David Wall held on to win a thrilling Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia opening race at Mount Panorama, with plenty of close racing highlighting the category’s return to the fabled venue for the first time since 2019.

The shortened seven-lap encounter came down to the wire, with a hard charging Aaron Love pushing the limits in pursuit of the leader, cranking sideways at Sulman Park and brushing the wall on the final tour.

With damage to his right-rear corner, Love slipped off the road at The Chase within sight of the flag and ultimately had to settle for third position and the top Michelin Junior in the final rundown, finishing behind Cameron Hill.

Hill’s second-placed finishing position further extended his margin at the top of the Carrera Cup standings.

Wall’s victory continued his strong Bathurst form and was the twelfth of his storied career.

Love, meanwhile, was a racing highlights reel throughout the 7-lap sprint race before ultimately finishing third.

“It was a pretty good race for me up until the last lap obviously, I had a bit of a mistake over the top,” the West Australian said.

“I had a huge amount of confidence in the car and I was really happy with it and the pace was good. I managed to stick a couple moves on Harri and Cam going through the Chase, it was fairly entertaining for not only myself, but I’m sure the people watching from the outside.

“I was happy to pull those moves off nice a smoothly and button down and to try catch Dave. But I’ll learn off the mistake and how I approach those final few laps in future.”

Elsewhere in the Pro ranks, Cooper Murray finished fourth ahead of Harri Jones, with the McElrea Racing pair followed home by Craig Lowndes, Michael Almond, Simon Fallon and David Russell in tenth.

The action started early in the race, with Mathew Payne coming into contact with Russell at The Chase near the end of lap two, which sent the latter spinning.

Max Vidau’s debut for Tekworkx Motorsport started strongly, the young Adelaidean running fifth early in the race. However, after dropping spots earlier in the race, he then took a tour down the Murray’s Corner escape road to eventually be classified in 18th.

Elsewhere in the field, Dale Wood rebounded solidly from a tough qualifying session – charging his Timken car through from 26th on the grid to finish 14th in just seven laps of racing.

Meanwhile Morris Finance Pro-Am honours went the way of Sam Shahin, who edged out Tim Miles and Geoff Emery.

Shahin’s win was a big moment for The Bend Motorsport Park driver, who was injured in a crash at the Bathurst 12 Hour back in 2020.

After scoring pole position for both rounds this weekend, Shahin’s performance saw him gain valuable points in the Pro-Am title battle.

A lengthy delay prior to the race made things challenging for him prior to the race.

“With the previous categories accident which caused the delay, it was very, very hot in the car and I unwisely decided not to take a cool suit,” he said.

“So we sat in the cars for about half an hour and I was just sweating in the car, the tyres cooled down all that time and I just had to recalibrate. I got a good start and I just had to put my head down and trust the Michelin tyre.

“But all in all I couldn’t be happier and its surreal really to come back here after a nasty accident a couple years ago, which saw me end up with a nasty back and daily pain, so this means a lot. It was as much a mental drive as it was a physical drive. I’m very proud of this achievement and will tick a box and I will fondly reflect on this win in time to come, I think.”

The final race of round four is scheduled for 2:45pm tomorrow, with the race to be broadcast live on live and free on 7, plus Fox Sports and Kayo.

Earlier today, a truncated qualifying also set the field for the first race of round five of the season, with the second fastest lap time set by competitors forming the starting order.

That saw Harri Jones grab his second Tag Heuer Pole Award of the season, with David Wall backing up his race one pole-winning efforts in second and championship leader Cameron Hill starting third.

Sam Shahin grabbed the top spot in qualifying of the Morris Finance Pro-Am runners, putting his car eighth outright on the grid in the process.

That race, which kicks off Round 5 of the championship, is scheduled for 3pm Saturday afternoon at Mount Panorama.