Carrera Cup Bathurst: Grove wins Challenge Class Championship

Stephen Grove has made a “phenomenal” come back, claiming the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Challenge Class Championship in a character building weekend at Bathurst.

Taking 11 race wins across the season so far, Grove has beaten fellow competitor Tim Miles to the championship with one more round still remaining for the year. 

The Melbourne based driver set the pace early in Practice, finishing fastest for the session in class, a full 1.6 seconds quicker than the next driver and only 2-seconds off Supercars co-driver; Alex Davison.

The next session was Qualifying on Friday morning, again the 2017 Challenge Class Champion went fastest with an impressive 2:10.373s to put him on the class pole position for Race 1 and become the fastest ever Elite class driver to lap the Mount Panorama Circuit.

A great launch off the line saw Grove hold the lead through the first turn, but he went side by side with another driver up mountain straight, both making contact on the exit of Turn 2, and hurtling into the concrete wall. 

"It’s been tough," said Grove.

"Qualifying was really good, I’m extremely happy with that and I think a 2m:10s around Bathurst is brilliant and It’s the fastest an Elite driver has been around the mountain in a Cup Car!
 
"That was a big plus, but then things went a bit down-hill with the crash in race 1, which wasn’t flash."

A sensational effort by Pete, Dave, Robert, Brenton and the rest of the Grove Racing team, including a helping hand from the boys of Porsche Centre Melbourne Motorsport, saw them turn a heavily damaged Porsche into a brand new and repaired one in less than 24-Hours.

The superhuman achievement meant Grove managed to get back out for Race 2, and recover enough points to win the Challenge Class Championship, with a 3rd for the race in class.

"It’s amazing what the crew did to fix the car overnight," exclaimed Grove.

"One of the things when you have an incident or an accident like we did in race 1, the crew unfortunately have to work really late, which really hurts to be honest because you want to try and bring the car home straight for the boys.

"They worked all night which is phenomenal and got me going for race 2, which was all about consolidating and making sure we finished where we needed to finish to get the points and win the class championship."

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An extremely unfortunate end to the weekend saw Grove get eliminated in a first corner incident in the final race on Sunday.

"Race 3 was just really unfortunate," added Grove.

"I just got tagged at the first corner and then collected, but those things happen and we’ll move on to the next round at the Gold Coast now."

Porsche Carrera Cup Australia and Grove Racing now heads up the East Coast of the continent to the final round of the championship on the streets of the Gold Coast. 

"Gold Coast is really just so we can go try and enjoy it now considering we've taken the championship," said Grove.

"Traditionally I go okay there, it’s a street circuit and anything can happen. You need to Qualify well there, and if you do that well and get a good start it’s pretty good.

The Gold Coast weekend will take place from 20-22nd of October.

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