Thursday, 28 Feb. 2002
Race 1 - Cleanevent Nations Cup
Albert Park, Melbourne - Australian GP
Stokell Holds Out F1 Tyro In Nations Cup Opener
LAMBORGHINI driver Paul Stokell held off young Formula One hopeful Ryan Briscoe to win the first Cleanevent Nations Cup race of the Fosters Australian Grand Prix weekend in Melbourne today.
Briscoe, the 20-year-old Sydneysider who will be Toyota's F1 test driver this season, gave his $750,000 Ferrari 360 Michelotto its first Australian outing but was unable to put any serious pressure on Stokell and the six-litre Lamborghini.
Defending Nations Cup champion Jim Richards finished third in a new Porsche GT3 Cup coupe.
Stokell, duplicating his performance at last year's GP, took the rolling start from pole position and led through the eight-lap sprint.
"That's a good way to start the season. It means I can start from pole again in tomorrow's race and hopefully keep up the momentum throughout the weekend," he said.
"It was even more encouraging because the Porsche and Ferrari are new this season and I wasn't sure if we could beat them."
Briscoe, a former world karting star, said he was pleased with second place in his first-ever race in a closed car, although he smacked the Ferrari's tail on a safety barrier during practice earlier.
"Once I settled in, I just drove consistently and tried to learn the car and the track. I should be able to push harder tomorrow," he said.
RESULTS, Race 1 (8 laps):
1. Paul Stokell (Lamborghini Diablo GTR)
2. Ryan Briscoe (Ferrari 360 Michelotto)
3. Jim Richards (Porsche GT3 Cup)
4. Geoff Morgan (Chrysler Viper)
5. Peter Fitzgerald (Porsche GT3 Cup)
6. Rick Armstrong (Porsche GT3 Cup)
Pole position: Stokell 2 min. 2.812 sec.
Fastest race lap: Stokell 2:02.767 (record)
Friday, 2.25 Race 2 (10 laps)
Saturday, 4.15 Race 3 (12 laps)
Sunday, 12.15 Race 4 (6 laps).