Porsche Carrera Cup Australia rookie Jaxon Evans has kept a cool head in race one to claim his maiden series win in sunny Darwin, while his McElrea Racing teammate Tim Miles finished his debut single-driver race with the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge victory.
David Wall started Saturday on top, taking his first ever TAG Heuer Pole Position in his 38th round in the championship, with Evans joining the Sydneysider on the front row in second.
Evans had the best jump off the start line to lead into turn one, closely followed by Alex Davison and Wall.
Evans maintained the lead and didn’t look threatened until the closing laps, when Davison closed to within striking distance. Then, on the final lap, Davison ran wide at turn one and lost second place to Wall, while handing Evans an easy run to the chequered flag to claim his maiden Carrera Cup win in just his fourth event.
“I’m really happy; I couldn’t have asked for a better start to this weekend. It is my first Carrera Cup race win so it feels pretty special,” said Evans, who raced the past two seasons in the second-tier Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge series.
“I didn’t think my first win would come this soon. I knew I had the speed but putting it all together for the win this early in the season certainly wasn’t expected.
“Race two will be my first race start off pole position. Wall got away to a pretty slow start so I’m not sure if that was due to the track conditions on the inside. But I look forward to hopefully leading the field into turn one again.”
Wall placed second from Davison in third, who was able to hold off Dylan O’Keeffe and James Abela; both were on the rear of the #888 Porsche once Davison re-entered the circuit following his final lap mishap.
O’Keeffe and Abela placed an impressive fourth and fifth from Cam McConville, Nick McBride and Andre Heimgartner, who dropped down the order following turn one contact with O’Keeffe mid-race, placing eighth from Michael Almond in ninth.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge provided plenty of highlights from the opening race.
Stephen Grove was the best in class from qualifying, while he and Miles battled at the head of the class in the opening race. However off-track excursions and spins from both mid-race allowed Sam Shahin to move into the class lead. Miles soon regained the top spot in class to eventually claim a two-second class win from Shahin.
Simon Ellingham placed 12th for the 25-lap race, with Grove placing 13th.
“I had an absolute ball out there. I made it hard for myself, as did Steve; it was the race that no one wanted to win. But to have my first ever solo race in Carrera Cup and to win the Challenge class, I couldn’t be happier,” said Miles.
“I think there were only two-tenths between Sam, Steve and myself and it was all clean racing between us. Obviously we all want to win and, being so close, it was a really fun race.”
Wall’s second place result promotes him to the championship lead, now 18 points ahead of Heimgartner, with McBride retaining third place 79.5 points further behind.
Meanwhile Grove continues his TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge stronghold, now 157.5 points ahead of Marc Cini, who will this afternoon contest the Porsche Carrera Cup race in France as a support of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.