CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
LAKESIDE PRACTICE 26TH JUNE 1998
BOWE BLASTS BACK INTO GTP CONTENTION
Touring car ace John Bowe blasted his way around Lakeside International Raceway aboard the Ferrari F355 Challenge to set the fastest time in practice for round five of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship today.
Bowe returned to GTP competition after missing the past two meetings, but was immediately on the pace, stopping the clocks at 54.858 seconds.
Reigning champion Peter Fitzgerald was second fastest aboard his Porsche 911 RSCS while Garry Waldon's fast time in the morning practice session placed him third fastest on the day in his Dodge Viper GTS.
A Lakeside expert, Bowe is confident of a strong showing this weekend.
"The car feels really good at the moment although it is still very twitchy on the limit," Bowe said.
"The grip levels are quite good for a single hot lap and it will be interesting to see what it is like on new tyres tomorrow.
"The Ferrari has always been strong around here and I think we could be set for a strong result."
Terry Bosnjak's Mazda RX7 SP found the reliability he was looking for to be fourth fastest in the opening session and fifth in the afternoon.
Rodney Forbes was also back on track after being involved in a multi-car Porsche Cup crash at Eastern Creek in the previous meeting.
The battle for Class B honours looks set to be a highlight of the weekend with all five drivers covered by less than 7/10ths of a second in the afternoon practice session.
Impressive rookie Dean Canto headed the pack aboard his Subaru Impreza WRX while Chris Kousparis and Peter Boylan followed in his wheel tracks – also aboard giant-killing WRXs.
Murray Carter (Nissan 200SX) and John Trimbole (Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evo III Turbo) wound out the Class B battle.
Iron Man Guy Andrews was forced to sit out the opening Class C session when he suffered power steering problems aboard the Ford Falcon XR8.
Class C leader David Ratcliff (Toyota Camry CSi) headed the timesheets in both sessions.
Local star Michael Simpson used his home track knowledge to good advantage by heading the GTP Lights Class D times throughout the day.
Fresh from his successes at Eastern Creek, Simpson showed he will be a force to be reckoned with.
Ric Shaw won the race against time to have his Toyota MR2 Bathurst repaired in time for the weekend after his Eastern Creek crash while fellow MR2 runner Clayton Haynes impressed to be third fastest in the morning session behind Simpson and Mazda 626 driver Phil Kirkham.
Nigel Stones' Suzuki Swift GTi again topped Class E ahead of Aaron McGill.
RESULTS SESSION ONE 1. Garry Waldon, Doge Viper GTS 55.308 2 John Bowe, Ferrari F355 Challenge 55.419 3. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS 55.618 4. Terry Bosnjak, Mazda RX7 SP 55.845 Class B Chris Kousparis, Subaru Impreza WRX 60.574 Class C David Ratcliff, Toyota Camry CSi 62.105 Class D Michael Simpson, BMW 323i 61.196 Class E Nigel Stones, Suzuki Swift GTi 64.092
SESSION TWO 1. John Bowe, Ferrari F355 Challenge 54.858 2. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS 55.187 3. Garry Waldon, Dodge Viper GTS 55.355 4. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS 55.687 Class B Dean Canto, Subaru Impreza WRX 60.364 Class C David Ratcliff, Toyota Camry CSi 62.553 Class D Michael Simpson, BMW 323i 60.889 Class E Nigel Stones, Suzuki Swift GTi 63.852
FURTHER NEWS: www.gtprod.com.au