"Littlies" set to star at Phillip Island

THE Century Batteries GT Production racing series for popular passenger cars heads to Victoria's Phillip Island circuit next weekend - with the smallest entrants in the field set to steal some limelight from their front-running rivals. The GT ...

THE Century Batteries GT Production racing series for popular passenger cars heads to Victoria's Phillip Island circuit next weekend - with the smallest entrants in the field set to steal some limelight from their front-running rivals.

The GT Production Series, part of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship, will feature two races on Sunday for the second of eight rounds in the 2001 season. Official timed practice will start on Friday, with qualifying for starting positions on Saturday.

While drivers of the full-sized family sedans from Ford, Holden, Mitsubishi and Toyota will race for outright honors, some of the hottest competition is expected in the Poolrite Four-cylinder Class.

Nine cars are entered, including the series-leading Holden Astra 2.0 litre of Formula Ford champion Luke Youlden and the rapid Proton Satria GTi of Kosi Kalaitzidis, the Malaysian manufacturer's international driver and current class champion, who is joining the 2001 series for the first time at Phillip Island.

Rally and V8 Supercar ace Rick Bates will drive the smallest car, a 1.3 litre Daihatsu Sirion GTvi, in which he lies third in the class pointscore after round one at Wakefield Park, Goulburn, three weekends ago.

Two Holden Commodores and three Ford Falcons in the Poolrite V8 Touring Class lead the contenders for outright victory. Luke Youlden's father Kent Youlden, the 1990 and 1991 Australian Production Car Champion driver, will take the wheel of the Falcon XR8 that won last year's class title.

Phillip Island's long straight and sweeping corners will make it difficult for Poolrite Six-cylinder leader Daryl Coon (Falcon XR6) to repeat his Wakefield Park performance, where he beat all the V8s to two outright wins.

Robert Chadwick (Magna Sports) and Alan Holgersson (Camry) will renew their six-cylinder battle.

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: Poolrite V8 Touring: 30 J. McIlroy, 22R. Winston/B. Carr, 1 S. Loadsman. Poolrite 6-Cylinder Touring: 31 D. Coon, 22R.Chadwick/A. Holgersson. Poolrite 4-Cylinder Touring: 28 L. Youlden, 22 J. McKinnon, 18 R. Bates.

WEEKEND TIMETABLE: Friday - 11.35 am Practice, 30 min; 2.35 pm Practice, 30 min. Saturday - 10.30 Qualifying, 30min.; 1.50 pm Practice, 15 min. Sunday - 10.50 am Race 1, 15 min.; 2.40 pm Race 2, 15 min.

-Chris Nixon

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Series Supercars
Drivers Luke Youlden , Rick Bates , Phillip Island