CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP HIDDEN VALLEY PRACTICE 4th June 1999 SAM REJOINS GTP RANKS AS AITKEN SURPRISES Former Geelong AFL star and media personality Sam Newman has again swapped the football for the...
CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
HIDDEN VALLEY PRACTICE 4th June 1999
SAM REJOINS GTP RANKS AS AITKEN SURPRISES
Former Geelong AFL star and media personality Sam Newman has again swapped the football for the steering wheel as he made his return to the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship at Darwin’s Hidden Valley circuit today.
After missing the opening session while travelling from Melbourne overnight, Newman did 17 laps in the afternoon session – gradually coming to grips to with his new Class D Holden Vectra GL 2.2 and the Darwin circuit.
"I had my team-mate Melinda Price warm the car up for me this morning but I am very pleased with the way the car is going," Newman said.
"I’m still learning the car but the great thing about Darwin is the fact that it is not very far away," a tongue-in-cheek Newman explained.
Ed Aitken pulled out a surprise by setting the fastest time of the day in the afternoon session.
The Porsche 911 RSCS driver stopped the clocks at 1:16.732 – head of the similar machines of Domenic Beninca and Jim Richards.
Beninca and Richards headed the timesheets in the opening session while former champ, Peter Fitzgerald, made it back on track after badly damaging his Porsche 911 RSCS in a dramatic crash at the last round at Phillip Island.
Wayne Park aboard the Ferrari F355 Challenge was 5th and 6th in the two sessions in the Meguiar’s Top Marques Class A division while the improving Toyota Supra RZ Twin Turbo of Jamie Cartwright and Craig Dean’s Ford Mustang Saleen also showed improved form.
Geoff Full’s domination of the Autobarn Class B division also continued aboard a Subaru Impreza WRX but the Mazda RX7 of female racer Paula Elstrek again showed great potential by finishing the afternoon session with the second fastest time in the class.
Peter Phelan used the power of the V8 aboard his Holden Commodore VT SS to top the Class C timesheet in the afternoon practice session after reigning champ David Ratcliff had set the fasest time of the day aboard his Toyota Camry CSi in the morning session.
Arch-rivals Ric Shaw (Toyota MR2 Bathurst) and Wayne Russell (BMW 323i) again split the honours in Class S in the two sessions.
Phil Kirkham set the pace in the GTP Lights Class D division aboard his Mazda 626 – outpacing Sam Newman’s Vectra in both sessions.
Nathan Thomas headed the Class E division aboard his Suzuki Swift GTi ahead of the similar machine of Sue Hughes.
RESULTS PRACTICE ONE 1. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:16.841 2. Jim Richards, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:17.314 3. Geoff Morgan, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:17.968 4. Ed Aitken, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:18.141 Class B Geoff Full, Subaru Impreza WRX 1:22.962 Class C David Ratcliff, Toyota Camry CSi 1:25.602 Class D Phil Kirkham, Mazda 626 1:26.747 Class E Nathan Thomas, Suzuki Swift GTi 1:28.012 Class S Wayne Russell, BMW 323i 1:25.165
PRACTICE TWO 1. Ed Aitken, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:16.732 2. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:16.764 3. Jim Richards, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:16.790 4. Geoff Morgan, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:16.839 Class B Geoff Full, Subaru Impreza WRX 1:22.210 Class C Peter Phelan, Holden Commodore VT SS 1:26.174 Class D Phil Kirkham, Mazda 626 1:25.614 Class E Nathan Thomas, Suzuki Swift GTi 1:27.357 Class S Ric Shaw, Toyota MR2 Bathurst 1:24.408
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