Klark QuinnKlark Quinn is off to a great start in the 2012 Australian GT Championship protected by Sargent Security, winning both races at the Adelaide Parklands circuit.

In fact, both victories were unexpected after Quinn and the V.I.P. Petfoods team had struggled to get his new Porsche GT3-R handling properly during practice and qualifying.

But skilful driving on a slippery rain-affected track in Saturday’s first race enabled him to take advantage of a slip-up between the two leaders, and improvements to the car overnight put him back on the pace for the second race.

RACE 1

From third starting position in the hour-long first race, which began late-afternoon on Saturday and finished in twilight, Quinn and second-fastest qualifier Mercedes SLS driver Peter Hackett quickly passed pole sitter Greg Crick at the rolling start.

While Crick’s Dodge Viper succumbed to mechanical problems shortly afterwards, a titanic battle between Quinn and Hackett ensued.

The two German cars swapped places repeatedly around the 3.2km concrete-walled street circuit, which was dry at the beginning but became treacherously slippery after light rain began to fall at the midway point.

Quinn held a narrow lead when the pair entered the pitlane for their compulsory pit stops, but he emerged behind Hackett thanks to a 10-second longer wait mandated by his superior starting position.

The fight continued until Danish professional racer Allan Simonsen, driving the second half of the race in Peter Edwards’ new Ferrari 458 Italia, swept past second-placed Quinn in the closing stages.

But two laps later Simonsen tangled with Hackett in an unsuccessful challenge for the lead, putting the Mercedes out of the race and costing the Ferrari any chance of victory.

Quinn cruised by the two stricken cars, and completed the final laps without incident.

He crossed the finish line 3.5 seconds ahead of Jordan Ormsby in a Porsche GT3 Cup, with the recovering Simonsen third.

“That was amazing!” Quinn said afterwards. “There wasn’t much rain – just enough to make the track damp in places, mainly in the corners for some reason.

“It made my car understeer even more than it had been on the dry track. It was sliding all over the place, but so was Peter’s!

“It was like neither of us wanted to lead, because we both wanted to see what the car in front was doing at every turn.

“Then I came around a corner and saw the Mercedes and Ferrari both parked!

“My car couldn’t match either of them for speed, but I’ll take the win under the circumstances!”

RACE 2

Quinn had to bide his time early in Sunday’s 30-minute race, while Simonsen pulled out an early lead with a succession of record-breaking laps in the potent Ferrari.

The V.I.P. Petfoods driver also had to wait patiently in the pits while James Brock, driving the second Mercedes SLS, leapfrogged him courtesy of another 10-second starting position handicap.

In the second half of the race, Quinn relentlessly reeled in Brock and race leader Edwards, who had taken over from Simonsen during the Ferrari’s pit stop.

He grabbed the lead at the restart after a Safety Car period, then cleared out to win comfortably.

Brock and Edwards squabbled over second place, which was resolved in Brock’s favour when the two made contact in the closing laps.

Edwards rejoined midfield, so third place went to Warren Luff, driving reigning Australian GT Champion Mark Eddy’s Audi R8.

Afterwards, Quinn was pleasantly surprised to have repeated his 2011 Adelaide winning double.

“I really wasn’t expecting to win this weekend, because the Porsche is brand new and we haven’t had a chance to get it sorted properly yet,” he said.

“It wasn’t handling well in practice and qualifying, and it still wasn’t right on Saturday, but we made some changes before today’s race that made it a lot better.”

It wasn’t a happy GT championship beginning for V.I.P. Petfoods’ other contender, Tony Quinn.

His new Ferrari 458 Italia was a scratching after Thursday’s first practice session after it suffered structural damage during a recovery from a minor accident.

He’d spun gently into a concrete wall near the end of the session, but instead of pulling the $500,000 Italian supercar directly backwards out of its predicament, the crash crew tried to pull it around sideways from the front.

The excessive strain broke a number of chassis welds, putting the car out of the race meeting on the spot.

“That was the worst race car recovery I’ve ever seen,” an annoyed Quinn said afterwards.

“The guys were in a big hurry to move the car, but the session was over so there was no rush.

“I was in the car at the time, so I shouted at them to stop when they started pulling it around because I could hear some awful noises coming from the front, but they took no notice.

“One of them told me they did the best they could – I wouldn’t want them moving a 20 year-old Magna, let alone an expensive racing car.

“The Ferrari only had minor body damage that we at least could have fixed, even if it didn’t look brand new.

“Once the chassis broke, that was it for the weekend.

“It was a big disappointment, not only for me but for Ferrari fans who missed out on seeing a second 458 Italia at the meeting.”

Quinn said that the car would be going again by the second round of the GT Championship, at Phillip Island on May 25-27.