We were rapt that after the recent Covid scare in Townsville, the area was downgraded from a 'red zone' to orange in the week leading up to round 3 of the Porsche Carrera Cup, allowing the Victorian teams to travel and the race weekend to go ahead.
We were however, paying a heavy price for the NSW lockdown with Pro-Am driver Tim Miles and Pro driver Jackson Walls being unable to travel to Qld for the round.
We have had great results at Townsville in the past, with Luffy, Matt and Jaxon, and particularly with Cooper's clean sweep in 2019, so were confident of another strong weekend.
Cooper was a bit frustrated with qualifying but still managed 4th, on the outside of the second row. In race 1 he drove like a man possessed to force his way to the front by the 5th lap, he calmly pulled away to be over a second ahead by the chequered flag. The officials deemed his pass for the lead a little too energetic and handed him a 5-second penalty dropping him to 4th.
In race 2 he got a blinder of a start jumping from 4th to 2nd on the run to the first corner. He sliced past Hill on the next lap to record his 2nd win of the weekend and 5th in a row at Townsville.
In race 3 Cooper got away well and led 5 of the 17 laps until, with rival Hill back in 4th, he wisely let Payne through to the lead and protect his likely round win. For the remaining 12 laps, he managed the gap to the cars behind to take his 2nd Townsville round win in a row.
Harri's car broke a driveshaft on the warm-up lap of qualifying so he didn't set a time and had to start from the rear of the grid.
In race 1 he had a barn-storming first lap passing 10 cars to get up to 12th. It was harder work to move forward once he caught the Pro drivers, but with his hallmark intelligent aggression, he put in the drive of the race to make his way to 7th by the end.
In race 2 Harri started 7th and had a torrid race racing hard with the other aggressive Pros in the leading pack. By the end of the race, he had done a great job to make two more places and get to the 3rd row of the grid for race 3.
In race 3 Harri had another inspired first few laps and forced his way from grid 5 to 3rd on the opening lap which he held until a minor error allowed Love through which cost him 2 places and he had to settle for a slightly frustrated 5th.
Christian qualified a creditable 8th in only his third Carrera Cup round. In race 1 he got a cracking start and made a place on lap 1 then kept pushing forward with race-craft beyond his years to settle in a hotly contested 5th place. Over the closing laps, he was embroiled in an intense battle with Craig Lowndes who used his years of experience to prevail on the last lap.
In race 2 'Pancho' started from row 3 and had some great battles while learning plenty about the cut and thrust intensity of Carrera Cup ending up 9th.
In race 3 he started from row 5, but got elbowed back on the opening lap by the far more experienced Pros so he wisely spent his time learning as much as possible about the nuances of tyre wear, etc for the future. While it wasn't the result he wanted, he is learning fast and making great progress.
Well, that weekend certainly was a bit of a rollercoaster! Obviously, we are very proud of Cooper's second round win at Townsville and his five straight race wins. In practice, Harri was running a similar pace to Cooper and if not for a broken driveshaft on the opening lap of qualifying, he would have qualified up the front and his weekend would have turned out quite different. We also need to keep in mind that this is Christian's first year with MR and he is focused on success in the Sprint Challenge championship and these Carrera Cup rounds are just familiarisation for next year.
We leave Townsville with Cooper 2nd and Harri 3rd in the Carrera Cup points and Cooper, Harri, Christian, and Jackson 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th in the Michelin Junior championship to decide which driver will represent Australia at the Porsche Junior shootout in Europe later in the year.
As usual, many thanks to the #AMRC (awesome MR crew) Luffy the supercoach and our drivers, their families and supporters for another superb successful weekend.