ASTC: Newman to test Peugeot at Wakefield Park

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25: New Zealander Tony Newman will test drive his Peugeot 406 at Wakefield Park later this week to prepare for the Goulburn circuit's debut in the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship on October 29. Newman's test ...

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25: New Zealander Tony Newman will test drive his Peugeot 406 at Wakefield Park later this week to prepare for the Goulburn circuit's debut in the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship on October 29.

Newman's test session this Friday will be the first appearance by a Super Touring car at Wakefield Park since the September 12 announcement by championship organisers TOCA Australia that the 2.2km circuit would host the fourth round of the series.

"Wakefield Park is a new track for all the (Super Touring) drivers so I'm keen to do some laps and work on improving our car set-up," said Newman. "Hopefully the test will put us in a good position to get the best possible results on race day."

For Newman, the Wakefield Park round will be his comeback to the championship after missing the previous round at Oran Park in Sydney on July 9 because of illness. He lost 15kg after suffering a bout of pneumonia and spent a short period in hospital.

The 43-year-old Sydney-based businessman was also forced to withdraw from the opening two championship rounds at Oran Park on May 28 and at Lakeside in Queensland on June 18 because of mechanical problems with his front-drive ex-British Touring Car Championship machine.

"I haven't done much driving this year for one reason or another so the test at Wakefield Park is going to give me a chance to get back in the groove," he said. "Physically I'm fine now - at first they didn't know what was wrong with me, but then I had some tests and the treatment went well."

Meanwhile, NSW driver Jim Cornish said he had spent $16,000 replacing damaged engine parts in his Visit Your Vet Honda Accord in preparation for the Wakefield Park round. The 29-year-old veterinarian said the damage had been caused when an exhaust valve split in the first race of the previous round at Oran Park.

"We've replaced the cylinders and upgraded other parts so we should have more horsepower," he said. "Up to now I've had about the same straight-line speed as the Ford Mondeos, but hopefully I'll now have the 'legs' on them."

TOCA Australia Chief Executive Kelvin O'Reilly said he had been delighted by the enthusiastic response to the championship's debut at Wakefield Park by the circuit owners, representatives of the Goulburn City Council, and the local business community and public.

"The interest in Goulburn and the surrounding areas is exceptionally high, and everyone seems to recognise this is an exciting opportunity to be involved in sport at a national championship level," said O'Reilly. "We have marketing initiatives being put in place, and a number of businesses are showing strong corporate support."

Garry Holt, Managing Director of the consortium which purchased Wakefield Park this year, said work was continuing this week on the upgrading of the circuit's facilities.

"We've finished the pit lane entry, and the concrete slab for the work bay area will be going down this week," said Holt.

Queensland's Paul Morris will take a 50-point championship lead into the Wakefield Park round in his Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i, ahead of Sydney teenager Allan Gurr in a Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo.

The Wakefield Park round will comprise two races for the Super Touring cars. Support categories on the program will include V8 Future Tourers, Commodore Cup, and the Logical Mirage one-make series. Practice will begin on October 27, with qualifying the following day.

Mike Porter mikep@qldnet.com.au

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Series General
Drivers Paul Morris , Garry Holt