Oran Park season finale preview

Round 8 - Oran Park, NSW GTP Championship Down To The Wire At Oran Park A David and Goliath battle is in store when the two leading contenders for the 2001 Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship meet in the final and...

Round 8 - Oran Park, NSW
GTP Championship Down To The Wire At Oran Park

A David and Goliath battle is in store when the two leading contenders for the 2001 Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship meet in the final and deciding round next weekend at Oran Park Raceway, near Sydney.

Queenslander Brett Peters will seek to defend his championship points lead in a four-cylinder turbocharged Subaru, while Philip Polites, from Victoria, will tackle his title quest with Australia's fastest production passenger car, the 400 horsepower Holden Commodore GTS V8.

The pair, separated by 27 points in the standings, will be among 34 entrants in two races on Sunday for the GT Performance division of the championship. Two separate races will be staged for the GT Production division, with 12 starters.

As well as the outright title, championships will be decided on Sunday in three classes, with two other classes having been settled already.

A sixth place in just one of his races would clinch the season trophy for Peters, but he says he aims to do it in style with a couple of wins over his powerful rival.

"My team are just as competitive as I am, maybe more, and I am sure they wouldn't be happy if I just went to Oran Park to drive around safely. I want to get my first pole position and then take out the championship with a win," he said.

Peters believes the rapid direction changes on Oran Park's twisting layout will suit the nimble, all-wheel drive Subaru, the Mitsubishi Evo V of outgoing champion Mark King and the Mazda RX-7 of Sydney touring car veteran Bob Pearson.

Meanwhile, Polites will rely on the Commodore's ability to demolish Oran Park's long straight, hoping that he can not only catch Peters but also defend his championship second place against Subaru's Wayne Boatwright, who is just five points behind.

While Peters, Polites and Boatwright fight out the championship placings and the Poolrite High Performance class, a host of other top drivers will give no quarter in their quest for race wins to climax the season.

Local driver Brian Carr has committed to double duty, taking over from regular driver John Bowe in the GT Performance Ford Mustang Cobra RA and driving his own Ford Falcon XR8 in the GT Production division in a bid to win the V8 Touring class championship.

"They say that when you step out of a fast car it's easier to get speed from a slower car, so I hope that's the case on Sunday," Carr said. "I'm only five points behind the class leader Scott Loadsman, so maybe driving the Mustang will give me the edge I need to win in the Falcon. Whatever happens, I'm going to be busy."

The contest for the Poolrite 4-Cylinder class championship is just as tight. Young Sydney talent David Russell, driving a Proton, has a lead of just six points over the 2000 Australian Formula Ford champion Luke Youlden, who has driven a Holden Astra in the GTP series.

Nathan Pilkington (Mitsubishi) wrapped up the Hippies Sports Touring class at round seven, while Daryl Coon (Falcon) clinched his second Poolrite 6-Cylinder title at round six.

The GTP races will be part of the PROCAR Champ Series 2001 grand final meeting, which also will feature the Megamantis.com Australian Nations Cup Championship, Poolrite V8 BRute Muster and Australian Formula 3 Championship.

A 16-race program starts at 9 am on Sunday. Ticket prices are, adults $30, children $15.

Timed official practice for all cars is on Friday, with qualifying on Saturday.

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after Round 7):

Outright & Poolrite High Performance class
119 Brett Peters
92 Philip Polites
85.5 Wayne Boatwright
84 John Bowe
70.5 Graham Alexander
64 Ed Aitken

Hippies Sports Touring
164 Nathan Pilkington (new champion)
121 Nathan Thomas
107 Anthony Robson

Poolrite V8 Touring
155 Scott Loadsman
150 Brian Carr
147 John McIlroy

Poolrite 6-Cylinder Touring
197 Daryl Coon (new champion)
162 Alan Holgersson
156 Robert Chadwick

Poolrite 4-Cylinder Touring
131 David Russell
124 Luke Youlden
109 Martin Doxey

TIMETABLE:

Friday
9.00 GT Production practice (20 min.)
9.30 GT Performance practice (30 min.)
11.50 GT Production practice (20 min.),
12.20 GT Performance practice (20 min.).

Saturday
10.00 GT Performance practice (20 min.)
11.30 GT Production practice (20 min.)
2.40 GT Performance qualifying (30 min.)
3.20 GT Production qualifying (30 min.).

Sunday
9.30 GT Production race 1 (10 laps)
11.00 GT Performance race 1 (10 laps)
1.00 GT Production race 2 (10 laps)
2.40 GT Performance race 2 (10 laps).

LAST YEAR:

Pole
King (Mitsubishi Evo V) 1 min. 16.76 sec.

Race 1
King
Boatwright (Subaru STi)
Jacob (Subaru STi)

Race 2
Boatwright,
Alexander (Mitsubishi Evo V)
Jacob.

-Procar.au-

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Series V8SUPERCARS