Hedge Seals the Deal
DALE WOOD swept the weekend at the VAILO Adelaide 500 as Callum Hedge became Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia champion in dramatic fashion in the final race of the year.
It was a day of double delight for the Earl Bamber Motorsport team as Adrian Flack also sealed the SP Tools Pro-Am title in the final race of the year, adding to Hedge’s win in Equity-One Pro.
The team also recently claimed the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia Series with Kiwi driver Marco Giltrap.
The Carrera Cup title was decided in the first 500 meters of the race as both Hedge and his main rival, title leader Jackson Walls, took to the kerbs at the Senna Chicane as they negotiated the first-turn chaos.
After a huge moment Hedge was able to drive out the other side, while Walls’ car landed roughly, spun and tore the left-rear Michelin from the rim.
From there he made contact with the fence and retired on the spot, enduring Hedge only needed to finish to wrestle the title lead away in the final race of the season.
Caught up in the turn one-two drama, Ryder Quinn’s strong weekend was ended as he and Alex Davison took evasive action from the spinning Porsche.
Wood had led the opening corner rush and also led the field behind the Safety Car, making the best restart and leading the field back to green.
Hedge, meanwhile, took the conservative option and backed out of a furious battle for second position, electing to drop behind the leading queue and race in clean air to ensure minimum risk in the remaining laps.
While Wood gradually pulled away in front, the battle for second was intense as Max Vidau fended off Dylan O’Keeffe’s Dexion Porsche.
O’Keeffe needed to beat Wood in the race to claim third in the championship, however was unable to chase down the runaway leader.
Ultimately, Wood won the race to claim the weekend overall – the fifth of his Carrera Cup career.
The Ranbuild-backed driver became the only repeat winner of the 2023 season having won the second round of the season – in Darwin – in June this year.
He also sealed third in the championship in the final race of the season.
O’Keeffe and Vidau completed the top three in the race, while Wood’s round win saw him stand on the top step of the podium with Hedge – second – and Vidau joining him.
Needing only to finish the race to claim the SP Tools Pro-Am championship, Adrian Flack was another to take a conservative pathway to victory today, ultimately finishing fourth in the race to claim the title.
The race win went to a fired-up Sam Shahin, who after a challenging weekend was able to celebrate in front of his Adelaide faithful on Sunday.
He led home Dean Cook and Danny Stutterd in the Sunday race, while Flack claimed the round overall over Shahin and Cook.
Flack’s title was his first after five years of his Carrera Cup career, while Dean Cook finished second in the title race and Sam Shahin third.
Meanwhile, Callum Hedge became Carrera Cup champion on the twentieth anniversary of perhaps the greatest ever claiming the first Carrera Cup Australia championship – Jim Richards’ 2003 title win.
The 20 year old from Auckland has recently returned from contesting the Porsche junior Shootout in Europe – with the potential of a Porsche Supercup drive if successful – and will race in the Indy NXT Championship next year.
The Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia Championship field will celebrate the remarkable season at the annual awards Gala tonight in Adelaide.
SP TOOLS PRO-AM STANDINGS:
1 Adrian Flack 1104
2 Dean Cook 1074
3 Sam Shahin 1052
4 Matthew Belford 678
5 Marc Cini 647
6 Rodney Jane 629
7 Tim Miles 625
8 Daniel Stutterd 592
9 Liam Talbot 433
10 Drew Hall 319
EQUITY-ONE PROFESSIONAL CLASS CHAMPIONS
1 Callum Hedge 932
2 Jackson Walls 905
3 Dale Wood 757
4 Dylan O’Keeffe 751
5 Max Vidau 664
6 Bayley Hall 649
7 Fabian Coulthard 563
8 Alex Davison 493
9 Simon Fallon 438
10 Christian Pancione 424