RAIN CUTS SHORT PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE OPENER ON THE MOUNTAIN A TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR has cut the first round of the 2010 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series presented by Mission Foods to a one-race affair after Mount Panorama was...
RAIN CUTS SHORT PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE OPENER ON THE MOUNTAIN
A TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR has cut the first round of the 2010 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series presented by Mission Foods to a one-race affair after Mount Panorama was flooded in a massive afternoon downpour.
Rodney Forbes won the first race, however a series of incidents restricted competitors to just two green-flag laps on a wet circuit, with finishers only awarded half points for their efforts.
Rain prior to race one ensured the field would start behind the safety car and on the first racing lap contact between Matthew Kingsley and Sven Burchartz left both cars out of the race, and brought the safety car back out once again.
With Kingsley looking to the inside of Burchartz at turn one, the pair made contact that caused the reigning series winner's car to be turned hard into the Armco barrier. Burchartz' car was only superficially damaged, though he too was stranded on the circuit.
Kingsley was later given a suspended sentence by race stewards for the driving infringement for his part in the collision.
The weather conditions caught several out and as a result the race was finished after seven of the ten scheduled laps - down from the 12 planned - due to the weather conditions.
Forbes won the race from pole with Victorian Kane Rose finishing second and Shane Smollen in third.
Race two was never going to happen after approximately 80mm of rain was dumped on the mountain - in less than fifteen minutes - within half an hour of the scheduled race start.
With rivers running across the circuit in multiple places and areas of Conrod straight partially submerged, event organisers were forced to abandon the race.
"It was a difficult decision to abandon race two but there isn't much we can do to control the weather," Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia Series category administrator Jodi Zylstra said.
"The risk to competitors and their vehicles was judged as too high as there was just too much water on the circuit. When coupled with the time constraints in place we had no option but to abandon the race due to force majeur'."
As a result, Rodney Forbes was a surprise round winner and jumped into the series lead after the first of six events.
In the 997 class Forbes headed Shane Smollen and Neil Muston, whilst Kane Rose finished ahead of Terry Knight and Paul Bolinowsky in the 996 battle.
Paul Faulkner won the 944 challenge round, finishing ahead of Chris Lewis-Williams and John Goddard. Ray Angus won the Xtreme Industries best presented ‘Car & Crew' award for the improved presentation of his new Type-997 GT3 Cup Car.
Round two of the 2010 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia Series presented by Mission Foods will be held at Launceston's Symmons Plains Raceway between April 9 - 11.
-source: gt3 cup challenge