AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR RACING
INDY RACE ONE 16th OCTOBER 1999
RICHARDS HOLDS OFF FERRARI CHALLENGE AT INDY
Porsche driver Jim Richards held off a fighting challenge from the Ferrari of Wayne Park in a frantic opening race of the QR City Train GTP Classic at the Honda Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise today.
Park¹s Ferrari F355 Challenge took an early lead until passed by Richards on the opening lap at the ANA corner.
The newly crowned GTP champion opened up a gap but then came under pressure from fellow Porsche 911 RSCS driver Peter Fitzgerald.
After dropping to third, Park began a mid-race fightback, passing Fitzgerald and then setting chase after Richards - finishing only 1 second adrift at the race finish.
"I didn¹t make the best of starts but luckily I was able to squeeze past the Ferrari early on the opening lap," Richards said.
"You had to be careful fighting your way through the traffic because the circuit can be quite slippery if you have to get off line.
"Fitzy had a bit of a lunge down the outside at one stage and I soon had the Ferrari looming in my mirrors as well.
"I¹m thrilled to take the win because it certainly wasn¹t easy."
Fitzgerald began suffering ABS brake dramas at mid-race distance while fellow Porsche driver Ed Aitken was lucky to escape after tangling with Fitzgerald at the ANA corner on the opening lap and nearly rolling the car after lurching his machine off the kerb on the inside of the circuit.
Beric Lynton drove a strong race to grab fourth in the Meguiar¹s Top Marques Class A division while Trevor John failed to finish after touching the wall and spinning at the second chicane.
Mark King (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III) turned the tables in the Autobarn Class B division, defeating pole sitter Garry Holt (Subaru Impreza WRX).
Scott Jacob took third ahead of Don Pulver and Iron man Grant Kenny.
David Ratcliff triumphed in Class C aboard his Toyota Camry CSi after a race long battle with the Holden Commodore VS SS of Roland Hill.
Iron Man Guy Andrews took third but Denis Cribbin was eliminated in a nasty crash after contact with Scott Loadsman¹s Holden Commodore VT SS.
Wayne Russell defeated local favorite Michael Simpson in Class S, both armed with a BMW 323i.
The GTP Lights Class E division closely resembled a demolition derby as plenty of paint was swapped between race winner Aaron McGill and Nigel Williams.
Sue Hughes finished 2nd, also armed with a Suzuki Swift GTi.
Class D honours were taken by the Honda Civic VTi-R of female racer Carol Jackson.
RESULTS RACE ONE - 10 laps 1. - Jim Richards, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) - 21:26.555 2. - Wayne Park, Ferrari F355 Challenge (A) - 21:27.490 3. - Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) - 21:30.839 4. - Beric Lynton, BMW M3-R (A) - 21:59.889 5. - Ed Aitken, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) - 22:26.674 Class B - Mark King, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III - 23:07.073 Class C - David Ratcliff, Toyota Camry CSi - down 1 lap Class D - Carol Jackson, Honda Civic VTi-R - down 1 lap Class E - Aaron McGill, Suzuki Swift GTi - down 1 lap Class S - Wayne Russell, BMW 323i - 23:43.009
Paul Ryan http://www.gtprod.com.au/ firstname.lastname@example.org