MEDIA BULLETIN - (Thu.) 27 April 2000 Preview, Round 3 - Eastern Creek, NSW COMPETITORS GET HORSEPOWER BOOST TO PEG BACK LEADER IN EASTERN CREEK GT PRODUCTION RACES SYDNEY driver Ric Shaw expects a tough battle to defend his runaway early...
MEDIA BULLETIN - (Thu.) 27 April 2000 Preview, Round 3 - Eastern Creek, NSW
COMPETITORS GET HORSEPOWER BOOST TO PEG BACK LEADER IN EASTERN CREEK GT PRODUCTION RACES
SYDNEY driver Ric Shaw expects a tough battle to defend his runaway early lead in the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship after his closest competitors were given extra horsepower to catch his flying Mazda RX-7 in round three at Eastern Creek International Raceway this weekend.
With a 100 percent win rate from the first two of eight rounds, Shaw has been advised by series officials that they intend to boost the competition by easing engine turbocharger restrictions on the rival Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evolution V and Subaru Impreza WRX STi.
The second-placed championship runner, Bob Hughes, drives one of the Mitsubishis while round two standout, Olympian Grant Kenny, has a Subaru.
"It's going to make life a hell of a lot harder for me. With Eastern Creek being such a fast circuit, I'm sure the racing will be very close and exciting," Shaw said.
"However, I hope the Mazda's pedigree as a sports coupe will help. The sedans have picked up horsepower, but we've got good aerodynamics, handling and brakes in our favour."
The 44-car field will have practice tomorrow, qualifying for grid positions on Saturday and two nine-lap races on Sunday.
1999 RESULTS: Race 1, 1 D. Beninca (Porsche 911 RSCS), 2 P. Fitzgerald (Porsche 911 RSCS), 3 T. Bosnjak (Mazda RX-7 SP). Pole, Fitzgerald 1:39.05. Race 2, 1 D. Beninca, 2 P. Fitzgerald, 3 J. Richards (Porsche 911 RSCS).
CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after Rd 2): Outright, 1 R. Shaw (Mazda RX-7) 48, 2 B . Hughes (Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evo V) 30, 3 G. Stones (Mazda RX-7) 20; Autobarn High Perf., R. Shaw (Mazda RX-7) 48; Hippies Sports Touring, D. Wood (Honda Integra Type R) 34; Pennzoil V8 Touring, S. Loadsman (Holden Commodore SS) 31; Pennzoil Six-cyl. Touring, D. Coon (Ford Falcon XR6) 39; Poolrite Four-cyl. Touring, K. Kalaitzidis (Proton M21) 42.
WEEKEND TIMETABLE: Fri. 9.30 am, 11.30 am - practice. Sat. 10.10 am - practice, 1.30 pm - qualifying. Sun. 12.40 pm, 2.20 pm - race (9 laps each) .