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Murray, Zalloua & Pires Take Winton Honours
Author, Daniel Jordan

Cooper Murray has regained the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series lead following two impressive race wins on Sunday at Winton Motor Raceway, while teammates Marcel Zalloua and Sergio Pires departed the rural Victorian circuit with Pro-Am and Class B honours.

Murray lost the series lead in Saturday’s opening race, jumped at the top of the outright points tally by race winner Simon Fallon, though the result was enough to secure Murray the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy.

Murray was quick to retake the top spot in the series standings with victory in Sunday morning’s race two, holding off Fallon in the 12-lap race, with Jimmy Vernon and Max Vidau providing an entertaining battle for third.

Race three also went to Murray, beating Fallon to the chequered flag and extending his series lead in both the overall and Pro class standings. The result handed Murray first for the round from Fallon and Vernon in third.

“Today couldn’t have gone any better; to come away with two race wins and regain the championship lead,” said Murray.

“It helped getting my starts right today. We went four-wheel-driving last night in the ute to practise my starts and it worked, I had two great starts today, which got us two wins. The goal now is to beat Simon at the final round and get as many points as possible to hopefully come away with the title.”

The Pro-Am series has seen phenomenal competition throughout the season, with the Winton round marking the fifth different class winner from five rounds this season: Sam Shahin (The Bend), Danny Stutterd (Sandown), Ben Stack (Phillip Island), Brett Boulton (Queensland Raceway), Zalloua (Winton).

Following a Pro-Am class win in Saturday’s 29-lap endurance battle, Zalloua continued at the front of the class for Sunday’s race two before placing second to Stutterd in the third and final race. Zalloua was joined on the Winton Pro-Am podium by second placed Michael Hovey and third placed Michael Loccisano.

“It was a challenging weekend but it was good to stay out of trouble and stay on the pace. I can’t thank the team enough; they were immense all weekend and really kept my confidence up,” said Zalloua. “The season took a turn for the better at Phillip Island and while this weekend was trying – I was a little but slower than the faster Pro-Am drivers – we played a smarter game.”

Young gun Christian Pancione was the dominant Class B driver across Sunday’s two races, however a race one DNF removed his hopes for a podium result for the round. Pires followed his Saturday class win with two second place Class B results on Sunday to win the round from Andrew Goldie and Phil Morriss.

Murray now takes an 11-point lead in the outright GT3 Cup Challenge standings from Fallon, with Vidau 124 points further adrift in third. Murray’s margin to second is 24 points to Fallon in the Pro class points.

Stutterd takes an 82-point Pro-Am lead into the Sydney finale while Christian Pancione holds an unattainable 161-point lead in Class B from Phil Morriss and David Greig.

Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia returns for the final round of its 2018 season later in the month at Sydney Motorsport Park on September 21-22, 2018.

Results: Race 2
Position Car Driver Class Laps Race time Fastest lap
1 36 Cooper Murray Pro 12 16:32.2390 1:21.6566r
2 96 Simon Fallon Pro 12 16:34.5598 1:21.6518R
3 7 Jimmy Vernon Pro 12 16:45.2788 1:22.5482
4 77 Max Vidau Pro 12 16:45.8729 1:22.4646
5 26 Tom Taplin Pro 12 17:02.7822 1:23.9054
6 38 Chelsea Angelo Pro 12 17:11.8845 1:23.1428
7 17 Marcel Zalloua Pro-Am 12 17:14.0566 1:24.1370
8 27 Sam Fillmore Pro-Am 12 17:14.5613 1:23.6488
9 84 Brett Boulton Pro-Am 12 17:14.7398 1:23.4955
10 76 Christian Pancione Class B 12 17:15.0388 1:23.2902
11 73 Michael Hovey Pro-Am 12 17:18.8633 1:24.4386
12 10 Michael Loccisano Pro-Am 12 17:20.3203 1:24.5553
13 2 Dan Day Pro 12 17:23.6288 1:24.2141
14 117 Sergio Pires Class B 12 17:27.5266 1:24.9374
15 23 Daniel Stutterd Pro-Am 12 17:33.3301 1:23.6535
16 22 Andrew Goldie Class B 12 17:40.8434 1:25.4638
17 88 Phil Morriss Class B 12 17:43.3756 1:25.7731
18 99 Ross McGregor Pro-Am 12 17:49.2551 1:24.7085
19 13 Jonathan Gliksten Pro-Am 11 16:50.4984 1:26.9516
20 9 Tony Martin Class B 11 17:00.4158 1:30.1361
21 57 Richard Bloomfield Class B 10 17:07.0819 1:27.7567
DNF 87 David Greig Class B

Results: Race 3
Position Car Driver Class Laps Race time Fastest lap
1 36 Cooper Murray Pro 12 16:32.6232 1:21.7953*
2 96 Simon Fallon Pro 12 16:36.3448 1:21.8613
3 77 Max Vidau Pro 12 16:41.8483 1:21.8799
4 7 Jimmy Vernon Pro 12 16:48.0277 1:22.8045
5 38 Chelsea Angelo Pro 12 16:48.2444 1:22.6519
6 2 Dan Day Pro 12 16:59.5923 1:23.0703
7 76 Christian Pancione Class B 12 17:02.4000 1:23.1453
8 23 Daniel Stutterd Pro-Am 12 17:06.6542 1:23.3759
9 17 Marcel Zalloua Pro-Am 12 17:15.8823 1:24.2612
10 10 Michael Loccisano Pro-Am 12 17:15.9443 1:24.5938
11 73 Michael Hovey Pro-Am 12 17:16.6745 1:24.2242
12 84 Brett Boulton Pro-Am 12 17:17.1367 1:23.2066
13 99 Ross McGregor Pro-Am 12 17:25.6339 1:24.8204
14 117 Sergio Pires Class B 12 17:28.9664 1:25.4690
15 87 David Greig Class B 12 17:34.8950 1:25.4073
16 22 Andrew Goldie Class B 12 17:38.7902 1:26.0220
17 27 Sam Fillmore Pro-Am 12 17:39.3734 1:24.3504
18 26 Tom Taplin Pro 12 17:40.9870 1:23.5554
19 88 Phil Morriss Class B 12 17:43.7047 1:26.1086
20 57 Richard Bloomfield Class B 12 17:46.3397 1:26.4462
21 13 Jonathan Gliksten Pro-Am 11 17:06.3198 1:27.9586
DNF 9 Tony Martin Class B