Shane Smollen has won the Challenge Category of the Australian GT Championship in stunning fashion ??? taking his Autohaus prepared Porsche 997 Cup Car to a third consecutive round win at Sandown Raceway.
After qualifying first in category, Smollen had a hard fight in race one having to work his way back from the rear of the pack after avoiding the Twigg and Hackett accident in the early stages of the race. The accident caused a domino effect as cars ran wide to steer clear of the pandemonium, forcing Smollen to run wide and rejoin the track in third last. He then spent the rest of the 22 lap race working his way to finish second in class, 12th outright.
Race two was quite the opposite, staying clear of any carnage and slipping into the top 10 for the duration of the race. Smollen managed to stay clear of a 3 car incident at turn 4 and had a clean run to finish 9th outright and first in category.
“We had a bit of fun in the first race clawing back positions”, Smollen said.
He continued, “but race 2 was a highlight. Once we cleared traffic we put in a bunch of solid laps resulting in improving times over the course of the race and an outright top 10 finish.”
Smollen was stoked with the weekend’s result ??? made sweeter by having no experience at Sandown in the Porsche. Like most rounds this year it was a case of learning on the job and making the most of data.
“I’m delighted with the championship win. We had a consistent season, learnt as we went and it all came together to achieve the goal.” Smollen continued, “We had no serious mechanical issues through any of the races thanks to the car preparation at Autohaus Hamilton and came on really strong in the second half of the season.”
Smollen’s season was applauded by team manager Grant Geelan, who has every reason to be proud of the great support provided from engineer Tim Watts and head mechanic Stephen Brooke.
“Shane did a great job all year. He has performed consistently throughout the Championship and deserves the win. All the team at Autohaus Hamilton congratulate Shane on winning the Championship”, Geelan remarked.
Shane Smollen wishes to thank McGrath Estate Agents for their continued support in 2010.