Liam Talbot and Max Hofer complete Bathurst clean-sweep
Shannons Insurance pairing Liam Talbot and Max Hofer took the final victory of the opening Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS round at Bathurst.
Talbot finished ahead of Prince Jefri Ibrahim and Broc Feeney in the lead Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG, while Brad Schumacher scored another outright podium in his Am Class Fuchs Audi.
Jamie Whincup won the front-row battle with teammate Feeney off the start, however halfway through the stint the pair swapped as the rising star displayed better speed and used this to build a 3s advantage.
Behind, Max Hofer held third and remained in touch for when Liam Talbot assumed the driving in the Shannons Insurance Audi R8 GT3 LMS Evo II ahead of Garnet Patterson, who made the best start to climb two positions in the EMA Motorsport/The Bend Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3R.
The top four held position until the pit stops as the compulsory timings favoured the two Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMGs due to bad luck yesterday as Feeney displayed the pace by setting a 2m 02.989s prior to the end of his stint.
Fuchs-supported Brad Schumacher was fifth and leader in the Am Class until German factory driver Christer Joens passed in the Jamec Racing Audi at the conclusion of the Bathurst local’s stint.
The two Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMGs of Prince Jefri Ibrahim and Prince Abu Bakar led, but dual-series winner Yasser Shahin, with Talbot in-tow, were in hot pursuit.
A penalty applied to Shahin for breaching the compulsory pit stop time dropped him from second to fifth allowing Talbot to charge through and catch the lead Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG. Despite a solid defence from Jefri Ibrahim, Talbot took the lead as he achieved a clean-sweep.
Ibrahim held on for second at the line but was later penalised 30 seconds for missing the Mountain Straight Gate on the cool down lap.
Schumacher passed on Emery at The Chase on the final lap elevated the local onto the podium, and ultimately second overall.
Shahin took fifth ahead of the second Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG of Abu Bakar and the Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport’s Ross Poulakis and Sam Brabham.
Second in Am Class were Matt Stoupas and Paul Stokell in the KFC Audi, with RAM Motorsport preventing a podium clean-sweep for four rings as Michael Sheargold and Garth Walden in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 were third.
Marcos Flack completed an impressive weekend to be inside the top 10 in the GT Trophy Class Sonic Motor Racing Services Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car.
Invitational Class was won by Geoff Taunton in 15th outright driving the MARC II.
Liam Talbot and Max Hofer hold the ascendency in the 2023 title heading to Round 2 at Perth on April 28-30.