Last Lap Thriller
DYLAN O’Keeffe and Callum Hedge have split the Saturday wins in Round 5 of the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia Championship in a dramatic pair of races at Sandown.
Sam Shahin and Adrian Flack split the Pro-Am class victories in a combative day at Sandown with one race to come on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Callum Hedge provisionally claimed the Michelin Junior prize of a trip to contest the Porsche Junior Shootout later this year after nearest rival Jackson Walls endured a challenging day.
The final race of the weekend will be held on Sunday at Sandown.
RACE 2: Hedge takes last-lap Enduro Cup Thriller
CALLUM HEDGE has stolen the victory from Dylan O’Keeffe in the final corner of the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia enduro cup race at Sandown Raceway.
Starting third, Hedge played for time in the 28-lap race before picking off Bayley Hall for second within the final 10 laps.
He then set about early leader Dylan O’Keeffe, who had controlled the pace from the outset and had established a handy lead before Hedge moved himself into second position.
Hedge flew in the final laps, cutting O’Keeffe’s 1.9 second lead to nothing by the time the pair started the final lap.
The Race 1 winner defended into the Turn 9 passing opportunity, but had to watch as the Team Porsche New Zealand driver sliced up the inside into the final corner in a last-ditch effort to grab the win.
He crossed the line just 0.1 seconds in front of O’Keeffe to spectacularly win – making amends for his race one start-line penalty that dropped him from first to third in the final standings of the Sandown opener.
The win – coupled with a non-finish from Jackson Walls – also provisionally sealed a ticket to Europe as Carrera Cup Australia’s representative in the Porsche shootout.
O’Keeffe finished second and leads the round points heading to Sunday’s race three decider, while Bayley Hall finished on the podium for the second time today.
The battle for the minors was just as intense for the leading fight with Dale Wood edging out David Russell for fourth – solidifying third place in the championship in the process.
Fabian Coulthard was sixth, while Max Vidau charged 10 spots from his starting position to finish seventh following his race one non-finish.
Simon Fallon – missing a front splitter – Angelou Mouzouris and Thomas Maxwell completed the top-10.
Jackson Walls’ Michelin junior hopes ended when he and David Wall made contact at Turn nine on the opening lap.
Walls’ was penalised for the contact, however never made it back to pit lane as radiator damage forced him to shut his car off on the back straight, ultimately classified a non finisher. Wall made it back to the pits however was unable to resume.
The fight for SP Tools Pro-Am honours was just as tough as Adrian Flack was another to complete a Saturday comeback to claim the win.
He stormed from the back of the grid to win the race over Dean Cook, who lead a good chunk of today’s race before Flack slipped past.
The Pro-Am fight evolved into essentially a four-car fight by race’s end with Sam Shahin and Liam Talbot all in the mix in a competitive battle.
Shahin leads the Pro-Am battle by a single point heading into tomorrow’s decider, with Cook and Talbot in close company.
O’Keeffe leads Hedge and Hall in the Equity One Pro round standings prior to tomorrow’s race, while Callum Hedge has extended his lead in the championship to more than 100 points going into the final race.
RACE 1: O’Keeffe wins Race 1 after Hedge penalty
DYLAN O’KEEFFE has won his first Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia race in a year after a jumped-start penalty for Callum Hedge denied the young Kiwi race one success at Sandown.
Hedge won the start and the subsequent drag race into turn one over polesitter O’Keeffe, however officials deemed the start to be too good and penalised the Team Porsche NZ driver five seconds for the infringement.
That allowed O’Keeffe and McElrea young gun Bayley Hall to settle in behind the New Zealander with the trio running line astern to the line in that order.
The penalty dropped Hedge to third, while O’Keeffe claimed his first win since Sandown last year and the third of his Carrera Cup Career.
Hall’s second position represented his best ever Carrera Cup race, eclipsing his previous best of sixth position comfortably.
Hedge’s third – coupled with Jackson Walls’ run to tenth position – saw him extend both his championship lead and his margin in the critical Michelin Junior Championship ranks heading into race two this afternoon.
David Russell and Dale Wood completed the top five, with the latter also moving to third in the championship by virtue of a non-finish from TekworkX star Max Vidau, who hit the wall on the exit of turn three on the second lap.
A puncture in a rear tyre was determined to be the cause of the accident that saw the Tyrepower driver limp back to the lane but retire the car.
Fabian Coulthard, David Wall, Simon Fallon, Christian Pancione and Jackson Walls completed the top-10.
In SP Tools Pro-Am, Sam Shahin led confidently to another race win to build his championship lead.
He led home Dean Cook and Liam Talbot in a wild Pro-Am affair that saw intense battling for the minor steps on the class podium throughout the 16-lap affair.
Matt Belford and Tim Miles survived a late moment at turn one to finish fourth and fifth, respectively, while Rodney Jane ran strongly early in the race before he was caught up in an incident and dropped down the order.
Adrian Flack had a slow start but recovered well before he too was involved in a spin, dropping him back down through the field by the race’s end.