Mark Fattore wraps up the opening race of the Porsche series at Albert Park
A spirited Steve Richards has snapped Warren Luff’s three-race winning streak in the 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup with an all-the-way victory in today’s 10-lap race at the Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
Richards got the best of a dog-fight for hole-shot honours at the start of the race and then maintained his ascendancy for the entire journey, running out a 1.59-second winner over Luff, with Nick Foster completing the podium.
It was Richards’ fifth Carrera Cup victory and his second at Albert Park – the first coming in last year’s Albert Park opener. Richards also trimmed six points off Luff’s championship lead in the process, with the latter – who whitewashed the opening round in Adelaide -- now holding a 24-point buffer at the top of the standings.
As usual, there were skirmishes aplenty through the entire Carrera Cup field, as well as a couple of single-car incidents – the worst being Tony Walls’ heavy panel-damaging shunt against the wall.
Walls and Maurice Pickering were the only non-finishers in the 23-car field.
The arm-wrestle for fourth between Michael Patrizi and Shae Davies was a beauty, with the former finally sneaking past his opponent on lap eight to make the position his own.
Davies’ consolation was producing the fastest lap of the race – a 1:58.7163. The three-year-old lap record is 1:58.3646.
Craig Baird, the five-time Carrera Cup champion and an almost invincible force at Albert Park in recent seasons, was unusually subdued and finished in a distant sixth position, unable to put any effective pressure on the top five.
Nick McBride and Michael Almond rounded out the top eight.
The fight for Elite class honours boiled down to a two-car battle between Shane Smollen and James Bergmuller, with Smollen outlasting his opponent by a whisker.
Race two of three is at 12:50pm on Saturday.