Geoff Emery has become the 2017 CAMS Australian GT Champion after overhauling Liam Talbot’s lead at the final round of the season held at Melbourne’s Sandown Park.
The final round of the sprint series saw three races with Emery and his Audi squad having to make up the 28 point deficit to Talbot and his Porsche.
Both of the drivers would have to battle past Ash Walsh who took pole position and would pull out a seven second lead before his compulsory pitstop in race one.
The battle for the championship would be made more complex by the presence of Fraser Ross in the Total McLaren. Ross would put himself into second place with a fantastic more around the outside of Emery on lap 10. He would hang onto second place for Race 1.
For Walsh, the seven second lead was not enough as together with codriver Duvan Padayachee would end up fourth.
Emery though, drew first blood taking the win from Ross and Talbot in third.
This set up a tense second race. It started with an incident for Ash Samadi’s Audi who outbraked himself and hit the wall after splashing his way through the wet outfield. That brought out the safety car.
Upon the restart, Talbot was trying to make up positions when he too outbraked himself, spun and getting beached on a curb. The resulting delay saw him drop two laps and this would see him finish 10th.
The mistake was a godsend for Emery who would take second spot, and the championship lead. The first time he held that position all season.
At the checkered flag of Race 2, it was Walsh/Padayachee but they would lose the win with post race penalties for a start infringement. That penalty would drop them to fifth. That left Tony Quinn to take the win in the Darrell Lea McLaren.
So it was all to play for in the final encounter. The tables had been turned with Emery now leading from Talbot.
All Emery in the Valvoline-sponsored Audi needed to do was to finish fourth. Talbot would have to win in the MEGA Porsche.
But no one told Fraser Ross in the McLaren. Ross battled hard with Steve Richards in the BMW, with Quinn and with Walsh. It was certainly a tough fight at the front before the pitstops.
After the round of stops though, Ross led from Talbot with Emery ninth. With that result, Talbot would win the title.
But Emery fought through the pack, passing four cars on track to end up fifth. Talbot through was unable to get the better of Ross which was not enough and the Geoff Emery became the Australian GT Champion.
It was a great comeback year for Emery who spent most of 2016 out through injury.
Race 3 would belong to Ross, who won from Talbot with Walsh/Padayachee finally making good on their pace to take third. In the end Emery won the championship by 10 points with 680 points from Talbot on 670. Ash Walsh was third of 585.