After an average weekend in Darwin at round 4 of the 2019 Carrera Cup championship, the awesome MR crew were looking forward to getting back to Townsville where we have enjoyed many wins and podiums over the years. In fact our first visit to the popular street circuit was the inaugural event back in 2009 when we were running Dan Gaunt in the V8 Supercar "Super 2" championship.
The race format for the weekend was a 16-lapper on Saturday then on Sunday a 28-lap mini Enduro followed by a 16-lap sprint race.
Cooper qualified on pole in only his second race weekend with MR. In race 1 he had a good start and led the field into turn 1 then proceeded to put together the perfect race to win by over 6 seconds and take the race’s fastest lap.
Starting race 2 from pole Cooper got a great start and quite literally dominated the race pulling a record breaking 11 second lead and taking fastest race lap again.
In race 3 he didn’t quite get the start he wanted but was able to retake the lead in the braking zone at turn 2. Apart from a short safety car then a great restart it was another lights to flags victory to cap off a dream weekend.
Luffy qualified an inspired 2nd. In race 1 he got a decent start but couldn't get by ABS equipped Pro-Am Lago until lap 7. He then had a fierce but clean battle with championship leader Wood eventually pulling a comfortable lead to take a season best 2nd place.
In race 2 Luffy got off the line well and pulled away from the field with Cooper until a front shock absorber was bent on one of the kerbs allowing Almond to catch up. Despite the pressure he gallantly finished 3rd after a 20-lap tussle with Almond and Wood.
In race 3 Luffy got another good start, but got caught by contact ahead on lap 2 which cost him 2 places. He was unable to move forward but held Almond at bay to take another podium.
Gilbo did another great job in qualifying to take his third consecutive 2nd in Pro-Am. In race 1 he started from row 5 and had a steady but good race chasing some of the Pro drivers and keeping a handy gap to Flack behind.
In race 2 Gilbo got a good start among the Pros and did a terrific job to hunt down Pro-Am leader Lago. Mid race he made a great pass to take the Pro-Am leader then proceeded to pull a 9 second lead over the 2nd placed Pro-Am by the end of the race.
In race 3 Gilbo lost some ground avoiding the same incident as Luffy but still managed to take 4th place after a torrid race, before penalties were applied.
Tim qualified 6th in Pro-Am. He had a good start but in a similar situation to the last round in Darwin where he innocently found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time at the last turn on the first lap and sustained steering damage putting him out of the race.
In race 2 Tim had cracking first lap, then drove a well-measured race to catch the Pro-Am battle pack of Talbot, Cook, Shahin and Cook in the early laps. He posted the fastest Pro-Am lap of the race and passed Shahin for 6th a few laps from the end.
In race 3 he avoided the carnage up ahead then did a great job to catch and pass Cook on lap 8 to take the Pro-Am lead which gave him an impressive top-10 outright.
Well, what a terrific weekend! We are obviously rapt with Coopers' clean sweep in only his second race weekend with MR, not to mention his 11.43 second margin in race 2, the biggest in Australian Carrera cup history, beating Jaxon's winning margin from the Gold Coast 600 in 2017!
Luffy did his usual utterly professional job putting the MEGA/ N2C Porsche on the podium while also coaching his team mates throughout the weekend. Gilbo had a great weekend going and just missed winning the round in Pro-Am, but was issued a penalty for contact with Steve Richards after race 3. Tim paid the penalty for a bad qualifying session and spent the weekend playing catch up capturing fastest Pro-Am lap in race 2 and the win in race 3.
We are now looking forward to heading to Tailem Bend in 7 weeks.