Love, Karnaros claim Phillip Island honours

Jordan Love overturned a potentially disastrous weekend to become the round outright and Professional Class winner after an inspiring drive in race two before a strong win in race three.

Meanwhile Nick Karnaros in only his second category round, proved that consistency was the key in taking out the Elite Class victory in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli second round at Phillip Island.

Race two was the first on the Shannons Nationals’ Sunday program on a greasy track following overnight rain.

Brenton Grove out-pointed Love off the start. But it was the Elite Class’ Anthony Gilbertson who was on his back bumper as they completed the first lap. Love had run off the road at Siberia. Fortunately, he could get back on the track, albeit in a distant last.

Ben Stack held third, clear of Sam Shahin, Karnaros, and Brett Boulton which became second when Gilbertson spun at the Southern Loop the second time through. He re-joined down the order and went off again, at MG, this time going into the tyre barrier.

Grove maintained the lead for the duration even though he admitted it wasn’t easy. “Those were the worse conditions I have ever driven in,” he said.

“I nearly had a massive crash on the first lap. But as the others fell off, I kept it on track and then mindful of the conditions, managed the gap to the end.”

Love stormed back through the field, grabbing second place on the last lap where he had to bypass a three-way battle for the minors. Boulton held on ahead of a strong drive by John Karytinos who started well back, and Stack was a close fourth ahead of Karnaros and John Steffensen.

Shahin fell out of calculations due to a pit lane penalty for starting out of position while Class B went to Michael Tsigeridis, quite easily as his class rival David Greig stalled at the start.

Grove edged out Love at the start of race three but as he did the day before, drove around the outside of the race leader at Lukey Heights the first time, to grab the lead and race away to a 15.5 second victory.

“Going off in race two was my mistake, but getting back to second saved the weekend for us,” said the race three winner.

“Grove got me off the start but I saw an opportunity and went for it,” he commented on his audacious move to get the lead.

Grove had to withstand pressure from Karytinos for the duration while the battle for fourth also raged throughout. Ultimately John Morriss pulled clear and Karnaros reaped the benefits of Stack and Boulton coming together at turn four on the last lap.

Stack held on to sixth ahead of Shahin and Steffensen while sadly, Boulton went out with wheel damage. Greig led Class B off the start, edged away to a 2.3 second lead before Tsigeridis bridged the gap, passing his rival at half distance and pulling away in the latter part.

In taking the Elite Class Karnaros, the former competitor in Supersprints and state Production Sports races is enjoying his first season in GT3 Cup.

“We are a two-man operation, just me and a helper – we do everything ourselves. So the aim for us is to finish and not bring back the car in pieces.”

Stack placed second in the Elite Class for the round with Boulton in third.

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli returns in two weeks for the third round of the championship at Winton Motor Raceway.

Results – Race 2 (8 laps)
1 #23 Brenton Grove (Professional Class) Grove Hire – 15:23.2298
2 #79 Jordan Love (Professional Class) Sonic Motor Racing/Quintis – 15:27.2878
3 #84 Brett Boulton (Elite Class) Bold Living – 15:27.7685
4 #16 John Karytinos (Elite Class) Richmonds Automotive – 15:28.0835
5 #65 Ben Stack (Elite Class) DNA Racing – 15:28.94156
#25 Nick Karnaros (Elite Class) Porsche Centre Brighton – 15:38.9404
7 #78 John Steffensen (Professional Class) Zagame Autosport – 15:38.9954
8 #99 Ross McGregor (Elite Class) Southern Star Windows – 15:50.5051
9 #88 Phil Morriss (Elite Class) Morriss Racing Services – 15:54.7583
10 #34 John Morriss (Elite Class) Motorsport Leasing P/L – 15:56.1950
11 #68 Michael O’Donnell (Elite Class) SHOAL/Thomson Geer – 16:06.9802
12 #29 Rob Woods (Elite Class) Platinum Nightclub – 16:27.8452
13 #13 Sam Shahin (Elite Class) HTFU – 16:28.0056
14 #81 Michael Tsigeridis (Class B) Hunter French Real Estate – 16:34.0310
15 #87 David Greig (Class B) – 7 laps
DNF #19 Anthony Gilbertson (Elite Class) Hallmark Homes – 1 laps
Fastest lap: Love 1:44.8694

Results – Race 3 (11 laps)
1 #79 Jordan Love (Professional Class) Sonic Motor Racing/Quintis – 17:18.4415
2 #23 Brenton Grove (Professional Class) Grove Hire – 17:33.9242
3 #16 John Karytinos (Elite Class) Richmonds Automotive – 17:34.0132
4 #34 John Morriss (Elite Class) Motorsport Leasing P/L – 17:43.5570
5 #25 Nick Karnaros (Elite Class) Porsche Centre Brighton – 17:45.8853
6 #65 Ben Stack (Elite Class) DNA Racing – 17:47.0409
7 #13 Sam Shahin (Elite Class) HTFU – 17:47.3824
8 #78 John Steffensen (Professional Class) Zagame Autosport – 17:48.1357
9 #68 Michael O’Donnell (Elite Class) SHOAL/Thomson Geer – 18:04.0289
10 #88 Phil Morriss (Elite Class) Morriss Racing Services – 18:05.9419
11 #29 Rob Woods (Elite Class) Platinum Nightclub – 18:15.2468
12 #99 Ross McGregor (Elite Class) Southern Star Windows – 18:15.5695
13 #81 Michael Tsigeridis (Class B) Hunter French Real Estate – 18:34.7240
14 #87 David Greig (Class B) – 18:41.4388
15 #84 Brett Boulton (Elite Class) Bold Living – 19:38.6633
DNF #19 Anthony Gilbertson (Elite Class) Hallmark Homes – 5 laps
Fastest lap: Love 1:32.9132