OAMPS INSURANCE ENDURANCE CLASSIC - SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 SANDOWN INTERNATIONAL MOTOR RACEWAY
SATURDAY, 12th SEPTEMBER 1998
COSTANZO PULLS OFF THE ITALIAN JOB
Maserati earned its first ever GT Production pole position at the OAMPS Insurance Endurance Classic at Sandown today with veteran Alfredo Costanzo setting the fastest time in qualifying.
The 55-year-old multiple Australian Drivers' Champion will be teamed with 17-year-old young Sydney driver Dean Canto for tomorrow’s one-hour event - a youth and experience combination which is expected to be a strong contender for race honours.
The Maserati squad were followed by the Ferrari F355 Challenge of John Bowe/Neil Crompton with the Porsche 911 RSCS of Peter Fitzgerald and Ed Aitken in third spot.
"We are delighted to grab pole and I believe we have a great chance of victory tomorrow," Costanzo said.
"The car is very well suited to the long straights here at Sandown and we have also worked very hard on improving the handling.
"Of all the drivers in practice this morning, Dean was also second fastest behind me on the timesheet, so we are looking very strong."
Female racer Paula Elstrek will start from fourth position tomorrow after car owner Perry Spiridis put the Ferrari F355 Challenge he will share with her in fourth spot.
Recently crowned Century Batteries GTP Champ, Domenic Beninca had a disastrous qualifying session. Starting on wet tyres in the damp conditions, Beninca left it until too late to swap to slick tyres, leaving the Porsche 911 RSCS to start from 7th tomorrow with Garry Waldon as co-driver.
Queensland racer Mark King drove strongly to grab the Class B pole position aboard the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III he will drive with Rod Wilson.
Iron man legend Grant Kenny also will compete tomorrow, sharing a Subaru Impreza WRX with Scott Jacob.
V8 Supercar star Tony Longhurst put the new Ford Falcon AU XR6 on pole position in Class C. Longhurst will drive with AFL media personality, Sam Newman.
The Mitsubishi Magna TE Sports team of Rob Chadwick and Jim Myhill were second in that class.
Calvin Gardiner and Tom Watkinson's successful return to the GTP ranks continued in the GTP Lights Class D division with pole position aboard their Mazda 626.
They headed the similar Mazda 626 of Matt Lehmann and Megan Kirkham which bounced back from a morning crash when Kirkham hit the fence in practice.
Aaron McGill and Don Pulver took pole in Class E aboard their Suzuki Swift GTI ahead of Kosi Kalaitzidis and Andrew Rhodes-Anderson in the Proton M21 Coupe.
RESULTS QUALIFYING 1. A. Costanzo/D. Canto, Maserati Ghibli 1:20.293 2. J. Bowe/N. Crompton, Ferrari F355 Challenge 1:20.404 3. E. Aitken/P. Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS 1:23.516 4. P. Spiridis/P. Elstrek, Ferrari F355 Challenge 1:25.386 Class B M. King/R. Wilson, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III 1:28.479 Class C T. Longhurst/S. Newman, Ford Falcon XR6 AU 1:30.717 Class D C. Gardiner/T. Watkinson, Mazda 626 1:32.577 Class E A. McGill/D. Pulver, Suzuki Swift GTi 1:34.790