Strong performances in the opening two 40-minute races were capped off with an impressive victory in the final race of the weekend, as Emery absorbed intense pressure applied by the hard-charging Fraser Ross in a McLaren 650S GT3.
Emery ran second in the opening stanza of the race, though remained in touch with Ross who pushed hard out front to open a lead ahead of the pit stop window.
Though his efforts fell short, Ross chased down Emery to set up a brilliant lead battle that lasted the final quarter of the race.
The Audi driver however was impervious to Ross’ attempts, winning his first race of the 2018 season by just three tenths of a second.
In third place was Liam Talbot, whose measured performance saw the Porsche moved to the head of the championship fight.
Third for the round was Peter Hackett, whose victory on Saturday saw him become the most winning driver in Australian GT history.
The Eggleston Motorsport driver now boasts 18 career victories, taking him one clear of David Wall and the late Allan Simonsen on the all-time winners’ list.
Earlier, Tony Bates brilliantly won Sunday’s first race, commanding the latter stages after climbing up the order courtesy of slick strategy work by the Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia crew.
Bates ran second behind Dean Koutnsoumidis, before charging into the lead at the exit of Turn 1 after the pair rejoined following their stops.
Once ahead, Bates built up a commanding lead, before managing the gap to Ross and Talbot.
Talbot’s fine performance across the weekend recorded two thirds and a fourth, and now holds a 61-point advantage over Ross heading to Round 4 at Phillip Island.
A break-though performance from Rio Nugara saw the Audi driver record his first Australian GT Trophy Series win, topping the class in Race 3 with a magnificent performance.
Nugara was involved in a nail-biting battle with the three Mercedes-AMG GT3s of Mark Griffith, Scott Taylor (Scott Taylor Motorsport), and Peter Hackett (Eggleston Motorsport).
He ended the race in eighth overall, and the round third in class behind Nick Kelly and Matt Stoupas.
Heading the GT4 field was the near-perfect Jeremy Gray, who claimed three wins from as many starts aboard the Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
A stunning return to Australian GT competition saw Victor Zagame take out second for the weekend aboard the Audi R8 LMS GT4.
After some eight years out of the category, Zagame banked two podiums across the weekend to take second in class.
Rounding out the class podium was the Ginetta G55 GT4 duo of Coleby Cowham and Mark Caine, who charged to third on debut in the category.
Australian GT next heads to Phillip Island for Round 4 of the CAMS Australian GT Championship, an event which doubles as Round 2 of the 2018 CAMS Australian Endurance Championship, on Jun 1-3.
It promises to be a bumper weekend of GT action, with the CAMS Australian GT Trophy Series also set to compete in a standalone evet at the picturesque Victorian circuit on the same weekend.
Geoff Emery: “It was awesome. Obviously we came back out in P1 but Fraser was chasing us down. He was doing an awesome job behind me and his tyres sort of hit a bit of a brick wall and we ended up stuck racing each other. He put me under a lot of pressure which was great, I had an absolute ball.”
Fraser Ross: “I did everything we could at the start to gap the guys. We had a bit of a CPS penalty over the rest of the guys so i did everything I could to gap them. The car was mega. The McElrea guys did an unbelievable job tuning it up. Hit a bit of a wall when I came back out and tried to do the same times, but Geoff did an amazing job and credit to him and the MPC boys. We’re happy with three podiums, it’s definitely good momentum to continue into Phillip Island and I’m looking forward to the championship fight.”
Peter Hackett: “For me it was mixed fortunes. We won one race and we’re sixth and now we’re third. Sandown is not going to be our strongest track in the Mercedes-AMG GT3, but our Corplex Mercedes Trade Club car and the guys at Eggleston Motorsport did a great job and we scored lots of points. We’ve done quite well at Phillip Island for the last few years and we’ll look to continue that form.”
2018 CAMS Australian GT Championship
1. Liam Talbot, 563pts
2. Fraser Ross, 502
3. Peter Hackett, 491
4. Geoff Emery, 442
5. Jaie Robson, 408
2018 CAMS Australian GT Championship GT4 Class
1. Nick Kelly, 416pts
2. Matt Stoupas, 341
3. John Morriss, 326
4. Rio Nugara, 304
