The #AMRC (awesome MR crew) had tested at SMP a few weeks earlier so we were keen to continue our 2021 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge championship campaign. After having to miss the first round at Phillip Island in March, Ryan, Christian, Bayley and Michael were joined by Brisbane-based businessman, Richard Cowen, for his maiden Sprint Challenge round.
'Pancho' qualified 2nd after a punctuated qualifying session. In race 1 he got a great start from the outside of the front row and managed to pull a 2-second lead while Ryan and Hedge scrapped for 2nd place, then cruised to his first Sprint Challenge win.
Like race 1, Christian got a near perfect start to take the lead and drove an exceptionally well managed race while holding Ryan at bay. In race 3 Christian led for 6 laps until a small slide exiting turn 4 gave Ryan the opportunity to make a move for the lead. Nevertheless, 2 wins and a second place gave him enough points to take his first outright Sprint Challenge round win.
Ryan took his second consecutive pole position of the season. In race 1 he got too much wheelspin off grid one and conceded the lead to Christian. He took a couple of laps to clear Hedge in third and collected a very solid P2. Ryan's car didn't get away quite as well as Christian, and he followed his teammate into turn 1. He piled the pressure on for the whole 26-lap enduro, but couldn't find a way by.
In race 3 Ryan again hounded his teammate until he found an opportunity to make a bold pass around the outside of Christian at turns 6 and 7, to take the race win.
Bayley qualified 4th in only his second Sprint Challenge weekend. In race 1 he produced a well measured drive to start and finish in 4th, learning plenty in the process. Bayley got a great start but couldn't quite take 3rd place off Hedge but drove another intelligent race while matching the best lap time of his more experienced team mates.
Bayley got a cracker start in race 3 and took over third place from Hedge. On lap 6 the vastly more experienced kiwi finally found a way past after slip-streaming past on the front straight.
Hoves did a sensational job to qualify 4th in Pro-Am. In race 1 he didn't get off the line as well as he would have liked but was coming through the field when the gearbox unexpectedly let go, forcing a DNF. In race 2 Hoves was the star of the show starting from the rear of the grid after the race 1 gearbox failure, he stormed through the field to finish 9th outright and 4th in Pro-Am.
Hoves had another ripper run in race 3 engaged in a fierce battle with Zalloua, Belford and Greig for the whole race, eventually finishing 3/tenths of a second behind the 3rd paced car.
Given this was Richard's first Sprint Challenge race weekend, he did well to qualify 12th in a big Pro-Am field. He had a very productive race 1 to make up 6 positions to take 6th in class.
Richard had a baptism of fire in his first 40 minute Sprint Challenge enduro. He was holding position in the Pro-Am top 5 until he ran out of puff and became too polite to a couple of competitors behind! He still took a great 7th with 8 more experienced drivers behind him at the finish.
In race 3 Richard got squeezed at turn 2 on lap 1 and got his first 'door donut'! Undeterred, he had another great race to round out his first Sprint Challenge race weekend.
Well, that's a record! To take 3 of the top 4 places for the weekend is an accomplishment we've never achieved before.
Obviously, it was a ripper weekend, particularly Ryan and Christian who sit 1st and 2nd in the championship standings after round 2. Bayley had an exceptional weekend given his relative inexperience in the Porsche compared to his teammates and Hedge. Hoves had a terrific comeback in races 2 and 3 after the gearbox let him down in race 1 and Richard finished ahead of 5 more experienced drivers in his first ever Sprint Challenge round.
Many thanks to team manager Lethal Leigh Geyer, Luffy the super coach, the whole MR crew and our drivers, their families and sponsors. Round 3 of the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge will be at Morgan Park on 25-27 June.