CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE LOOMS AS WASHINGTON FLIES TO PHILLIP ISLAND POLE POSITION South Australian Bryce Washington has taken a storming pole position for tomorrow's penultimate round of the Speed Energy Drink Australian GT Championship and ...
CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE LOOMS AS WASHINGTON FLIES TO PHILLIP ISLAND POLE POSITION
South Australian Bryce Washington has taken a storming pole position for tomorrow's penultimate round of the Speed Energy Drink Australian GT Championship and Porsche Drivers' Challenge at a cool Phillip Island raceway in Victoria today.
The ADRAD Radiators Porsche 911 GT3 driver took just four laps to secure the top slot in today's sole 20 minute qualifying session, a best lap of 1m36.4407 over a full second quicker than he managed when the series conducted it's opening round of the year at the 4.6km Victorian Circuit in may this year.
Washington leads a competitive 21-car GT and Porsche Drivers Challenge field at Phillip Island, fronting this weekend for their penultimate round of a series' which has featured some of the most intensely competitive GT racing seen in Australia for some time.
"I'm actually quite surprised at the time I managed to do in the session," Washington said after scoring his second pole for the season, tying the ledger with rival Peter Hackett. "The lap is much faster than what we have been able to do around here before, so it's been a great day.
"Hopefully we can go out there tomorrow and get a good start, because I think that's where we are going to struggle the most against the more powerful cars around us." He said.
A strong second position today went to the returning D'arcy Russell, who took his monstering V10 Chrysler Viper to a brilliant 1m36.8537 -- just four-tenths behind pole sitter Washington.
This weekend marks the season debut for the Viper, forced to the sidelines before the opening round this year thanks to an untimely engine failure on the Dyno. Armed with a fresh engine and renewed confidence, Russell said that he was delighted with the day's work.
"I'm pleased, really pleased," he enthused. "That was an all out lap, I probably don't have much more in me without risking the car. It's going really well -- we've had to make some changes because we are running a different diameter front tyre on the car this weekend, and to be honest I didn't expect it to be this good.
"Its great to be back on track," he added. "There is a huge amount of enthusiasm around the series at the moment, and the racing has been fantastic to date, so I can't wait to be a part of it tomorrow."
A strong third -- and second in the Australian Porsche Drivers' Challenge stakes -- went to Mark Eddy (Quarterback Clothing Porsche 911 GT3RS), who bested his May Phillip Island effort by one position and continued a good run of qualifying performances seen so far in the series.
Current GT point's leader Peter Hackett struggled today, a 200-R.P.M-parity adjustment between rounds seemingly affecting the Lamborghini more than the team anticipated at the fast and flowing Island GP track, where horsepower is a key component to quick times.
Despite posting his worst qualifying effort of the season, the affable New South Welshman will be looking to consolidate his series lead with just two hitouts remaining this season.
John Kaias (ABCOR P/L Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) put in a season best effort to line up fifth for tomorrow's opening 8 lap encounter, whilst series' newcomer Sven Burchartz proved his Friday practice pace -- he topped the opening session -- was no fluke, lining up an excellent sixth.
"Its not often you can say you beat the Lamborghini in a session, even if it is practice," he grinned. "things are going really well and I'm really enjoying being here and in this series."
First of the Ferrari's was John Teulan (Industry Central Ferrari 360 Challenge) in 7th, whilst Ian Palmer (Rentco Honda NSX Brabham) struggled to an uncharacteristic 9th on the timesheets. Both expect to move up the order tomorrow, Palmer especially considering his strong top four-championship position after a round win in Queensland.
Class A points leader Simon Middleton topped his class' timesheets by just a hundredth of a second, besting Malcolm Lynn in a tightly fought effort, whilst Don Tryhorn topped the Class B runners.
Tomorrow's fifth and penultimate round of the championship is set to be conducted over three races tomorrow, an eight lapper kicking things off in the morning before two longer twelve lap encounters are set to conclude the round's action in style.