Silverware for Grove duo at The Bend

Stephen and Brenton Grove picked up the silverware at Round 3 of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS at The Bend Motorsport Park.

The father and son pairing excelled in the Grove Group/Dasher + Fisher Grove Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R, taking home a well-earned podium on Sunday at the South Australian circuit.

Brenton started the car fourth at the beginning of the hour-long encounter and swept around the outside of three cars to grab the lead at the first corner.

That sensational move was converted into a one-second lead by Lap 5 as the pack behind squabbled, before Supercars star Garth Tander broke free and made a bid for the lead.

Grove Jnr put up a firm defence, but Tander was able to get by a few laps before the pit stop sequence, with Brenton doing a solid job to keep within 2s of the lead.

He then handed the #4 over to Stephen, who rejoined with a 10-second lead courtesy of Brenton’s stunning pace in the opening stint and the shorter mandatory pit stop time.

It proved to be a nail-biting finish as the three-time Carrera Cup Australia class champion put up a fight against Yasser Shahin, but Stephen had to settle for second position in Race 2.

The podium result is the team’s second of the season and a solid comeback after Race 1 on Saturday didn’t quite go to plan.

In changeable conditions, the weekend’s first race was largely a guessing game on what the weather was going to do, with the field split on starting on slicks or wets.

On a damp track, Stephen started on wets, but the much-anticipated rain stayed away and the cars who gambled on slicks came to the fore as the surface rapidly dried out.

When Grove Snr stopped to hand over to Brenton, the team opted for slicks on what was effectively a bone-dry track, but the rain decided to finally pour down, throwing another curveball and an extra stop.

All in all, it proved to be an unlucky run, with the Groves crossing the line 12th outright, relieved to see the chequered flag.

Sunday’s podium result made up for the frustrations of the previous day, giving the squad a healthy bundle of points.

GT World Challenge Australia continues with another sprint round at Sandown from September 17-19.

QUOTEBOARD:

Stephen Grove

“The start from Brenton set it up; he started fourth got to first, held some really talented drivers behind him, and brought the Porsche in second for me. I ended up getting out in first and we ran there for a while, but the rears were going off. Yasser is pretty good around here so he just kept closing; traffic slowed me up a little bit and he got me. We are really happy with second position this weekend and the Porsche is going absolutely super.”

Brenton Grove

“Good race! The key was to get a good start and luckily to go from fourth to first before the first corner was pretty nice. From there, I just tried to control the race to make sure we didn’t use too much of the tyre. I got caught out a bit when lapping the slower cars, they held me up in the wrong spot and Garth was able to get past me, but it was good to still arrive in the pits in second place so close to Garth. Stephen did well in his stint, so a second position at the end is a result we’re definitely cheering about.”

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