Roger Lago has claimed victory in the opening race of the 2016 CAMS Australian GT Championship.
Starting sixth, the JBS Australia Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX moved into the lead shortly after mid-distance, taking advantage of a shorter stationary time to seize control of the race.
“The car was really fast,” Lago enthused. “I don’t think we’ll be able to stay there in the next race but it’s good to get the win.”
A mid-race safety car shook up the field when Hayden Cooper ran off the circuit in his M Motorsport entry, slashing the advantage race leader Craig Baird had opened.
Baird moved into the lead on the opening lap, passing the pole-sitting JAMEC PEM Audi of Geoff Emery into turn nine.
The Scott Taylor Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 then opened a commanding lead before the safety car was deployed for Cooper’s car on lap seven.
Racing resumed just prior to the pit window opening, handing an advantage to Lago and Mark Griffith, who enjoyed shorted stationary times and gained strong track position as a result.
Griffith, whose Hog’s Breath Café/Griffith Corporation car was repaired overnight following a qualifying mistake, ended the race fourth having run as high as second in the closing stages.
The Mercedes-AMG GT3 racer found himself battling with a chasing pack of McLarens as Nathan Morcom, Elliot Barber, Tony Walls and Klark Quinn.
Like Lago, Greg Taylor benefited from a shorter pit stop time before a mistake saw his Adina Apartment Hotels entry spin across the circuit in front of Morcom and Barber who did well to avoid the Audi.
Morcom went on to climb to second place at the finish with the father-son McLaren pairing of Klark and Tony Quinn in third place.
Elliot Barber was fifth behind Griffith, the Beechwood TEKNO Autosport McLaren 650S GT3 car setting a new lap record with Nathan Antunes behind the wheel.
Antunes lowered the benchmark to a 1:20.4130, beating the previous mark by four tenths of a second.
Pole sitter Mies climbed back to 11th at the finish after scything his way through the field in the closing stages while the Baird/Scott Taylor pairing finished 17th.
Lago’s win marked the first for a Lamborghini victory in the Australian GT Championship since John Bowe took the honours at Phillip Island in 2008.
It also moves the Queenslander into both the Gold Driver Cup and Australian GT Championship lead.
Motorsport news courtesy of Velocity Magazine; Australia’s leading monthly motorsport magazine. Buy online at vmag.com.au