2018 CAMS Australian GT Championship
The second event of the 2018 CAMS Australian GT Championships promised to be one of the best experiences of the year with the series’ debut at the new 7.7-kilometre ‘The Bend Motorsport Park’ in South Australia, but whilst the opening endurance round of the season delivered on that promise, it delivered a whole lot more for the 19-strong field across the race weekend.
For Trofeo Motorsport, they – like the full field of assembled GT3 and GT4 cars – experienced a weekend like no other with a full spectrum of weather conditions highlighted by cyclonic winds, sand storms and pelting rain, conditions which ultimately contributed to a change in race structure on Saturday afternoon with the proposed ‘international’ rotation shortened to the ‘national’ length circuit of 4.95-kilometres.
At the same time organisers changed the proposed race structure from a two day event split after the first hour, to a full length enduro held entirely on Sunday morning.
For Jim Manolios and Dean Canto, a series of tyre deflations ultimately stalled their forward progress in the #29 Lamborghini Huracan, as did an off for Canto late in the opening qualifying session which forced them out of the second session and a rear-of-field start for the main race, but despite that, they proved to be one of the fastest cars in the field ahead of a sequence of stops to resolve leaking tyre valves.
For Canto though, once the circuit was dry, the Adelaide-based driver was immediately on the pace and in qualifying, held two of the fastest sectors on the circuit, times which were not beaten across the weekend, although on aggregate he was a bit over two seconds off the pace of the front row, despite being sixth overall.
Sadly though, whilst pushing hard late in the session, he went in a bit deep into one of the corners at the back of the circuit, and onto the runoff area which ultimately saw him into the gravel on the other side of the grass verge, collecting rocks, some of which tore off a part of the all important flat floor.
Damage was mostly superficial, but required the team – including Canto himself – to get onto the tools in an effort to have the car ready for the opening stanza of the race that afternoon, with the team forced to start rear-of-field because they missed the second leg of qualifying. In the end they repaired the car in time to discover the session had been turned into a final 60-minute practice session, with the race transferred to Sunday morning.
Jim Manolios kicked off the opening leg, holding on to the pack before being forced down pit lane with the first of the tyre deflations, something which had plagued the team during the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
In the end, despite dropping a couple of laps down due to the additional stops, Canto was caught right in the battle at the front of the field, and whilst not in outright contention, was able to stay with the leading cars over the final stanza of the race, comfortably matching them on pace.
Trofeo Motorsport is proudly supported by Haemokinesis, Lamborghini Squadra Corse, Pirelli, Pertamina, Acronis, Trofeo Estate and Whispering Vines at Trofeo, freem Racewear, Liqui Moly and Event Equipment.
2018 Rnd#2 CAMS Australian GT Championship
The Bend Motorsport Park, South Australia
13-15 April, 2018
Qualifying (14 April, 2018):
1. 777. Youlden/Shahin (Mercedes AMG GT3) – 3:03.8207
2. 8. D’Alberto/Twigg (Mercedes AMG GT3) – 3:03.9699
3. 911. Martin/Talbot (Porsche GT3-R) – 3:04.9518
4. 98. Reynolds/Robson (Mercedes AMG GT3) – 3:05.0016
5. 63. Fouracre/Hackett (Mercedes AMG GT3) – 3:05.7814
6. 29. Canto/Manolios (Haemokinesis/Trofeo Lamborghini Huracan GT3) – 3:06.2620
Sunday, 15 April
1. 8. D’Alberto/Twigg (Mercedes AMG GT3) – 78-laps
2. 911. Martin/Talbot (Porsche GT3-R)
3. 100. Richards/Almond (BMW M6 GT3)
4. 24. Bates/Gaunt (Audi R8 LMS GT3)
5. 59. Ross/Padayachee (McLaren 650S GT3)
13. 29. Canto/Manolios (Haemokinesis/Trofeo Lamborghini Huracan GT3) – 75-laps
2018 CAMS Australian GT Championship (points after round two of six)
1. Twigg/D’Alberto (404-points), 52. Martin/Talbot (402), 3. Peter Hackett (328), 4. Fraser Ross (325), 5. Steven Richards (299), 6. Jaie Robson (270), 7. Bates/Gaunt (267), 8. Taylor/Baird (261), 9. Geoff Emery (260), 10. Michael Almond (235), 11. Duvashen Padayachee (197), 12. Jack Fouracre (193), 13. Tony Quinn (185), 14. Walls/Luff (165), 15. Ash Samadi (163), 16. Jim Manolios/ Dean Canto (161), 17, Deitz/McConville (150), 18. Dylan O’Keefe (143), 19. Dominic Storey (135), 20. Shane Van Gisbergen (129)