Joel Heinrich has pulled off a stunning Aussie Racing Cars series victory during the final round at the Gold Coast 600, despite finishing the weekend in third outright.
After claiming two podiums and a round win, the South Australian trailed leader Kyle Ensbey by one sole point heading into the series’ final round and needing to finish the weekend at least two positions above.
Heinrich got off to a brilliant start in the opening two races, finishing second to Paul Morris, while two DNFs to Ensbey in the second and third race effectively ruined any chance of winning the series.
With fellow title contender in Kal Treseder was never able to fully recover after posting two DNFs in the opening races, Heinrich was only required to finish the remaining races to clinch the title.
A sixth in the third and a fourth in the final race sealing the title for Heinrich and leaving the first full-year driver lost for words.
“The victory is still sinking in, finishing that last race was like a weight had lifted off my shoulders, I am really lost for words” Heinrich said.
“Going into the last round, we had a bit confidence because we had finished ahead of Kyle in the last few meetings but I was still really nervous in the lead up.
“Once we got onto the track for the final, I was alright because I was focused on staying on there and it became a matter of cruising around, enjoying the track and finishing the race.
“At the start of the year, winning was not even on our radar, we were just hoping to good year, but it all just fell into place during the second half of the year.”
Finishing above the 2018 champion in the final round was Blake Sciberras and Justin Ruggier, who were sitting equal fourth in the lead up to the event.
The pair battled hard throughout the whole weekend with Sciberras placing third and above Ruggier in the opening two races, before Ruggier managed to win the third race and put himself right back in contention.
In the final race of the weekend worth double points, Sciberras managed to win his first race of the afternoon giving him his maiden round victory for the year, as well as second third outright for the year.
Ruggier also managed to pass Treseder on the outright standings to finish fourth, while Treseder’s search for a long awaited title ended in heartbreak as finishing the year in fifth.
In the other classes, Maddison Dunston was crowned the 2018 ladies champion even though Charlotte Poynting finished ninth outright to win the round, while Leigh Bowler enjoyed his Masters Cup title victory with seventh outright.
Outright series runner-up Ensbey managed to leave Gold Coast with some form of silverware claiming the Rookie Class, as Brendon Tucker took home the Gold Cup Class.