Eastern Creek qualifying

RICHARDS' PORSCHE TOPS FERRARI, LAMBORGHINI IN GTP NATIONS CUP QUALIFYING AT EASTERN CREEK TWO-time GTP champion Jim Richards, driving a Porsche GT3, ended the run of Ferrari's Mark Noske by winning a tense qualifying session for round two of...

RICHARDS' PORSCHE TOPS FERRARI, LAMBORGHINI IN GTP NATIONS CUP QUALIFYING AT EASTERN CREEK

TWO-time GTP champion Jim Richards, driving a Porsche GT3, ended the run of Ferrari's Mark Noske by winning a tense qualifying session for round two of the Century Batteries GTP Nations Cup at Eastern Creek, near Sydney, today.

Noske, points leader in the Meguiar's Top Marques Drivers Championship, had dominated the weekend in his Ferrari F360 Modena challenge until the all-important qualifying session.

But Richards picked up an improvement from overnight adjustments to his car and in only four laps set a time of 1 minute 37.61 seconds that Noske could not match in 15 laps.

Less than 0.2 sec. behind was the Lamborghini Diablo of Melbourne's Paul Stokell, also benefiting from some suspension adjustments.

With Noske and Stokell each owning a race win from the first round in Adelaide three weeks ago, Richards is poised to strike back in tomorrow's two nine-lap races.

"Compared to the Ferrari and the Lamborghini our Porsche is a shopping car, so I'm happy with the pole," Richards said.

"The car showed it was good over one lap today, but tomorrow it has to be good for the full distance. I'd rather be last on the grid and win than the other way around."

Stokell said the changes had given him more confidence in his 500 horsepower racer.

"We're quietly confident. I think we've got a very good race package and tomorrow we should be able to take the battle to the Ferrari and the Porsche," he said.

<pre> RESULTS: 1. Jim Richards (Porsche 911 GT3) 1:37.61 2. Mark Noske (Ferrari F360 Challenge) 1:37.64 3. Paul Stokell (Lamborghini Diablo SVR) 1:37.84 4. Peter Fitzgerald (Porsche 911 GT3) 1:38.07 5. Peter Bradbury (Porsche 911 GT3) 1:39.81 6. Mark Williamson (Porsche 911 GT3) 1:40.64

TIMETABLE: Sun. 1.10 pm - race 1 (9 laps), 2.50 pm - race 2 (9 laps).

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after Rd 1): 27 M. Noske, 24 J. Richards, 23 P. Stokell.

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