AUS: Phillip Island final round preview

COULTHARD ODDS-ON TO SECURE MAIDEN TITLE AT PHILLIP ISLAND Like the V8 Supercar Championship Series, the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup Australia championship will be decided at the final round at Phillip Island next week, November 25 to...

COULTHARD ODDS-ON TO SECURE MAIDEN TITLE AT PHILLIP ISLAND

Like the V8 Supercar Championship Series, the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup Australia championship will be decided at the final round at Phillip Island next week, November 25 to 27.

The BigPond Grand Finale, Round 9 of the all-Porsche national championship, will see 23-year-old New Zealand tyro Fabian Coulthard arrive with a 162-point lead over inaugural 2003 series champion Jim Richards.

With 180 points up for grabs over three 12-lap races at Phillip Island, this means that Coulthard (Glenfords Tool Centres/Makita) only needs to secure a further 19 points to secure his maiden championship even if Richards (OAMPS Insurance Brokers) wins all three races.

Coulthard will be crowned champion if he finishes ninth or higher in any of the three races, or averages a 13th place finish over all three races.

To have any chance of claiming his second title, Richards must win at least one race and finish no lower than second in the other two races, but his fate will still lie with Coulthard's position.

Jonathon Webb is in a strong position to secure third overall in the championship, a result which would be the 21-year-old's highest in his third season in the category.

Although Webb (Tekno Autosports/Yachting Unlimited) is only four points ahead of rival Luke Youlden, the 27-year-old Team VIP Petfoods driver is contracted to drive in the New Zealand V8s Championship that weekend in Christchurch.

Peter Fitzgerald (Acer/Abcor), fifth, and David Reynolds (Bob Jane T-Marts), sixth, are still mathematical chances of finishing third if they can secure race wins at Phillip Island. However like Coulthard, Webb's ambition for a season podium rests in his own performance.

So after eight rounds and 22 official points-scoring races, the key statistics from the top 10 include:

Fabian Coulthard -- 6 Round Wins, 7 Round Podiums, 14 Race Wins, 3 Pole Positions, 3 Clean Sweeps

Jim Richards -- 1 Round Win, 6 Round Podiums, 5 Race Wins, 3 Pole Positions

Jonathon Webb -- 1 Round Win, 3 Round Podiums, 1 Race Win, 1 Pole Position

Luke Youlden -- 0 Round Wins (Highest Finish -- 2nd), 4 Round Podiums, 1 Race Win, 1 Pole Position

Peter Fitzgerald -- Highest Round Finish -- 4th, Highest Race Finish -- 3rd, Best Qual -- 5th

David Reynolds -- 2 Round Podiums, 1 Race Win, Best Qual -- 4th

Klark Quinn -- 1 Round Podium, Highest Race Place -- 2nd, Best Qual -- 4th

Cameron McLean -- Highest Round Finish -- 4th, Highest Race Finish -- 4th, Best Qual -- 4th

James Cressey -- Highest Round Finish -- 7th, Highest Race Finish -- 3rd, Best Qual -- 8th

Ian Dyk -- 1 Round Podium, Highest Race Finish -- 3rd, Best Qual -- 4th

This can be summarised into: three round winners (Coulthard, Richards, Webb), five race winners (Coulthard, Richards, Webb, Youlden, Reynolds) and four pole setters (Coulthard, Richards, Webb, Youlden).

In the other award categories, Melbourne-based publican Dean Grant has already secured the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge. Grant (Aqua Max Water Heaters), in his third season in the all-Porsche championship, has a large enough point's lead over closest rival Tony Quinn (Team VIP Petfoods) in the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge to take his second consecutive title. The TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge rewards the highest points scoring privateer driver who is 35 years of age or older and drives a 2003-spec Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.

In the Wright Patton Shakespeare Michelin Driver to Europe, Webb currently tops the standings on 1004 points from Youlden on 964 points and Reynolds on 822 points. This award category rewards the highest points scoring driver under 30 years of age who has not previously driven in a Porsche Supercup or International Carrera Cup round. The prize is a drive in a 2006 Porsche Michelin Supercup round. With Youlden to miss Phillip Island, Webb has secured his seat to a race in Europe in 2006.

In the Michelin Rookie of the Year, Youlden sits atop the standings on 1012 points from Reynolds on 891 points. The Michelin Rookie of the Year rewards the highest points scoring driver who has not competed in more than six rounds of a Porsche racing series prior to 2005. Reynolds, 20, is now favoured to win the award in Youlden's final round absence if he can keep his Porsche straight over the three races.

In the Fuchs Hard Charger stakes for the driver who has made up the most number of grid positions through the championship, Ash Samadi (Globe Racing) has built a handy 11-car buffer over Tony Quinn with Paul Freestone (Freestone's Transport) another five cars back in third. Quinn has been the victor of this award for the past two seasons.

The Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup awards will be presented at the 2005 Awards Party on Sunday November 27 starting at 6.30pm at The Continental Hotel, Cowes at Phillip Island.

The Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup is the primary support category to the V8 Supercar Championship Series, and is seen as a direct pathway for young drivers into the top tier Australian motor racing series.

All cars in the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup are developed and built by Porsche's racing arm in Weissach, Germany. With a top speed in excess of 300 kilometres per hour, the lightweight, high performance vehicles have a 400 horsepower, 6 cylinder Boxer engine which revs to 8000 RPM, producing a sound that is distinctly Porsche.

SCHEDULE -- WRIGHT PATTON SHAKESPEARE CARRERA CUP AT PHILLIP ISLAND

Practice -- 10.40am, Friday November 25
Qualifying -- 9.00am, Saturday November 26
Autograph Session -- 10.20am, Saturday November 26
Race 1 (12 laps) -- 12.30pm, Saturday November 26
Race 2 (12 laps) -- 2.50pm, Saturday November 26
Race 3 (12 laps) -- 10.40am, Sunday November 27

-cupcar.au-

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Jim Richards , Fabian Coulthard , Luke Youlden , Cameron McLean , Tony Quinn , Klark Quinn , Paul Freestone , Peter Fitzgerald , Ash Samadi , Jonathon Webb , Ian Dyk , David Reynolds , Phillip Island
Teams Tekno Autosports