ASTC: Peter Brock makes breif comeback at Mallala

Touring car legend Peter Brock today made a brief comeback to help prepare his son's V8 Holden Commodore for Sunday's fifth round of the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship at Mallala near Adelaide. However, the nine-times Bathurst...

Touring car legend Peter Brock today made a brief comeback to help prepare his son's V8 Holden Commodore for Sunday's fifth round of the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship at Mallala near Adelaide.

However, the nine-times Bathurst 1000 champion said after driving six laps in the opening two practice sessions he had no intentions of making a return to competitive racing. Brock, who retired at the end of 1997, said his trip to Mallala was purely for testing and was aimed at improving the performance of the Biante Model Cars Commodore raced by his 24-year-old son James in the Future Tourers category of the championship.

Sydney's Jim Cornish emerged fastest in practice with the fastest lap time of 1-min13.64-secs around the 2.6km Mallala circuit in a Visit Your Vet Honda Accord. Cornish arrived at Mallala fresh from a trip to Great Britain to source new engine parts. The engine of his car had been damaged in the previous round at Wakefield Park near Goulburn on October 29. Peter Hills, also from Sydney, was second fastest in a Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo, followed by Newcastle's Luke Searle in a SAE College-Roadchill Express BMW 318i.

Championship leader Paul Morris did not practice today, but will be on the track for tomorrow's qualifying sessions to determine grid positions for the two 24-lap races. Canberra's Mark Zonneveld is making his championship comeback in the TC Motorsports Peugeot 406 usually raced by Sydney-based New Zealander Tony Newman, who is ill. Zonneveld was 10th in practice. Perth's John Saunders is making his championship debut in a BMW 318i sponsored by Kellahan Saunders Recruitment. The car was previously raced in the championship by Sydney's Justin Matthews.

PETER BROCK (Biante Model Cars Holden Commodore): "James (Brock) asked me to come to Mallala and do some chassis testing. I'm happy to help out, but this is a 'one-off' situation and not a comeback. My racing days are over. I felt the rear springs were too soft on James' car, and the steering was too heavy. There are areas the car can be improved and hopefully my input will help."

JAMES BROCK (Biante Model Cars Holden Commodore): “We've changed the springs and made some adjustments to the front and rear suspension and the rear of the car feels more stable through most corners. Unfortunately we've got a problem with the engine temperatures being too high. We've got to find a solution. It was good to get some fresh ideas from Dad – he's got so much experience so I'd be crazy not to get his opinion."

JIM CORNISH (Visit Your Vet Honda Accord): "The car has had good speed all season, but we've suffered from a lack of reliability. My lap times improved today after we increased the ride-height. Before that it was locking up under brakes and understeering into corners. It will be interesting to see how we compare with Paul (Morris) when he gets going tomorrow."

MARK ZONNEVELD (TC Motorsport Peugeot 406): "I'm filling in for Tony (Newman) this weekend. I only got the call on Tuesday and it feels strange being in a front-wheel-drive car again. I've been racing rear-drive cars this year and there is a big difference. The Peugeot has finished fourth in a race at each of the past two rounds, so I'm hoping for something like a top-six result."

JOHN SAUNDERS (Kellahan Saunders Recruitment BMW 318i): "I've raced the BMW in sports sedan events at home, but this is my first time at a championship round. It's also the first time I've raced at Mallala. The track looked straight-forward before I went out, but I found it a handful and a real eye-opener. The car is not one of the newest out there and it's underpowered, but it's reliable and I'm here to finish both races on Sunday." <pre> PRACTICE LAP TIMES (Friday): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Jim Cornish (NSW) Visit You Vet Honda Accord 1:13.64 2. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 1:14.23 3. Luke Searle (NSW) SAE College-Roadchill Express BMW 318i 1:14.35 4. Alan Gurr NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 1:14.69 5. David Auger (Qld) Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo 1:16.10 6. Ray Sidebottom (Vic) APS Racing Holden Commodore 1:16.44 7. Jason Domaschenz (Vic) APS Racing Holden Commodore 1:16.82 8. Kerry Wade (WA) Kerry Wade Racing Ford Falcon 1:16.85 9. Matthew Fox (A.C.T.) Hi-Tech Motorsport Nissan Primera 1:16.92 10. Mark Zonneveld (A.C.T.) TC Motorsport Peugeot 406 1:16.98 11. Tim Shaw (Tas) Shaw Motorsport Holden Commodore 1:17.12 12. James Brock (Vic) Biante Model Cars Holden Commodore 1:17.33 13. John Saunders (WA) Kellahan Saunders BMW 318i 1:20.09 14. Andrew Gillespie (Vic) Gillespie Motorsport Ford Falcon 1:20.56 15. Paul Leabeater (NSW) Red Line Motorsport Hyundai Lantra 1:24.88

Mike Porter - mikep@qldnet.com.au

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