(Thu.) 16 November 2000 / Practice, Round 8 (final) - Bathurst, NSW

RAIN and fog made official practice today for the final round of the 2000 Century Batteries GTP Nations Cup at Bathurst more like a yacht race on top of a mountain.

The session was suspended and later cancelled as swirling fog on top of the Mount Panorama circuit cut visibility for drivers and flag marshals.

Drivers completed only a handful of laps and recorded few meaningful times in their first run on the track in preparation for races tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday.

Three-time Australian driving champion Paul Stokell was fastest in a Lamborghini Diablo, with Porsche GT3s making up the rest of the top five.

Stokell said his big Italian coupe felt comfortable in the treacherous conditions and he was hopeful of closing the season with a victory.

Six-time Bathurst 1000 winner Jim Richards, who wrapped up the GTP Nations Cup in the seventh round, was second-fastest today. Peter Fitzgerald (Porsche) and Mark Noske (Ferrari), who are battling over second place in the series, recorded lap times well outside their best.

"It was just too wet to risk putting a $350,000 Ferrari into the wall, so we'll wait to see if tomorrow is better," Noske said. <pre> RESULTS: Lap time (min., sec.) 1. Paul Stokell (Lamborghini Diablo SVR) 2:37.48 2. Jim Richards (Porsche 911 GT3) 2:39.47 3. Mark Williamson (Porsche 911 GT3) 2:44.10 4. Matthew Coleman (Porsche 911 GT3) 2:49.22 5. Peter Bradbury (Porsche 911 GT3) 2:49.58 6. Rusty French (Dodge Viper ACR) 2:50.30

MEGUIAR=B9S TOP MARQUES DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP (after Rd 7): 1. Jim Richards 195 4. Paul Stokell 112 2. Peter Fitzgerald 141 5. Peter Bradbury 91 3. Mark Noske 137 6. Mark Williamson 86

TIMETABLE: Friday 3 pm - Qualifying (20 min.), 5.25 pm - Race 1# (7 laps). Saturday - 9.20 am - Race 2# (7 laps, reverse grid). Sunday - race 3# (10 laps).