Despite a 15s penalty following an opening corner indiscretion, Prince Jefri Ibrahim and Broc Feeney charged to victory in Race 1 for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS at The Bend Motorsport Park.
A late-race swap between Feeney and teammate Jamie Whincup enabled the young gun to attack long-time race leader Fraser Ross in the Shannons Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II, which he successfully did at Turn 1 on the last lap.
It came after a controversial start as series leader Yasser Shahin was tipped into a spin by Ibrahim at Turn 1 on the opening lap after the Triple Eight Race Engineering driver missed the start resulting in a 15s penalty taken at the pit stop.
This opened up the opportunity for title contenders Ibrahim and Ross’ co-driver Liam Talbot, which led to a close battle between the two during the opening stint. The Shannons Audi managed to find a way through into the lead despite a robust defence and extended the lead to 8s before the compulsory stops.
The Shannons team also enjoyed a shorter pit stop time enabling Ross to hold a comfortable lead until the two Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG GT3s ranged up behind as the 60-minute race drew to its closing stages.
Whincup played the team role by swapping with Feeney as Ibrahim closed the points lead to Shahin, who finished off the podium in fourth alongside Garth Tander.
Whincup in third gave Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim a podium finish on debut.
Adrian Deitz and Tony D’Alberto finished fifth in Pro-Am driving the Wall Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
Harrolds Racing Volante Rosso’s Ross Poulakis just held off the similar Mercedes-AMG GT3 of RAM Motorsport pairing Michael Sheargold and Garth Walden.
Leaders in the class standings Gary Higgon and Paul Stokell were third leading KFC Audi teammate Matt Stoupas.
Sergio Pires and Marcel Zalloua took a dream GT Trophy win on debut, defeating Launch Racing’s Michael Kokkinos after a close early battle between the pair.
Mark Griffith and Nash Morris took out GT4 Class ahead of the similar Mercedes of Christos Batzios, who shared with Sam Brabham.
Rounding out the weekend at The Bend is Race 2 tomorrow scheduled to take place at 12:55pm local time (1:25pm AEDT).