate corner, before Schutte made it two 296 GT3s on the podium after his third attempt at getting around Miles succeeded.

Race 1 winners Fraser and Hackett could only manage sixth this time around, behind the Team BRM Audi shared by Mark Rosser and Alex Peroni.

Walden and Sheargold meanwhile made amends for their Saturday disappointment by taking Am class victory in 11th overall.

Having previously led by just two points, Mostert and Talbot now enjoy a seven-point margin at the head of the Pro-Am drivers’ standings from Brown and Schumacher, with Leitch and Miles now 16 points adrift in third.

The third round of the Fanatec GT Australia season takes place at Queensland Raceway on Aug. 2-4.

RESULTS: Race 1/Race 2

Jamie Klein is Sportscar365's Asian editor. Japan-based Klein, who previously worked for Motorsport Network on the Motorsport.cоm and Autosport titles, covers the FIA World Endurance Championship and SUPER GT, among other series.

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