The #AMRC (awesome MR crew) were very relieved to be able to start our 2021 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge championship after a break of over 18 months since Harri won the 2019 championship in South Australia. We were thrilled to welcome back Ryan Suhle and Pro-Am driver Michael Hovey and welcome 'Pro Class' contenders Christian Pancione and Bayley Hall to our Sprint Challenge team.
Ryan took an impressive pole position over 4/10ths of a second clear of the field then took a calm lights to flag win in race 1.
Race 2 was held in torrential conditions and after pulling a six second lead he hit a deeper than normal puddle and aquaplaned off the track at turn 4. He put in a great drive to recover to 2nd.
'Pancho' was quite frustrated after qualifying 5th. In race 1 he did a good job to demote Hedge and take a solid 4th place.
In the very wet race 2 he was doing a great job in challenging conditions but had a small moment while running 3rd which dropped him to 4th on the penultimate lap. In the aborted third race he had leapt from 4th on the grid to the lead only to have the race red flagged, then abandoned.
Bayley was the sensation of qualifying, putting his car on the front row in P2 on his debut in the category. In race 1 he took a well-deserved 2nd with a mature drive.
In the very wet race 2, he was running 2nd with a lap to go when he was hit hard in the door by an unfortunate Pro-Am driver who hit a puddle on the front straight and lost control just as Bayley was lapping him. The damage compromised the structure of the roll cage, so his car was sadly out for the weekend.
Unlike our Pro drivers, Hoves didn't test here a month ago, so was taking a patient approach to the weekend but still qualified a solid 7th in Pro-Am. He finished 8th in race 1 after a calculated drive.
In race 2 he did a terrific job to stay out of trouble and avoid the many obstacles to take 2nd in Pro-Am and 7th outright. In race 3 he was hit in the rear wheel exiting turn 2 which triggered the shunt that caused the red flag.
What a crazy weekend! All of our drivers had absolute highlights, particularly Ryan and Christian who sit 1st and 3rd in the championship standings after round 1. On the other side of the coin, Bayley & Hoves both took exceptional 2nd place race finishes but were also the victims of other drivers errors causing considerable and un-needed damage to their cars.
Many thanks to team manager Lethal Leigh Geyer, Luffy the super coach, the whole MR crew and our drivers and their families. See you at SMP for round 2 of the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge at the end of April.