GT3 CUP CHALLENGE READIES FOR POINTS-CRITICAL EASTERN CREEK ROUND
THE PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE Australia Series will make its racing debut at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway next week (July 17 - 19) with the points battle finely balanced at the front of the field.
A competitive 19-car Porsche Pack will head to the Western-Sydney circuit as Queenslander Matt Kingsley looks to firmly entrench himself at the top of the standings with another dominating performance.
Kinglsey, driving his distinctive blue, orange and black Action Tyres and More 996 GT3 Cup Car, dominated the most recent round at Mallala in South Australia and holds a 40-point lead over closest rival Sven Burchartz - a lead that could become almost insurmountable with another dominating performance in Sydney next week.
However, whilst Kingsley's performance at the front of the field this year has been exceptional, it hasn't stopped a group of keen protagonists lining up to try and beat the quietly spoken, laid back Gold Coaster.
In the outright stakes Burchartz has prior successful experience at the high-speed 3.9km track, whilst Terry Knight (McDonald's / Porsche Centre Gold Coast), Jeff Bobik (Creative Colour) and Sydney driver Paul Bolinowsky (Bolin Racing) are all showing plenty of form.
Bolinowsky, from Linley Point in Sydney, is coming off the back of his first ever career GT3 Cup Challenge round podium at Mallala that lifted him to fourth in the championship standings.
WTF Motorsport driver Jon Trende could be another Eastern Creek dark horse after having surprised everyone by qualifying third at Mallala, though the Victorian's race weekend didn't quite go to plan after that.
Meanwhile the always-rapid Brad Rankin will return after a round on the sidelines behind the wheel of his regular, bright-green, Mdev Property Group 996 GT3 Cup Car.
A group of local drivers will also look to use home-town advantage to their benefit and upset the GT3 Cup applecart.
Travelplan-supported 996 GT3 Cup driver Anthony Skinner will return to the series for the first time since 2008, whilst series' newcomers Shane Smollen, Indiran Padayachee and Bruce Hibbard will all make their respective GT3 Cup Challenge debuts.
Smollen, who hails from Lindfield, could be one to watch in his McGrath Lindfield 996 GT3 Cup Car after a strong ‘practice' hit out last weekend during the NSW state series event, where he set times that should place him towards the front of the GT3 Cup Challenge pack.
Also making his series debut will be Bob Thorn, the well known former boss of SuperCheap Auto and a noted racer in V8 Supercars, amongst other categories, who will drive a 997 GT3 Cup Car.
Six cars make up the increasingly competitive 997 Trophy Class, which should have its most competitive round yet at Eastern Creek as its entrants look to mix it up with the outright series contenders - as well as vying for class points at the same time
Mark Krashos will make the 14-hour road trip from his Adelaide home fresh from scoring an outright pole position and race win at Mallala recently, his battles with Kingsley at the front of the field a highlight of the South Australian event.
Shaun Juniper - a winner at Phillip Island in May - will return to the series looking to pick up where he left off in Victoria.
Krashos and Juniper will be aiming to hunt down 997 Trophy points leader Roger Lago, whose Falcon Property Group 997 GT3 Cup Car has been the epitome of consistency this year and a standout performer as a newcomer to the ranks of Porsche racing.
Industrie-backed Victorian Steve Kepper returns to the track after showing plenty of pace at Phillip Island whilst fellow Victorian, rookie Jan Jinadasa, will continue his learning curve after a top-ten qualifying effort at Mallala.
Supported as always by McDonald's, Michelin Tyres, Racer Industries, SMS Commander round four of the 2009 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series will feature three, 10-lap races as part of the Shannons Nationals' round at Eastern Creek Raceway.