Marco Giltrap Takes Porsche Round Win at Phillip Island

Marco Giltrap's Australian racing debut has resulted in an outstanding round win in the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia Series at Phillip Island.

Mar 5, 2023

Marco Giltrap has had a fantastic start to his Australian racing career, having claimed victory in the opening round of the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia Series at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit. In doing so, Giltrap also won the 25-lap Jim Richards endurance feature race, the first step to securing the coveted Jim Richards endurance trophy.

On a busy Sunday, the team Porsche NZ/Earl Bamber Motorsport driver won two of Sunday's three races and came second in another to take the round overall in a thrilling weekend of competition in the first round of the Porsche season in Australia.

Winning in the challenging one-make series, with tight performance parity, is testament to Giltrap's skill set, fine-tuned in recent years behind the wheels of Toyota 86, Porsche 718 and 911 here in New Zealand. Giltrap qualified on the second row in fourth, but launching off the line with blistering pace saw the Aucklander seize the lead on the run down to turn one.

The pace of the first 10-lap sprint race was frantic, but it was Giltrap's to lose as he gapped the field convincingly, crossing the line 2.9 seconds ahead of second place.

Starting off the front row in the second sprint race, Aron Shields this time got the better launch and Giltrap would ultimately follow Shields home to finish in P2, setting up an exciting race-three tiebreaker in the 25-lap Jim Richards Enduro.

His path to victory in the enduro was less than clear, however. After getting a great run through turn 12, Giltrap carried more straight-line speed to gain the lead from Shields on lap 3. With battles raging behind, most notably the one between Kiwis Ronan Murphy and Zac Stichbury, which was reminiscent of the duels of old between their racing fathers, Greg and Ashley, Shields gave up some track position, and the chasing pack narrowed Giltrap's lead.

A hesitation as Giltrap approached lapped traffic saw Harrison Goodman seize the lead mid-race. That was short-lived, and Giltrap sat himself in Goodman's slipstream and reclaimed the lead just two laps later, before pulling away to race and round victory.

"I've finished with the round win and a couple of race wins - can't get much better stuff than that," Giltrap said.

"We're pretty sure we had some pretty good pace coming into the weekend. There's still some room for improvement as always, but that third race was pretty hectic. I mean, it was a long one. There was a bit of tyre conservation, and then the traffic got involved, and we sort of slipped back to second. Ultimately, we knew we had the pace towards the end of the race, and we kept strong and ultimately, we came out on top," said Giltrap from the top step.

The next round of the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia Series will see the field head to Queensland Raceway for Round 2, racing alongside the Australian Superbike Championship on April 28-30.