CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
ORAN PARK RACE ONE 30th AUGUST 1998
BOWE WINS AS TITLE IN SIGHT FOR BENINCA
Porsche 911 RSCS driver Domenic Beninca moved another step closer to claiming the 1998 Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship by following home John Bowe's Ferrari F355 Challenge in race one at Oran Park today.
As Bowe stormed to victory, Beninca had to hold off a charging Rodney Forbes who found his way past Peter Fitzgerald after the race was forced to be restarted.
Bob Thorn spun on the opening lap of the original start and was struck by Phil Kirkham's Class D Mazda 626.
Fitzgerald had to topple Beninca to retain his championship crown, but ABS brake problems hindered his progress.
While Bowe was thrilled with the victory, Beninca was content to extend his points gap to nine points over Fitzgerald.
"Things are looking good but I still have to finish the second race to make sure of the title," Beninca said.
"I have to make sure I drive a nice tidy race in the afternoon and keep my nose out of trouble.
"You can't start celebrating until the championship is complete because anything could happen.
"I had a couple of dicey moments in the opening race with Rodney giving me a hard time, but things have worked out well so far."
Paul Stokell's Lotus Elise Sport 190 finished in fifth position ahead of Ross Halliday's Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V.
Young star Dean Canto performed strongly to grab the opening Class B victory ahead of fellow Subaru Impreza WRX driver Chris Kousparis.
Kousparis has now extended his provisional points lead after Murray Carter's Nissan 200SX was excluded from the Lakeside round results for a technical infringement.
The Class B points are provisional pending a successful application for leave to appeal being granted to Carter, by the Australian Motor Sport Appeal Court.
Rob Chadwick took his second Class C victory of the season aboard his Mitsubishi Magna TE Sports. Chadwick held out David Ratcliff who wrapped up the Class C championship with his Toyota Camry CSi.
Ric Shaw's GTP Class D championship was clinched on the opening lap with Kirkham's crash with Thorn, and the Toyota MR2 driver celebrated in style by taking the opening race victory.
Shaw chased down the BMW 323i of Michael Simpson to grab the win, while fellow BMW driver Luke Searle was third.
Nigel Stones continued his championship winning ways in Class E aboard his Suzuki Swift GTi. Stones took the win from the team cars of Aaron McGill and Don Pulver.
RESULTS RACE ONE 14 LAPS 1. John Bowe, Ferrari F355 Challenge (A) 17:35.500 2. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 17:36.236 3. Rodney Forbes, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 17:36.661 4. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 17:44.882 5. Paul Stokell, Lotus Elise Sport 190 (A) 17:59.546 6. Ross Halliday, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V (A)18:27.846 7. Peter McKay, Maserati Ghibli (A) 18.34.002 8 Ross Almond, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V (A) 18:38.625 9. Dean Canto, Subaru Impreza WRX (B) 18:54.042 10. Chris Kousparis, Subaru Impreza WRX (B) 13 laps