It' always fun to race at your home circuit, and never more so than at the awesome but unforgiving Surfers Paradise street circuit at the GC600 event. We have very fond memories from here, having wrapped-up the drivers championships with Matty Campbell in 2016 and last year with Jaxon Evans.
We missed having Anthony Gilbertson who was a Pro-Am championship favourite until having to retire from the championship after Townsville. And due to Luffy's sponsorship woes, we got the opportunity to run our GT3 Cup Challenge championship leader Harri Jones in ‘car 7' for his Carrera Cup debut. We were also looking forward to Tim backing up his Pro-Am round win last year by taking his first podium for the 2019 Season. And despite this being Cooper's first visit to this notorious street track, we were also planning on a strong finish to the season for him after a stellar season since joining MR mid-season.
Like Bathurst, Cooper was at the top of the charts until the last minutes of qualifying, but still ended up an impressive 3rd on his Surfers debut. He got a good start in race 1 and had an epic 25 lap scrap with the experienced Love for the second spot but couldn't quite prevail but posted the fastest lap of the race.
In race 2 Cooper got a good start from grid 3 and put the pressure on Wood for a few laps, eventually getting by into turn 4 he then set after Wall. He caught to within a second of the leader but took a well-deserved 2nd.
In race 3 he got a great start to beat former champion Wall into the turn 1 chicane. He had a pretty straightforward race out front extending his lead to almost 2 seconds by the chequered flag. After the race he was penalised 5 seconds for running through the turn 1 chicane dropping him to 4th in the official standings.
Harri qualified 10th in Pro class right behind former champion, Steve Richards. In race 1 he got away well and held out fast starting Pro-Am teammate Tim, on the run to turn 1. He was having a great debut Carrera cup race until the second to last lap when he was punted from behind and sent into the tyre barrier which broke the steering rack.
Harri started from the rear of the grid after Saturday's DNF and drove a very intelligent and well-measured race to pass eight ABS-equipped Pro-Am cars on his way to an excellent 14th and 12th in Pro class. Harri's ambition for his debut weekend was to finish in the top 10.
In race 3 he started from grid 14 and put in a terrific drive to carve his way past 6 more cars including pro Steve Richards to exceed his top-10 objective by 2 places!
Tim qualified 3rd in Pro-Am and started race 1 from grid 13. He had a good start but had to lift on the run to the first chicane so was unable to take advantage of it on the concrete-lined street circuit. He spent most of the race trying to find a way around champion-elect Talbot, but still took a strong 3rd.
In race 2 Tim got a cracking start and passed Talbot on the run to turn 1, to take 2nd in Pro-Am. He was hit from behind by a cheeky Pro driver allowing Cook to sneak through. He fought hard but was satisfied taking another solid 3rd place.
Tim started race 3 in a fairly ambitious state of mind. He got a great start then put together a rather assertive first couple of laps. He shadowed Pro-Am leader Shahin while keeping Cook at bay, to take an inspired 2nd to finish the 2019 season.
Well it was a cracker weekend at home on the ‘Goldie'. To have Cooper and Tim both on the podium with 2nd place in Pro and Pro-Am classes respectively, was a great reward for the team. We are also very proud of Harri's impressive Carrera Cup debut in this notoriously challenging concrete canyon. Cooper was also awarded with a Tag Heuer watch for the most fastest laps on Sunday night at the Carrera Cup awards dinner.
We really enjoyed running Anthony Gilbertson, Luffy and David Ryan whose championship campaigns were cut short for various reasons.
Many thanks to the awesome MR crew, Luffy the supercoach, our drivers, their families and sponsors. We are now looking forward to the final GT3 Cup Challenge round at Tailem Bend in three weeks.