CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
EASTERN CREEK QUALIFYING 6th JUNE 1998
LOTUS OUT, MASERATI SMOKES & FERRARI FLIES
Ferrari driver Neil Crompton snatched pole position for the opening race of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship at Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway as major rivals struck trouble - and concrete!
Maserati Ghibli driver Alfredo Costanzo had to return to pit lane with his driver's door open to clear the bellowing smoke emitting from the engine bay while Lotus driver Paul Stokell unfortunately returned to pit lane on the back of truck - lucky to walk away from a heavy impact with the concrete wall.
Dodge Viper driver Garry Waldon also was fortunate, escaping from a major spin which resulted in the Viper nudging the outside tyre wall at the end of the main straight.
Costanzo's team have begun working furiously to try to solve the engine dramas while the Lotus crew unfortunately have begun packing up - unable to repair the damage in time for tomorrow's races.
"The car spun around exiting turn one and hit the inside wall backwards, " Stokell said.
"Structurally, there is not that much wrong with the car but the deformable rear bodywork has been badly damaged."
Stokell's accident occurred in the same location which claimed the Class D Toyota MR2 of Ric Shaw yesterday. Waldon was lucky to escape the same fate through the same part of the circuit.
"I had run a little wide coming on to the straight and picked up a bit of mud but I saw I was in second place on the pit board and pressed on to have one more go," Waldon said.
"The car got ‘skatey' entering the turn and I tried to straighten up and head down the drag strip when I realised I wasn't going to stop in time.
"I spun the car round again and luckily just nudged the tyre wall."
Crompton and Waldon were chased in the opening session by the Porsche 911 RSCS trio of Domenic Beninca, Peter Fitzgerald and Rodney Forbes. Beninca bounced back in the second session to grab pole from Waldon, Fitzgerald and Crompton.
Bob Thorn's day aboard the Toyota Supra RZ Twin Turbo day was ruined, smoke billowing from the car in the second session.
Class B was headed by Murray Carter in the Nissan 200SX while David Ratcliff took both Class C pole positions.
BMW 323i driver Michael Simpson snatched pole position for the GTP Lights Class D division ahead of the remaining Osborne Motorsport Toyota MR2 Bathurst of Colin Osborne.
Phil Kirkham (Mazda 626) and Clayton Haynes (Toyota MR2 GT) took third and fourth.
Nigel Stones (Suzuki Swift GTi) dominated Class E, taking pole position for both events ahead of the similar Suzuki's of Aaron McGill and Danny Brian.
RACE ONE 1. Neil Crompton, Ferrari F355 Challenge 1:39.098 2. Garry Waldon, Dodge Viper GTS 1:39.161 3. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS 1:39.244 4. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS 1:39.288 Class B Murray Carter, Nissan 200SX 1:47.973 Class C David Ratcliff, Toyota Camry CSi 1:53.386 Class D Michael Simpson, BMW 323i 1:51.753 Class E Nigel Stones, Suzuki Swift GTi 1:54.353
RACE TWO 1. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS 1:38.946 2. Garry Waldon, Dodge Viper GTS 1:38.960 3. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS 1:39.435 4. Neil Crompton, Ferrari F355 Challenge 1:39.710 Class B Murray Carter, Nissan 200SX 1:48.195 Class C David Ratcliff, Toyota Camry CSi 1:53.217 Class D Michael Simpson, BMW 323i 1:51.367 Class E Nigel Stones, Suzuki Swift GTi 1:54.184
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