Jonny Reid has taken out the first race of the re-born Porsche Carrera Cup at the 2011 Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix – in trying circumstances.
The race ended under the Safety Car, after Michael Patrizi crashed heavily in the closing laps.
Reid – the pole-sitter – was well and truly in control of the race before the crash, having bolted from the rest of the field at the start. His charge into the distance was helped by an epic battle for second place in the early laps between Craig Baird and Mark Skaife, which allowed the Kiwi to build an unbridgeable gap.
“These are heroes of Australian motorsport!” said Reid of his competitors.
“We’ve started off better than what I could have expected, with the competition that is here. I love this circuit; I’m stoked.”
While Baird and Skaife duked it out in the early laps, Baird eventually charged past and found his own space, well behind Reid, but well ahead of the rest of the field.
That left Skaife fighting it out for third place with Steven Richards, Daniel Gaunt, Patrizi, and Briton Ben Barker all getting in on the act.
However, the battle was cut short when Patrizi ran wide at the exit of Turn 12, over-corrected, and struck the wall hard. He emerged unharmed, although whether he will be out for tomorrow’s second race is yet to be determined.
In the scuffle, Richards ended up with third place, just ahead of Skaife.
The Safety Car was deployed, and remained in control of the field until the chequered flag was waved.
The second Porsche race is on Saturday at 3:15pm.