It was a victorious maiden appearance in Darwin for Earl Bamber Motorsport as Dale Wood, Callum Hedge and Ryan Suhle enjoyed a successful Round 3 in the Paynter Dixon Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Championship.
Entering the weekend with Wood was well placed in the top 10 alongside Suhle, while Hedge was aiming to rebound after a brutal opening two events.
Wood started the weekend off well with fourth and eighth in the opening two practice sessions, but he further improved on this for qualifying to score his first pole position since 2020 in the category.
In a tight battle with championship leader Harri Jones and Dylan O’Keeffe, Wood scored his best result of the season to be second.
However, the tables were turned on Sunday morning in Race 2 as Wood took an early lead and maintained it to score his first for the season.
In Race 3, despite the heat Wood made it appear easy to add another victory to take out the round as he led from start-to-finish.
Kiwi young gun Hedge made a steady start to his debut Darwin appearance, finishing the opening practice session 11th before improving to fifth in the second to continue his rapid development.
In what was a busy qualifying session where clear air was at a premium, Hedge was 11th and worked his way to 10th during the opening race.
Further improvement was made in Sunday morning’s Race 2 where he moved to ninth setting up another move forward in the final to finish
Continuing his forward momentum, Hedge moved up to eighth in the final race.
On his first trip to Darwin, Suhle was 18th and 10thin practice as he qualified 17th as he was among many drivers to not fully maximise the Porsche package.
Suhle climbed positions in Race 1 to be 14th, but dropped back to 16th in the second and returned to 14th in what was a hot weekend of racing where the Porsche product proved difficult to pass in the conditions.
Earl Bamber Motorsport now prepare for the fourth round of Paynter Dixon Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Championship at Townsville on July 8-10.
“What an awesome weekend for car #100,” Wood summarised. “Thank you so much to all my supporters.
“This weekend with Earl Bamber Motorsport has been one of the best ones I’ve had in such a long time. A lot of laughs off the track and getting the job done on it.
“Pole and two race wins, you couldn’t ask for much more this weekend.
“I believe it’s the first round win for EBM, so that’s awesome and great to be a part of, but the car has been great all weekend. I probably slipped up at the start of Race 1, but the rest of it couldn’t have gone any better.
“I had an absolute ball and thank you so much, looking forward to the next one.”
Team Porsche New Zealand/EBM
“I’ve never been up to Darwin before, no testing or any racing up here previously,” Hedge reflected.
“It was a big learning curve on top of the track in two sessions much like the Grand Prix earlier this year.
“I was on for a good lap in quali, could have put it on the front row or at least third and got blocked so that unfortunately set-up our weekend. It’s super hard to pass in these cars.
“I moved forward a couple of spots in every race, but it’s hard with the aero wash and heat.
“A massive thanks to the Earl Bamber Motorsport Team Porsche New Zealand crew for giving me an awesome car and having faith in me this year.”
“An interesting weekend for me here in Darwin, it’s my first time here at this track and I haven’t done any real testing or running,” Suhle explained.
“I struggled a little bit in qualifying, which set the weekend up, being a little bit further down the pack it was difficult to pass in these cars.
“I’m super excited to race at the next round at Townsville and hopefully it’s not as hot as here.
“A big thanks to the Earl Bamber Motorsport crew and SP Tools for getting us here.
“The car is fast, just need to work on the peddler!”