MEDIA RELEASE/Grove Racing – Photo: supplied
Stephen Grove brought the final European round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup to a close with a fourth-place result in Pro-Am while Team Australia driver Joey Mawson finished on the overall podium in Monza, Italy.
Following on from last weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, the pinnacle of Porsche one-make racing arrived at the historic ‘temple of speed’ for Round 8 of the series.
Team Australia had plenty to cheer about on Sunday, with Joey Mawson finishing on the overall podium in third, his best-ever result in Porsche Supercup and a superb achievement for the Herberth Motorsport-run Team Australia crew.
Grove came into the Monza weekend confident of another strong result having not finished outside the top five in class all season.
A tight qualifying session saw the Melburnian take up fourth in Pro-Am, which was good enough for 30th outright on the grid.
As the five red lights went out, he got off to a good start and was in hot pursuit of his rivals on the run down to the first chicane, but had to be cautious as the field bunched up through the notorious opening sequence of corners.
When they came across the line at the end of a chaotic opening lap, Grove had gained a handful of positions to 27th outright, setting off up the road for more.
That quickly became 26th outright after an unfortunate incident for Julien Andlauer who hit the barriers on the exit of the Ascari Chicane.
For a number of laps, Grove remained 26th outright, before turning up the heat late in the race.
Car #28 had scorching pace in the closing stages of the 15-lap affair, with his fastest lap of the race, a 1:53.250s, being set on Lap 13.
Grove rapidly closed down on fellow Pro-Am competitor Clement Mateu, taking chunks out of his gap and even passing a Pro-class competitor in the process, but ultimately ran out of laps.
On the last lap, he had brought the margin down to under a second before taking the chequered flag less than three-tenths of a second (0.3s) behind Mateu.
With the close finish, Grove had to settle for fourth in Pro-Am, which was 25th in the outright classification.
The result is an improvement of five positions from his starting place.
Speaking after the race, Grove congratulated fellow Team Australian driver Joey Mawson on his brilliant overall podium.
Grove said that if he had one more lap he felt he would have been on for a third-place finish in Pro-Am.
The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup will have a six-week break before the final event in Mexico City, featuring two rounds, from October 24-27.
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