PORSCHE ace Jim Richards can't be beaten for the lead in the Century Batteries GTP Nations Cup in the sixth round at MelbourneÂ¹s Calder Park circuit this weekend, but Ferrari young gun Mark Noske still has his sights on winning the big prize...
PORSCHE ace Jim Richards can't be beaten for the lead in the Century Batteries GTP Nations Cup in the sixth round at Melbourne¹s Calder Park circuit this weekend, but Ferrari young gun Mark Noske still has his sights on winning the big prize at the end of the season.
The task on Sunday for Noske (Ferrari F360 Modena Challenge) and championship long-shot Paul Stokell (Lamborghini Diablo SVR) is to reduce the points advantage of Richards (Porsche GT3) in the lead-up to the final rounds at Surfers Paradise and Bathurst.
Consistency all year has given Richards a tally of 135 points. With a 40-point deficit and a maximum of only 31 points available to any driver in qualifying and two races, Noske can only hope to draw closer to the six-time Bathurst 1000 winner.
Noske, 24, has had a troubled run since losing the series lead to Richards at round four, but says he remains determined to become the inaugural GTP Nations Cup champion.
"I have to get some points off Jim, but there are more strong contenders than just us and I think it will be a very lively weekend. Christian Jones and Wayne Park will also be in Ferraris and the long straight at Calder is really going to suit the big horsepower of Stokell's Lamborghini and Geoff Morgan¹s Dodge Viper," Noske said.
Stokell will be running the V12-engined Lambo 50kg lighter and hopes this will deliver a much-needed boost in braking performance.
"The right-hander at the end of the Calder straight is probably the hardest stop in Australia. You come down from 250 kmh to a second-gear turn and durable brakes, which I hope we now have, are a distinct advantage," Stokell said.
"On paper, Calder should suit us down to the ground, but you never know. It's a long time since we¹ve been on the front row in qualifying and that would be a boost too. Morgan¹s Viper has been a big improver and I think it could be a real threat here for the first time."
MEGUIAR'S TOP MARQUES DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP (after Rd 5): 1 Jim Richards 135, 2 Mark Noske 95, 3 Paul Stokell & Peter Fitzgerald 76, 4 Peter Bradbury 58, 5 Mark Williamson 56, 6 Wayne Park 53.
Friday 10.50 am - Practice, 1.20 pm - Practice
Saturday 12.15 pm - Qualifying, 1.30 pm - Practice
Sunday 10.45 am - Race 1, 2.05 pm - Race 2.