Stephen Grove scored a thrilling class podium on the world-stage at Round 6 of Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at the Hungaroring in Budapest.
The Melbourne-based driver clawed his way to third in Pro-Am after a busy 14 lap race at the 4.3km circuit which saw him start from sixth in class.
It marks the first time an Australian driver has ever finished on the Supercup Pro-Am podium, with the achievement coming in only Grove’s third event in the series.
Speaking after the race, he was still buzzing with excitement from the result.
“I’m so happy with the podium, that was fantastic,” Grove exclaimed.
“To become the first ever Australian to finish on the podium in the Pro-Am division of Supercup is just unbelievable.
“The racing level over here is incredible, so when I’m passing guys like I did in that race at such a high level, it’s absolutely fantastic - I’m so rapt.
“It was an extremely hot race, 34 degrees [celsius] over here and even hotter in the car. We don’t run cool suits, we don’t run drink bottle systems in Supercup, so it was mega hot.
“You’ve got to push, but the tyre and track temperatures were blisteringly warm, so you’ve got to be really smooth in that scenario.
“The team is happy as well with what is for them, second and third in Pro-Am, so everything is really good.
“Of course, I’ve now got to find some space in my suitcase for the third place trophy, which is actually really big and it weighs about six kilos, so it’s quite heavy.”
Grove managed to survive a first corner incident early in the race, before setting his sights up the road and working through the order.
His fastest lap of the race, a 1:52.212s, proved less than three seconds off the fastest outright lap of the race achieved by the winning Pro class competitor; the smallest margin Grove has ever had lap time wise to the front running cars since debuting in Supercup.
The experienced racer described his charge into the podium place positions as one of his best drives thus far.
“I was a bit conservative into Turn 1, because traditionally there’s always a crash, which there was. I was fairly tentative through there and then I just pushed and put pressure on,” added Grove.
“[Christof] Langer made a mistake, he just overcooked it at one of the corners, so I lined him up and I knew where I was quicker, so doubled back and passed him.
“On the last lap, I knew where I was faster than the English driver, [Mark] Radcliffe, which was through the sweeper at Turn 6, so I pushed through there.
“He would always take a wide line and ‘v’ the corner, so I got on the brakes and took the inside and that’s where I passed him, and that put me up into third.
“We brought it home after that and maintained third, which is just awesome, I’m really happy, that’s got to be one of my better drives.”
Hungary marks the end of part two of Grove’s triple header, which now sees him return to Australia in defence of his domestic Carrera Cup crown.
Grove will head from Europe to Sydney Motorsport Park this coming weekend (August 3-4) for Round 5 of Carrera Cup Australia, supporting the Red Rooster Sydney SuperNight.