The Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS got back on track on Friday for the third round of the Australian GT championship. Twelve cars visit the Queensland Raceway in Ipswich this weekend, the first event since the Bathurst 12 Hour in May, with Audi and Mercedes-AMG leading the charge in practice.
As is custom this year in the Audi-dominated field, the German brand topped the charts in the opening practice session on Friday. Garth Tander made his return to the championship, immediately setting the fastest time. The Australian’s 1m08.976sec kept the #1 The Bend Motorsport Park Audi R8 LMS GT3 Pro-Am entry – shared with championship leader Yasser Shahin – just 0.236 seconds ahead of his 2020 Bathurst 1000 co-winner Shane van Gisbergen aboard the Pro-Am class #888 Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG GT3.
In the evening, Harrolds Racing showed itself on top in a quite dusk session, having recently partnered with Volante Rosso Racing for its step up into GT3. The GT4 graduates ended the session fastest with a time of 1m17.8942sec set by the #101 Mercedes-AMG GT3. A true comparison, however, was hard to make as track action was limited due to rain.
Shahin’s title rival Liam Talbot – both are equal on points with 43 – finished the first session in third place while leaving the second session to his #20 Coinspot Audi R8 LMS GT3 co-driver Fraser Ross. Both championship contenders are partnering a new driver for the upcoming races as Tander replaces Christopher Mies in the The Band Motorsport Park Audi while Fraser continues on from his co-drive in the Bathurst 12 Hour and taking over for the sprints from Chaz Mostert.
Qualifying starts on Saturday at 9:10 AEST (1:10 CEST) with the first 20-minute session to set the grid for race 1, immediately followed by the second session. Race 1 starts at 13:00 AEST (5:00 CEST).
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