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CALLUM HEDGE TAKES MAIDEN VICTORY IN TOWNSVILLE

Callum Hedge takes maiden victory in Townsville

Kiwi young gun Callum Hedge’s maiden Paynter Dixon Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Championship victory highlighted Earl Bamber Motorsport’s trip up north for Round 4 in Townsville.

Hedge had a breakthrough weekend where he achieved a clean-sweep of podium finishes, despite qualifying 11th as teammate Ryan Suhle also took season best results.

For veteran Dale Wood it proved a difficult meeting after an opening race retirement, but he still remains fourth in the title standings.

Making his debut appearance on the hybrid street-permanent Reid Park circuit, Hedge made a steady start in practice to end Friday in eighth, but qualifying proved disappointing as he dropped outside of the top 10 in 11th.

However, a big incident at Turn 2 in front enabled Hedge to move into a podium position of which he held until the end as the event finished under safety car after limited green flag running.

The 28 lap ‘mini enduro’ opened up Sunday’s action for Paynter Dixon Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Championship and Hedge held off more experienced drivers to take second, setting up an attack in the final.

Hedge made the best jump in the final race, but had to battle to take the lead where did so entering Turn 5 and was never headed as he broke away to take his maiden race victory in Paynter Dixon Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Championship.

Suhle backed up his teammate by equally having his strongest weekend in the class starting with 10th at the end of Friday’s two practice sessions albeit he was sixth in the first.

Qualifying was strong for Suhle as he led the Earl Bamber Motorsport entries in fourth, but he was caught in the Turn 2 fracas as he dropped to 11th.

Suhle bounced back in Race 2 to take sixth in the 28 lap event as he replicated the performance in the final to round out his best weekend so far.

Meanwhile, Wood’s weekend was marred by the opening race incident as he punctured his radiator forcing him into retirement.

Prior to this, Wood worked his way from seventh in practice to qualify sixth as he aimed to continue his hot form from Darwin.

After failing to finish Race 1, Wood was unable to claw his way back as he finished 16th in the 28 lap second encounter, while the final resulted in 15th.

Wood still remains fourth, with Hedge moving to seventh and Suhle 11th.

Earl Bamber Motorsport now prepares for Round 5 of the Paynter Dixon Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Championship at The Bend Motorsport Park on July 29-31.

QUOTES

Callum Hedge

Team Porsche New Zealand/Earl Bamber Motorsport Porsche 992 GT3 Cup Car

“It’s my first time up here in Townsville and on a street circuit, which was quite difficult for me,” said Hedge.

“I learnt a lot in practice and in qualifying I got blocked on my fastest lap, so we could have been in the top four, but then it worked out in our favour with Race 1 going the way it did.

“It was a bit of a car park at Turn 2 and I came out third at either Turn 3 or 4, so I couldn’t believe my luck after that.

“In the second race I got a good start and jumped Luke (Youlden) off the line, but made a slight mistake so he re-passed me. I got lucky later in the race when he got caught out in the last few laps.

“Race 3 I started off the front row and got a good start. I knew I had to get the job done early otherwise Wallee (David Wall) would’ve caught and passed me on his greens.

“I got a bit of a gap and he slowly caught up, but he had used the best of his green tyre by then.

“A good trio of podiums and my first win in Carrera Cup against some very experienced guys in this field.

“Can’t thank Earl Bamber Motorsport and Porsche Team New Zealand enough.”

Ryan Suhle

SP Tools/Earl Bamber Motorsport Porsche 992 GT3 Cup Car

“It was a really up and down weekend for us here in Townsville,” summarised Suhle.

“I qualified great in fourth and got caught up in an incident at Turn 2, which was a car park, dropping us to the back.

“We had to chip our way forward and some great racing throughout the field, made some passes so I’m definitely looking forward to The Bend.”

Dale Wood

Timken/Earl Bamber Motorsport Porsche 992 GT3 Cup Car

“Talk about the highs and lows, you come from Darwin on top to having a real struggle in Townsville,” Wood reflected.

“We qualified okay, the pace was somewhat there, but after Race 1 and the mess that was we couldn’t quite recover.

“I’m really disappointed, however we’ll look at it all and Callum’s had a great one with another round win for the team.