ASTC: Morris wins pole at Walkfield Park

Queenslander Paul Morris today dominated qualifying in sweltering conditions at Wakefield Park Raceway near Goulburn and will start from pole position in both races in Sunday's seventh round of the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring ...

Queenslander Paul Morris today dominated qualifying in sweltering conditions at Wakefield Park Raceway near Goulburn and will start from pole position in both races in Sunday's seventh round of the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship.

Morris, who clinched the Super Touring title for the fourth time in the previous round at Symmons Plains in Tasmania on December 10, won the front grid position for the first of the two 28-lap races when he emerged fastest in the opening qualifying session. The 33-year-old clocked the quickest lap time of 1-min 2.76-secs around the 2.2km circuit in his Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i.

Later Morris won pole position for race two when he recorded the best lap of 1-min 2.53-secs in the second qualifying session. He has now won 13 successive pole positions in the championship.

Sydney policeman John Henderson was second fastest in both qualifying sessions in a Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra. Newcastle's Luke Searle marked his first qualifying appearance since his championship debut in 1999 by finishing third in each session in a Roadchill Express-SAE College BMW 320i. Searle, a Seventh Day Adventist, usually misses Saturday qualifying because of religious beliefs and starts from the rear of the grid. However, he was able to qualify at Wakefield Park because the sessions were moved forward 24 hours. Searle was the leading Independents Cup class qualifier.

Another Newcastle driver, Kiel Johnston, made an impressive championship debut by qualifying seventh for race one and fifth for the second race in a 1993-specification Hi-Tech Motorsport Nissan Primera. Tasmania's Tim Shaw earned a bonus point in the V8 Future Tourers championship by finishing with the fastest lap time in his class. Shaw now needs 25 points to clinch the class title.

Victorians James Brock (Biante Holden Commodore) and Jason Domaschenz (APS Racing Holden Commodore), and South Australian Mark Papendell (Pretty Motorsport Holden Commodore) had their qualifying times from the first session disallowed because they left pit-lane without the permission of Series Technical Commissioner Frank Lowndes. Sydney's Jim Cornish finished the session 13th after his Visit Your Vet Honda Accord became stranded on the circuit without fuel. NSW's Jamie Miller missed the session because of gearbox problems with his updated Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry from the United States. In the second session Peter Hills qualified 19th after a wheel collapsed on his Signature Security System Ford Mondeo, while Queensland David Auger was forced off the track by a broken front strut on his Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo.

PAUL MORRIS (Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i): "I'm pleased because it's much hotter than we were here the last time (October, 2000) and my lap times are about the same. I didn't want to do a lot of laps in qualifying because I want to keep the tyres in the best possible condition for the races. Tyre durability is going to be crucial because of the heat and everyone is going to have to compromise speed with looking after their tyres to make sure they last the distance."

LUKE SEARLE (Roadchill Express-SAE College BMW 320i): "This is the first time I've been able to qualify and it's great to be starting on the second row. Now I've got to get the car off the line at the start and make a clean run through the first corner. I've never been on the podium before, and this weekend is my best chance. The car felt more stable than in practice yesterday. We've had extra track time with qualifying and it's given us more time to work on the car set-up."

KYLE JOHNSTON (Hi-Tech Motorsport Nissan Primera): "Most of my recent racing has been in the Daewoo one-make series, so it's a big step up going to Super Touring. The late braking on these cars is the first thing you notice. It takes a while before you realise how late you can brake into the corners. I'm learning my way and hopefully I can finish both races here."

TIM SHAW (ISASO-Carplan Holden Commodore): "So far so good. The extra point for qualifying fastest (in the V8 Future Tourers class) is a bonus. I'd like to win my class in the races, but I've got the championship to think about so I won't be doing anything stupid." <pre> QUALIFYING - SESSION 1 LAP TIMES (starting positions Race 1): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i 1:02.76 2. John Henderson (NSW) Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra 1:03.44 3. Luke Searle (NSW) Roadchill Express-SAE College BMW 320i 1:04.01 4. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 1:04.08 5. Owen Kelly (Tas) Thermo King BMW 320i 1:04.58 6. David Auger (Qld) Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo 1:04.58 7. Kiel Johnston (NSW) Hi-Tech Motorsport Nissan Primera 1:04.98 8. Mark Zonneveld (A.C.T.) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 1:05.96 9. Kerry Wade (WA) Kerry Wade Racing Ford Falcon 1:06.05 10. Tim Shaw (Tas) ISASO-Carplan Holden Commodore 1:06.13 11. Sam Dale (NSW) Mumbo Racing Ford Mondeo 1:06.19 12. Ray Sidebottom (Vic) APS Racing Holden Commodore 1:06.41 13. Jim Cornish (NSW) Visit Your Vet Honda Accord 1:06.81 14. Paul Leabeater (NSW) Redline Motorsport Hyundai Lantra 1:08.66 15. Mick Webb (Vic) SVO Ford Falcon 1:09.39 16. Aaron McGill (NSW) Trinovin Nissan Primera 1:12.00 DSQ James Brock (Vic) Biante Model Cars Holden Commodore No time DSQ Mark Papendell (SA) Pretty Motorsport Holden Commodore No time DSQ Jason Domaschenz (Vic) APS Racing Holden Commodore No time

QUALIFYING - SESSION 2 LAP TIMES (starting positions Race 2): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i 1:02.53 2. John Henderson (NSW) Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra 1:02.86 3. Luke Searle (NSW) Roadchill Express-SAE College BMW 320i 1:03.54 4. Jim Cornish (NSW) Visit Your Vet Honda Accord 1:03.75 5. Kiel Johnston (NSW) Hi-Tech Motorsport Nissan Primera 1:03.82 6. Owen Kelly (Tas) Thermo King BMW 320i 1:03.84 7. Jamie Miller (NSW) Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry 1:04.63 8. Tim Shaw (Tas) ISASO-Carplan Holden Commodore 1:04.65 9. Jason Domaschenz (Vic) APS Racing Holden Commodore 1:05.12 10. Mark Zonneveld (A.C.T.) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 1:05.24 11. David Auger (Qld) Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo 1:05.34 12. Ray Sidebottom (Vic) APS Racing Holden Commodore 1:05.35 13. Kerry Wade (WA) Kerry Wade Racing Ford Falcon 1:05.48 14. James Brock (Vic) Biante Model Cars Holden Commodore 1:05.50 15. Sam Dale (NSW) Mumbo Racing Ford Mondeo 1:05.84 16. Mick Webb (Vic) SVO Ford Falcon 1:09.49 17. Mark Papendell (SA) Pretty Motorsport Holden Commodore 1:09.82 18. Paul Leabeater (NSW) Redline Motorsport Hyundai Lantra 1:11.73 19. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 1:32.87

-Mike Porter

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Series General
Drivers Paul Morris , Owen Kelly , Luke Searle , Aaron McGill , David Auger , James Brock , Peter Hill , Mark Papendell , Kerry Wade