Morgan, Richards close on Bowe'S Nations Cup lead at Queensland Raceway. The fight for the 2002 Australian Nations Cup Championship was thrown wide open when series leader John Bowe faltered and Geoff Morgan and Jim Richards dramatically slashed...
Morgan, Richards close on Bowe'S Nations Cup lead at Queensland Raceway.
The fight for the 2002 Australian Nations Cup Championship was thrown wide open when series leader John Bowe faltered and Geoff Morgan and Jim Richards dramatically slashed the points gap in round five at Queensland Raceway, Ipswich, today.
Bowe, driving a Ferrari 360 GT, retained the series lead despite being unable to start the first of three races and receiving a 30 second penalty after race three.
His only bright spot was winning race two. After charging from the last spot on the starting grid, he took advantage of a minor collision between Richards' Porsche and Morgan's Chrysler Viper to snatch the lead three laps from home.
Richards and Morgan also took a win each and their more consistent performances lifted them in the pointscore.
"This was a frustrating race day after winning pole position yesterday gave some hope of being able to consolidate my lead in the championship," Bowe said.
"But I am nevertheless still in the lead and there are still three rounds to go. Geoff, Jim and I each won a race today in vastly different cars and I think that promises a very exciting battle to the end of the season."
Richards, the defending Nations Cup champion, cut the gap back to second from 63 points to just four, while Morgan, in third, is only a further 19 points behind.
The Nations Cup for exotic sports cars was part of a 14-race program for the PROCAR Champ Series event, which attracted a three-day attendance of just less than 12,000 people.
Among the 7842 at the track today were the owners of 350 road utes, who took part in the Personalised Plates Ute Muster.
Drive-shaft failure forced Bowe to retire on the warm-up lap for race one.
His Prancing Horse Scuderia crew repaired the $750,000 Ferrari for race two and went on to score the win by 1.73 seconds from Morgan, with Richards following.
Bowe crossed the line second, behind Morgan, in race three but stewards almost immediately penalised him 30 seconds for causing Porsche driver Tony Quinn to spin, and was relegated to fourth.
In the Group Two competition, Brisbane's John Teulan scored two wins in his Ferrari 360 Challenge, taking over the series lead from PHR Scuderia teammate Sam Newman and becoming the most prolific points-earner in this year's PROCAR Champ Series.
Two convincing wins from three starts extended Brett Peters' lead in the Australian GT Performance Championship.
The Queensland-based Subaru driver was heading for a third win when a touch from Geoff Full (Mitsubishi) sent him spinning off the track.
Stewards called Full into the pits for a drive-through penalty and he could only finish 11th. Peters recovered for sixth place and ended round five with a progressive total of 682 points, with Full on 600 and race three winner Peter Floyd (Commodore GTS) on 556.
After some wild driving in the previous two rounds, stewards were liberal in their use of the black flag to curb errant drivers in round five of the V8 BRute Series.
Charlie Kovacs (Commodore) and Damien White and Grant Denyer (Falcons) each won races.
With third and fourth places also, Denyer was the most successful driver overall. Warren Luff (Falcon) held on to the series lead, but Allan Grice slipped to third place, behind Damien White, after a day of misfortunes in his Falcon.
The two-time Bathurst winner finished 16th in race one after a clash with James Brock saw him called to the pits for a drive-through penalty, while in race two he finished last with a flat tyre which resulted from contact with Kovacs.
But in race three, Grice finished an impressive sixth after progressing 17 places from the rear of the grid in just eight laps.
Glen Barnes, Kovacs and Noel Edge also were given drive-through penalties during the day.
In the Australian GT Production Car Championship, Darren Palmer gave the Honda S2000 its first outright wins for 2002, in each of two handicap races beating the Proton Satria of David Russell.
Scott Loadsman recorded a best finish of third in race two, but retained his outright and V8 Touring class leads in the series for standard production cars.