CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
LAKESIDE RACE ONE 28th JUNE 1998
BOWE BACK TO FIRE FERRARI TO VICTORY
Touring car star John Bowe grabbed the first Ferrari win of the 1998 Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship with a stunning drive at Lakeside today.
Bowe used his pole position to good effect to hold out the fast starting Garry Waldon (Dodge Viper GTS) in a flag to flag victory.
Behind the barnstorming Bowe, frantic action erupted through the field with paint swapping becoming common place and the racetrack slowly resembling a battle field.
Fortunately, only the Maserati Ghibli of Alfredo Costanzo was forced out after he crashed exiting the Eastern Loop, putting him out for the day.
Domenic Beninca charged past Peter Fitzgerald in traffic to grab third while Terry Bosnjak's Mazda RX7 held out Rodney Forbes (Porsche 911 RSCS) for fifth.
Even Bowe swapped paint on the Ferrari F355 Challenge with several class cars as he charged through the pack - making for interesting listening on the team’s radio!
"The car felt really good ... probably the best we’ve ever had it," Bowe said.
"Tyres started to go off slightly towards the end but overall, the car was really strong.
"Holding Garry off on the start was the key, because the Viper is hard to get past."
Local driver Bob Thorn's Toyota Supra RX Twin Turbo endured overheating problems after running strongly early in the race.
Chris Kousparis bounced back from a troubled season to take out an action packed Class B event aboard his Subaru Impreza WRX.
Dean Canto (Subaru Impreza WRX) lost his early lead after a lap two clash with Thorn while Peter Boylan (Subaru Impreza WRX), John Cowley (HSV GTSR) and John Trimbole (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III) fought a race long battle.
Boylan and Trimbole clashed with five laps to go, Trimbole’s Mitsubishi smashing through a trackside plastic sign.
Mark Cohen pulled out a strong drive to win Class C aboard his Holden Commodore VS SS. Class leader David Ratcliff (Toyota Camry CSi) took second ahead of Rob Chadwick (Mitsubishi Magna TE Sport) and Iron man Guy Andrews (Ford Falcon XR8)
Queenslander Michael Simpson (BMW 323i) dominated the GTP Lights Class D division, finishing an amazing 9th outright.
Ric Shaw (Toyota MR2 Bathurst) took second ahead of Phil Kirkham's Mazda 626.
Suzuki mounted Nigel Stones and Aaron McGill endured a thrilling Class E battle with both drivers taking turns at the lead before suffering off-track excursions after contact with other cars.
McGill held the early lead before Stones regained the front running on lap seven ... only to lose the lead on lap 13 and regain it on lap 17.
RESULTS RACE ONE 20 LAPS 1. John Bowe, Ferrari F355 Challenge (A) 18:50.121 2. Garry Waldon, Dodge Viper GTS (A) 18:50.911 3. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 18:52.600 4. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 18:55.645 5 Terry Bosnjak, Mazda RX7 SP (A) 19:10.629 6. Rodney Forbes, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 19:10.798 7. Chris Kousparis, Subaru Impreza WRX (B) 19 laps 8. Murray Carter, Nissan 200SX (B) 19 laps 9. Michael Simpson, BMW 323i (D) 19 laps 10. Peter Boylan, Subaru Impreza WRX (B) 19 laps