FAST-FINISHING DAVIES COMPLETES PODIUM HAT-TRICK AT HOME
Main Beach driver Shae Davies continued his competitive late season charge in the final Porsche Carrera Cup Australia round at the Gold Coast 600, scoring his third podium round finish in as many events.
After a wretched start to the year, Davies and his McElrea Racing team brought home season 2014 with a rush - Davies ended the year fourth overall in the series standings and scored more points in the second half of the season than any other driver.
The Gold Coast local lapped under the existing qualifying record to set the sixth fastest time - a 1:12.8214 - which would see Davies start Race 1 alongside five-time series champion Craig Baird.
RACE 1 - Started: 6th, Finished: 4th
With all cars in the Carrera Cup being identical and the confines of the 2.96km Surfers Paradise circuit offering minimal overtaking opportunities, Davies responded with a vital strong start to assume fourth ahead of Baird and Luff. The second-year Carrera Cup racer pulled away from Baird at a steady rate and utilised good late race pace to draw closer to third placed Nick Foster, before eventually greeting the chequered flag in a fighting fourth.
RACE 2 - Started: 4th, Finished: 3rd
Davies held fourth in the opening laps and settled into a similar rhythm as he did in Race 1. The Davbridge/Nuveau Constructions-backed Porsche was at its strongest in the second half of the race and Davies capitalised on a wall-banging moment by Race 1 winner David Russell to snatch third place.
RACE 3 - Started: 3rd, Finished: 2nd
Having already made one stellar start earlier in the weekend, Davies got it right again in Race 3 and charged into second place before the first chicane. From there an intense 20-lap encounter (the longest of the weekend) ensued, as Davies chased down race leader Foster while being stalked by the very racy Russell. Davies wore down the gap to his former Formula Ford rival and set the fastest lap of the race - 1:12.8985 - in the process.
The lead pack scythed through lapped runners in the closing stages, and Davies ultimately finished just seven-tenths behind Foster at the finish, collecting enough points to secure third overall for the round.
"We started on the back foot a little this weekend after not quite unlocking our true pace in qualifying, but from Race 1 onwards we didn’t look back and extracted everything we could. On the whole, I’m very happy with our weekend but more importantly I am proud of the way we were able to turn around what was looking like being a very long season after being in the wars during the early rounds.
“I was really in a zone in the final race catching Nick, it was a great pressure-cooker race chipping at the margin with a tenth here or there, and with a top operator like Dave Russell on my bumper I couldn’t afford to put a foot wrong. It was a very enjoyable end to a great weekend and a satisfying year. Thanks to Andy McElrea, Leigh Geyer, my #1 mechanic Timmy McCumstie and the whole McElrea Racing team for putting in nothing less than 110% all season.”