ASTC: Morris wins pole at Wakefield

Queenslander Paul Morris today continued his domination of qualifying in this year's BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship when he won pole position for both races in tomorrow's fourth round at Wakefield Park in Goulburn. The...

Queenslander Paul Morris today continued his domination of qualifying in this year's BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship when he won pole position for both races in tomorrow's fourth round at Wakefield Park in Goulburn.

The performance of the 33-year-old Gold Coast driver meant he has won six successive pole positions in this year's championship in his rear-drive Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i. Morris won pole position for the first of tomorrow's two 28-lap races when he emerged fastest in the opening qualifying session with the best lap of 1-min 2.57-secs around the 2.2km circuit. He later earned the right to start race two from the front of the grid with the quickest lap of 1-min 2.36-secs in the second qualifying session.

Morris earned two bonus championship points for his pole positions and now leads the series by 52 points ahead of Sydney teenager Allan Gurr. Gurr qualified second for the opening race and third for the second race. Sydney policeman John Henderson originally had the second fastest time in the opening qualifying session, but was disqualified because his Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra failed the mandatory ride-height test. He will start race one from the rear of the grid. Henderson later qualified second for the second race.

Canberra's Sam Dale continued his impressive championship debut by qualifying seventh for the opening race and ninth for race two in a Mumbo Racing Ford Mondeo. Dale, 24, is a Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Navy and graduated from the Defence Academy in Canberra with a Bachelor of Arts. Sydney drivers Jim Cornish (Visit Your Vet Honda Accord) and Paul Leabeater (Redline Motorsport) were forced to withdraw from the round because of engine problems. Wakefield Park is hosting a round of the championship for the first time.

PAUL MORRIS (Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i): "After missing practice yesterday I wasn't so confident about qualifying. However, the BMW was quick straight away. We didn't have to make many changes to the set-up to do quick lap times. This is my first time here (Wakefield Park). It's got some challenging uphill and downhill sections and there are plenty of places to pass."

JOHN HENDERSON (Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra): "We should be on the front row in both races, but unfortunately we came in under the ride-height limit in the first qualifying. It's going to be tough coming off the back of the grid in the first race, but I think we can take it up to the BMW in the second race."

SAM DALE (Mumbo Racing Ford Mondeo): "I'm on a steep learning curve because until yesterday I'd never raced a front-wheel-drive car or been in anything with a sequential gearbox. The Mondeo has exceeded my expectations with its speed, grip, and power. Hopefully I can finish both races tomorrow and get some more experience."

JIM CORNISH (Visit Your Vet Honda Accord): "I saw smoke on the second lap of practice and switched the car off. It was towed to the pits and there were bits of metal everywhere. We've just spent $20,000 rebuilding the engine with new internals. It's very disappointing because I'm certain we would have been competitive here."

<pre> QUALIFYING - SESSION 1 LAP TIMES (starting positions Race 1): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i 1:02.57 2. Alan Gurr (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 1:03.21 3. Jamie Miller (NSW) Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry 1:03.37 4. Tony Newman (NZ) TC Motorsport Peugeot 406 1:03.43 5. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 1:03.70 6. David Auger (Qld) Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo 1:04.56 7. Sam Dale (A.C.T.) Mumbo Racing Ford Mondeo 1:04.92 8. Paul Leabeater (NSW) Redline Motorsport Hyundai Lantra 1:06.38 9. Matthew Fox (A.C.T.) Sydney Cranes & Transport Nissan Primera 1:14.71 10. Aaron McGill (NSW) Trinovin Nissan Primera 1:40.69

QUALIFYING - SESSION 2 LAP TIMES (starting positions Race 2): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i 1:02.36 2. John Henderson (NSW) Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra 1:02.71 3. Alan Gurr (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 1:03.30 4. Tony Newman (NZ) TC Motorsport Peugeot 406 1:03.75 5. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 1:03.97 6. Jamie Miller (NSW) Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry 1:04.09 7. Aaron McGill (NSW) Trinovin Nissan Primera 1:04.51 8. David Auger (Qld) Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo 1:04.56 9. Sam Dale (A.C.T.) Mumbo Racing Ford Mondeo 1:05.71 10. Matthew Fox (A.C.T.) Sydney Cranes & Transport Nissan Primera 1:46.68

Mike Porter

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