Brenton Grove has reinforced his championship stance in a thrilling weekend of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge action at Queensland Raceway.
The fifth and penultimate round of GT3 Cup Challenge Australia had many highlights for the Grove Racing squad as Brenton took to the track on Friday for practice, his first time around Queensland Raceway in a Porsche.
The ‘paperclip’ style layout offered some fresh challenges as well as the pleasant warm weather, that for southerners like us, from Melbourne, is heaven at this time of year.
Things got off to a brilliant start on Saturday when Grove qualified on the front row for the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy race. Making use of the clean run into the first turn, Grove nailed the start with a more than perfect get away, leading the opening couple of laps.
An early safety car intervention denied any chance for Brenton to build a gap to second placed Jordan Love, when Love got past, Grove kept within touching distance of him as they duelled for lap after lap.
With four laps remaining, the safety car was brought out again to recover a car from the gravel. The race would not go back to green, again denning any chance for Grove to pounce on Love for the race win.
“Race one was good,” said Grove. “I was always going to be at a disadvantage purely down to tyre quality. Jordan had a new set of tyres on and I made a mistake in qualifying so I had to use second hand rubber.
“It was difficult to maximise the race and that late safety car brought us back into contention but the race never went back to green. All that being said, it was great to bring the car back, get some solid points and finish second in the endurance championship.
“It was also pretty cool to drive around for an hour and have some fun.”
Race’s two and three took place on Sunday under the glorious Ipswich sun, again, Brenton got two more top class starts in both of Sunday’s races finishing race number two in second place.
In race three, Love and Grove engaged in another enthralling head to head battle, but a minor mistake had huge implications for Grove. Brenton topped the weekend off with a second in race three resulting in second place overall for the round and a solid bag of points.
“We got a good start in the third race and were battling Jordan and catching him for the lead,” said Grove.
“I think we had what it took, but one lap we hit a bump which caused us to lock up, I mean, at 250km/h a lock up just destroys the tyre.
“After that we just tried to bring the car home because it was almost impossible to drive so we kind of lost all chance to win that race. All in all, it’s been a cool weekend here at QR”.
As GT3 Cup Challenge steams towards its final round of the season at Phillip Island, Grove has his eyes set on an enjoyable and productive last couple of races.
“I’m excited for Phillip Island, once again it’s my home track and it’s the last round. In terms of the championship, it’s pretty well sorted itself out, Jordan’s first, I’m second, but I will do everything I can to put pressure on him and beat him and get the race wins, unless anything un-foreseeable happens I don’t think we’ll win the championship. I just want to enjoy myself and get ready for next season.”
The Phillip Island weekend will take place from the 8th – 10th September.