VIPER TAKES BREAKTHROUGH WIN WHILST HACKETT AND WASHINGTON WAR WAGES AGAIN. Unfortunately there were some key omissions in the original distribution of this media release. Please find following an amended version - apologies for any...
VIPER TAKES BREAKTHROUGH WIN WHILST HACKETT AND WASHINGTON WAR WAGES AGAIN.
Unfortunately there were some key omissions in the original distribution of this media release. Please find following an amended version - apologies for any inconvenience caused.
DARCY Russell's breakthrough win, yet another ferocious battle between Peter Hackett and Bryce Washington and starring performances from a number of key contenders were just some of the highlights of today's fourth - and penultimate - round of the 2005 Speed Energy Drink Australian GT Championship and Porsche Drivers' Challenge at Phillip Island.
In the end though, the Team Lamborghini Australia Lamborghini Diablo of New South Welshman Hackett once again prevailed after a tough weekend of competition in blisteringly cold - but dry - conditions at the 4.6 km Victorian circuit, taking the final two races after once again going toe to toe with season long rival Bryce Washington.
In an almost instant replay of their now famous Eastern Creek battles of one month ago, Hackett and Washington staged yet another massive dogfight in the third and final race, the result decided at the second-last corner when the ADRAD Radiators Porsche 911 GT3 Cup attempted a last ditch lunge up the inside of the Lamborghini - only resulting in Washington clipping a kerb and spinning to the outfield.
It was a relived Hackett - having run this weekend with 200 less revs from the Lamborghini V12 thanks to recent parity adjustments - who accepted victory at the end of the day.
"This car has one big ass!" he joked after stepping out of the car. "Seriously though, this is an unexpected result because we didn't expect to be competitive here with the recent parity adjustments made to the car.
"Two wins were completely unexpected." He said. "I'm very happy with the result and hopefully we can get the car to Wakefield Park in November to wrap this thing (the championship) up."
Washington (ADRAD Radiators Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) continued his superb season form, a trio of second place finishes coming despite a drive through penalty in the second race after being judged to have jumped the start.
"I threw everything at the Lambo, but it's just so wide," the 21 year old South Australian mused. "We're leading the Porsche Driver's Challenge points well, though, and we're still in the hunt for the GT championship so it's not all bad."
The surprise result of the weekend came in this mornings opening eight lap race, returning Chrysler Viper pilot D'arcy Russell taking a storming win after executing a bold pass for the lead on Washington on the second lap. Russell became just the third different driver to take an outright win this season, adding Chrysler to the list of Lamborghini and Porches of 2005 race winners in the battle of the Marque's.
"Fantastic result, just brilliant," grinned Russell after taking his first ever race win in a National GT-style series. "The car was fantastic and very strong and we were able to get out in front and hold of the Porsche to take the race win.
"I'm pushing pretty hard this weekend, but it's great to get another car at the top of the standings and grab a win." He said.
Unfortunately for the Team Viper Racing operation, the remainder of the weekend was less than successful, a broken drive shaft before the start of the second race halting the charge, and a similar problem (this time with the opposite drive shaft) sidelined the car in the midst of a race three comeback.
Queenslander Ian Palmer (Rentco / Instant Foundations Brabham Honda NSX) continued his strong of strong overall finishes, 3rd overall in GT yet another strong result despite an hair-raising incident in the third race.
"I was getting bored, so I decided to spin on the opening lap in front of the entire field," Palmer joked. "It's a good result though, the car got better as the weekend continued and things are going really well. It's been a great weekend and I'm looking forward to the next one."
In the battle of the classes', Simon Middleton (Bramar Air Conditioning Porsche 911 GT3) had a successful weekend in Class A, topping the standings in the opening race and showing impressive consistency in the second and third events to take the class glory.
Middleton's strong result etched out his lead in the class' standings after a season filled with strong results to date.
"I've had a really good weekend, the boys from (car preparers) Fitzgerald Racing Services have done a great job and the car has been faultless." He said.
The standout performance in Class A, though, came from series debutant Sven Burchartz (Bolle / Cargraphic Porsche 911 GT3), who put in a brilliant weekend performance after missing the opening race thanks to an untimely alternator failure on his GT3.
After cannibalising his road going Porsche for replacement parts and storming through the field to 5th outright in race two, fourth overall in the finale' was an even better display from the driver - who's results sent a warning to the other Class A contenders to watch their backs' in upcoming rounds.
"I love this series," Grinned the Melbournian based Lawyer. "What a fantastic weekend. The car was sensational, despite my tyres going off in a big way during the final race when I was having a great battle with Neil Bryson in the Ferrari. Can't wait for the next event!"
Don Tryhorn continued his winning ways in Class B, taking his distinctive green Porsche 964 RS to strong performances in all three races.
The series' finale of the Speed Energy Drink Australian GT Championship will be conducted at Wakefield Park in November, giving teams and driver's plenty of time to relax and prepare for what is set to be an exciting season showdown.