Talbot Overcomes Penalty to Win Crazy Queensland Finale
Liam Talbot has overcome a fifteen second penalty following a controversial collision with Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim to win Race Two of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS at Queensland Raceway.
Talbot made a late lunge at turn six on lap forty-one attempting to take the lead, tagging the Triple Eight Race Engineering / JMR Mercedes into a spin, whilst the Shannons Audi Talbot shared with Garth Tander escaped the scene.
Talbot was slapped with the penalty when he had a fourteen and a half second lead on Pro-Am championship rival Geoff Emery’s Jamec Racing Audi, leaving Talbot with the task of stretching the gap by half a second over the remaining three laps.
The dramatic conclusion capped off a crazy second race for GT World Challenge Australia, and it all kicked off right from the moment the red lights went out.
In scenes reminiscent of the start of the Sunday race in Sydney, Max Hofer was incredibly aggressive at the rolling start, bumping doors with the Shannons Audi of Garth Tander as he forced his way into second at turn one from third on the grid.
The duelling Audis allowed Jamie Whincup to clear into the distance from pole position, whilst his Triple Eight Mercedes teammate Broc Feeney was also charging in the opening stanza, going from seventh to fourth in the opening laps.
Hofer was able to close the gap to Whincup, but the seven-time Supercars champion was able to maintain a half a second buffer over the Austrian, who was pushing his Audi to it’s limits in his pursuit of the Mercedes.
Hofer almost threw it all away on lap twenty, running wide at turn one and kicking up the dust after bouncing through the grass, though was right on the rear of Whincup once again within two laps.
All of the leaders were in at the end of the lap twenty seven, with Hofer glued to the bumper of the Whincup, followed by Tander four seconds back, Feeney five seconds back, with Garnet Patterson’s Porsche and Jayden Ojeda’s Mercedes ten seconds behind.
Whincup’s Triple Eight Mercedes maintained it’s lead, now with Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim at the wheel, with the Shannons Audi vaulting up to second with Pro-Am championship contender Liam Talbot at the helm, three seconds off the lead.
The sister Triple Eight Mercedes was now up to third, with Prince Jefri Ibrahim at the helm, ahead of Ross Poulakis in Ojeda’s Harrolds Racing / Volante Rosso Motorsport entry, who had Geoff Emery behind in the Jamec Racing Audi that had dropped from second to fifth.
The two Audis at the centre of the Pro-Am title fight came alive in the final fifteen minutes of the race, as Talbot rapidly chased down Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim in the lead, whilst Emery ranged up on the Mercedes of Poulakis for fourth.
The battle for the lead threatened to boil over on lap thirty-nine, when Ibrahim closed on the lapped MARC II Mustang of Invitational class runner Darren Currie, Talbot almost sneaking through after Ibrahim’s exit was compromised at turn three.
Talbot had another lunge at turn one at the beginning of lap forty-one, backing out in the nick of time as Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim closed the door, before the controversial collision came at the end of the lap.
Whilst the battle for the lead boiled over, there was another potentially pivotal moment in the Pro-Am championship in the fight for third, as Prince Jefri Ibrahim and Ross Poulakis both had wild offs at turn one, allowing Emery to cruise by into third.
Third soon became second for the Emery/Hofer Audi, as he was able to get by the recovering Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim in the lead Triple Eight Mercedes, and set about finishing within fifteen seconds of Talbot.
Talbot would hold on, the Shannons Audi co-driven by Tander claiming the win by just under two seconds once the penalty had been applied, with the Emery Hofer Audi second, and the A.Ibrahim/Whincup Mercedes completing the podium.
The top five was rounded out by the two Mercedes that had been off at turn one earlier in the race, with the Poulakis/Ojeda entry ahead of the J.Ibrahim/Feeney Mercedes.
The Am class was won by the Audi of Brad Schumacher, who recovered from a tough start to finish a strong seventh outright, whilst GT3 Trophy once again went to Renee Gracie in the Only Fans Audi in fifteenth outright.
And the Invitational class was won by the MARC GT of Geoff Tanuton and Daniel Jilesen in thirteenth outright.
The stage is set for an epic championship showdown in late November, when Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS returns for their final round of the season at the VAILO Adelaide 500 from November 23-26.