CALLUM HEDGE needed a big weekend at The Bend in Round 4 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Championship – and boy did he deliver.
The young Kiwi completed a clean-sweep of the round at the South Australian venue to not only become the fourth Equity-One Pro class winner from four different rounds this season, but rocket himself into the championship and Michelin Junior series standings in the process.
Hedge claimed the round over Simon Fallon and Christian Pancione – who took his first round podium – as erstwhile series leader Jackson Walls spun out of podium contention on the final lap of the final race.
Meanwhile, home-town hero Sam Shahin won two of the three races to take the SP Tools Pro-Am round at The Bend to extend his points lead.
Shahin took the Pro-Am fight over Dean Cook and Adrian Flack to extend his championship lead at the half-way point.
Sunday was a tale of two races as the 20-lap Enduro Cup race was a relatively straightforward affair before the crazy broke loose in the third race.
The enduro cup race was decided in the first six corners as Hedge out-dragged Walls into turn one and then managed the race lead from there.
Simon Fallon made up two spots off the start to leap to third position, while Christian Pancione backed up his race 1 result with another fourth.
Max Vidau charged to fifth place in a bid to keep the championship leaders in viewing distance, while Dylan O’Keeffe was relegated back to sixth. Bayley Hall, Dale Wood, Garth Tander and Nick McBride completed the 10.
Cook got the jump in Pro-Am in the enduro race and then spent the remaining 35-minutes defending from attacks from Sam Shahin.
The pair finished in that order with Rodney Jane claiming third – Adrian Flack striking issues and finishing behind Matt Belford, in fifth.
Race three was a less straightforward affair as drama at turn one eliminated six cars from the race and delivered the first Safety Car of the weekend.
The incident claimed Alex Davison, Ryder Quinn, David Wall, Dylan O’Keeffe and Chris Pither, while Luke King was forced to pit for damage.
Wall in particular was knocked skyward as he tried to take evasive action as cars spun into the outfield between turns one and two.
Following a lengthy Safety Car the race resumed with Hedge holding off Walls and Fallon, who had started quickly and briefly challenged for the lead on the race start prior to the turn one incident.
The leaders held the status quo for the remaining laps until the final two corners, when Walls had a lunge at Hedge in Turn 17 as the pair raced to the flag.
The pair were side by side however the Objective Racing Porsche apparently clipped the inside kerb, turning him around and out of contention for the round podium.
That elevated Fallon to second – and the same result for the round – while Max Vidau raced his way to third on home turf.
With Christian Pancione and Garth Tander completing the top five, Walls recovered to finish 12th however missed out on the round podium.
The Pro-Am affair was just as unpredictable as Rodney Jane found himself leading following the Safety Car restart.
However an off on lap five saw him tumble down the order with Shahin in the perfect position to capitalise and grab the lead – and ultimately the win. Matt Belford finished second for the race and Flack third.
At the half-way point of the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia Championship, Callum Hedge now provisionally leads Jackson Walls by 37 points in the Equity-One Pro class following a significant swing in the standings this weekend.
Max Vidau remains third while Sam Shahin continues to lead the SP Tools Pro-Am class.
The next round of the championship will see the field return to the iconic Sandown Motor Raceway in Suburban Melbourne on September 15-17, at the return of the iconic Sandown 500.