Peter Hackett and Declan Fraser storm to maiden Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia victory at The Bend

Peter Hackett and Declan Fraser storm to maiden Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia victory at The Bend

Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Peter Hackett and Declan Fraser have sealed victory in the opening race of the weekend for Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS at The Bend.

Winning the opening race in their Mercedes-AMG GT3 makes it the third manufacturer to take a win this season after Ferrari and Audi split the victories at Phillip Island.

It was a spectacular start to the opening race of the weekend as the field headed in four wide, but RAM Motorsport’s Garth Walden won the battle ahead of Brad Schumacher in the Shaw & Partners/Kelso Electrical/Team MPC Audi.

Almost immediately behind was Liam Talbot in the first Arise Racing GT Ferrari 296 GT3, who made a play entering Turn 6 for second just failed in this attempt. However, Talbot moved past the next lap as Schumacher dropped down the field to fifth elevating Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Hackett and the second Arise Racing GT Ferrari of Elliott Schutte move past.

An earlier collision led to a drive through penalty for Team BRM’s Mark Rosser after spinning New Zealander Steve Brooks at the penultimate turn.

The OnlyFans Team MPC Audi of Paul Stokell was scything through the field from gridding up near the back and was sixth just 15 minutes into the race.

Walden continued to extend his lead ahead of the pit stops to 8s and was beginning to lap back markers flashing the RAM Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3’s lights knowing it was crucial to get through the traffic as fast as possible.

Talbot still maintained second from Hackett and Schutte with Stokell a remarkable fourth replicating his superb stints at Phillip Island.

Pitting at close to the conclusion of the Am pit window, Walden relinquished the lead as Mike Sheargold took over the wheel.

All the contenders pitted at the same time and exited basically simultaneously leading to a large traffic jam entering Turn 1.

Stokell ran long, but the biggest winner out of the stops was the second placed Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG GT3 now with Fraser behind the wheel as it emerged ahead of the Arise Racing GT Ferraris of Chaz Mostert and Jaxon Evans.

Mostert initially made some in roads into Fraser’s margin, but this plateaued and even extended it even if there was traffic to deal with.

Evans maintained third, but Will Brown was closing in to provide a thrilling podium fight as the race approached its conclusion. Gracie still maintained fifth from New Zealander Brendon Leitch in the Dayle ITM Team MPC Audi, Team BRM’s Alex Peroni and the Realta/Tigani Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 now with Jayden Ojeda behind the wheel completed the contenders on the lead lap.

Lapped traffic caused a little nervous moment for Fraser in the closing stages, but luckily Mostert had trouble of his own limiting the impact.

At the front, Fraser took the win by 1.9s from Mostert as Evans held onto third from Brown and Leitch completed the top five.

Gracie, Peroni, Ojeda and McBride completed the top runners in Pro-Am.

Am Class was being led by Sheargold until the closing stages when he dropped the lead to the Valmont Racing Audi of Marcel Zalloua and Sergio Pires. Not only did the RAM Motorsport Mercedes-AMG drop the lead, but current Am Class leaders James and Theo Koundouris also took advantage to be second.

Within the Am Class battle was the Wall Racing Lamborghini of Adrian Deitz and Tony D’Alberto finishing 12th outright.

Racing continues for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS tomorrow with the Pro drivers starting at 1:55pm ACST or 2:25pm AEST.