5. Joseph Ensabella, 161
2018 CAMS Australian GT Trophy Series
1. Jeremy Gray, 689pts
2. Justin McMillan, 476
3. Glen Wood, 320
4. Andrew Miedecke, 279
5. David Crampton, 258
Results: Race 3, Round 3, CAMS Australian GT Championship, Sandown
P Competitor/Team Driver Vehicle Laps Time Class
1 Valvoline Geoff Emery Audi R8 LMS 33 40:31.428 CH
2 Total Oil / Opti-Coat / Logitech Fraser Ross McLaren 650S GT3 33 40:31.723 CH
3 Walkinshaw GT3 Liam Talbot Porsche 911 GT3-R 33 40:40.996 CH
4 Eggleston Motorsport Peter Hackett Mercedes-AMG GT3 33 40:47.324 CH
5 Hogs Breath Café / Griffith Corporation Mark Griffith Mercedes-AMG GT3 33 40:53.395 CH
6 Aussie Driver Search Jaie Robson Audi R8 LMS 33 40:55.178 CH
7 Scott Taylor Motorsport Scott Taylor Mercedes-AMG GT3 33 40:57.546 CH
8 E.A.T. Furniture Rio Nugara Audi R8 LMS Ultra 33 40:57.962 TR
9 Hallmarc Constructions Marc Cini Audi R8 LMS 33 41:06.421 CH
10 Superfluid Dave Stevens Ferrari 458 GT3 33 41:20.810 TR
11 Kentucky Fried Chicken Matthew Stoupas Audi R8 LMS Ultra 33 41:26.253 TR
12 Mariani Beef Jerky Tony Quinn McLaren 650S GT3 33 41:35.920 CH
13 BMW Team SRM Steve Richards/Ricky Capo BMW M6 GT3 33 41:41.505 CH
14 Industrie Nick Kelly Audi R8 LMS Ultra 32 40:41.707 TR
15 Haemokinesis / Trofeo Estate / FreeM Jim Manolios Lamborghini Huracan GT3 32 40:49.540 CH
16 KFC/Ctech Laser/Moveitnet/B&B Tony Bates Audi R8 LMS 32 41:19.756 CH
17 Motorsport Leasing / RaceRamps John Morriss Porsche 911 GT3-R 32 41:39.149 TR
18 Seidler Group Chris Seidler/Luke Seidler Porsche GT3 Cup Car 31 41:24.662 TR
19 Aaron Laboratories Joseph Ensabella Porsche GT3 Cup Car 31 41:33.392 TR
20 JMG / Bilstein Jeremy Gray Ason Martin Vantage GT4 31 41:47.692 GT4
21 Hogs Breath Café / Griffith Corporation Coleby Cowham/Mark Caine Ginetta G55 GT4 30 41:41.281 GT4
22 MPD Steak Kitchen Victor Zagame Audi R8 LMS GT4 29 40:57.474 GT4
DNF JJA Consulting Group Jan Jinadasa Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 18 23:47.058 TR
DNF Exedra / M Motorpsort Dean Koutsoumidis/Glen Wood Lamborghini R-EX 16 41:11.909 CH
DNF Forum Group / M Motorsport Vince Tresoriero KTM X-Bow GT4 GT4
Results: Race 2, Round 3, CAMS Australian GT Championship, Sandown
P Competitor/Team Driver Vehicle Laps Time Class
1 KFC/Ctech Laser/Moveitnet/B&B Tony Bates Audi R8 LMS 31 40:28.521 CH
2 Total Oil / Opti-Coat / Logitech Fraser Ross McLaren 650S GT3 31 40:34.021 CH
3 Walkinshaw GT3 Liam Talbot Porsche 911 GT3-R 31 40:34.327 CH
4 Valvoline Geoff Emery Audi R8 LMS 31 40:35.771 CH
5 Aussie Driver Search Jaie Robson Audi R8 LMS 31 40:41.700 CH
6 Eggleston Motorsport Peter Hackett Mercedes-AMG GT3 31 40:44.721 CH
7 Hogs Breath Café / Griffith Corporation Mark Griffith Mercedes-AMG GT3 31 40:46.786 CH
8 Industrie Nick Kelly Audi R8 LMS Ultra 31 40:51.388 TR
9 Kentucky Fried Chicken Matthew Stoupas Audi R8 LMS Ultra 31 41:01.071 TR
10 Scott Taylor Motorsport Scott Taylor Mercedes-AMG GT3 31 41:04.732 CH
11 Motorsport Leasing / RaceRamps John Morriss Porsche 911 GT3-R 31 41:17.099 TR
12 Hallmarc Constructions Marc Cini Audi R8 LMS 31 41:17.569 CH
13 Exedra / M Motorpsort Dean Koutsoumidis/Glen Wood Lamborghini R-EX 31 41:34.111 CH
14 Mariani Beef Jerky Tony Quinn McLaren 650S GT3 31 41:38.528 CH
15 Haemokinesis / Trofeo Estate / FreeM Jim Manolios Lamborghini Huracan GT3 30 40:35.586 CH
16 Superfluid Dave Stevens Ferrari 458 GT3 30 40:39.343 TR
17 BMW Team SRM Steve Richards/Ricky Capo BMW M6 GT3 30 41:04.783 CH
18 E.A.T. Furniture Rio Nugara Audi R8 LMS Ultra 30 41:05.378 TR
19 Aaron Laboratories Joseph Ensabella Porsche GT3 Cup Car 29 41:03.773 TR
20 JMG / Bilstein Jeremy Gray Ason Martin Vantage GT4 29 41:30.542 GT4
21 Seidler Group Chris Seidler/Luke Seidler Porsche GT3 Cup Car 29 41:38.374 TR
22 Hogs Breath Café / Griffith Corporation Coleby Cowham/Mark Caine Ginetta G55 GT4 28 41:26.615 GT4
23 MPD Steak Kitchen Victor Zagame Audi R8 LMS GT4 27 40:46.447 GT4
24 Forum Group / M Motorsport Vince Tresoriero KTM X-Bow GT4 27 41:24.432 GT4
DNF JJA Consulting Group Jan Jinadasa Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 23 31:41.516 TR
DNF Dale Paterson Motorsports Dale Paterson Chevrolet Camaro GT3 9 13:31.524 TR
2018 Australian GT Championship calendar
March 22-25: Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix (Sprint)
April 14-15: The Bend Motorsport Park (Endurance)
May 12-13: Sandown Park (Sprint)
June 1-2: Phillip Island (Endurance)
August 4: Sydney Motorsport Park (Sprint)
October 13-14: Hampton Downs (Endurance)
Source. Australian GT