Perth Ric Shaw sets hot pace

SYDNEY Mazda driver Ric Shaw set a hot pace - literally - on his way to winning the first race of the 2000 Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship today at Barbagallo Raceway, near Perth. Shaw ran the entire 20-lap race in...

SYDNEY Mazda driver Ric Shaw set a hot pace - literally - on his way to winning the first race of the 2000 Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship today at Barbagallo Raceway, near Perth.

Shaw ran the entire 20-lap race in bright, sunny conditions but with the heater on to help cool the engine in his twin-turbo Mazda RX7.

He crossed the line a comfortable 12.2 seconds ahead of Bob Hughes, in a Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evolution V, to claim an early points lead in the eight-round national series.

Scott Jacob (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) was lucky to save third place after tangling on the final corner with Mark King (Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evo V), who was heading for second spot. Both speared off the track, but while Jacoû reversed out of the sand quickly, King remained stuck and was classified as a non-finisher.

Shaw, starting from pole in the Autobarn High Performance class, battled the hot engine and fading brakes.

"These cars tend to run hot, so I knew I had to made a bolt from the start before the engine lost its edge. I had the heater on full blast to try to take some heat out of the engine and I was losing the brakes badly, so the win wasn't as easy as it looked."

Shaw nevertheless was unchallenged at the front while Queenslanders Jacob and King fought the entertaining battle that eventually brought them undone.

The first race of the season - and the championship's first-ever in Western Australia - saw numerous new contenders reveal their form. David Wood won the Hippies Sports Touring Class in a Honda Integra Type R, while Scott Loadsman took points in the Pennzoil V8 Touring class in a Holden Commodore VT SS.

The drivers will contest the second leg of round one tomorrow.

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RESULTS (Provisional):  Outright
1.  Ric Shaw            (Mazda RX7)   
2.  Bob Hughes          (Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evo V)
3.  Scott Jacob         (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) 
4.  Graham Stones       (Mazda  RX7) 
5.  Dennis Gilbert      (Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evo 5) 

Class Autobarn High Perf.: Ric Shaw (Mazda RX7) Hippies Sports Touring: David Wood (Honda Integra Type R) Pennzoil V8 Touring: Scott Loadsman (Holden C'dore SS) Pennzoil Six-cyl. Touring: Robert Chadwick (M'bishi Magna Sports) Poolrite Four-cyl. Touring: Nathan Thomas (Suzuki Swift GTi)

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: Outright 1. Ric Shaw 16 2. Bob Hughes 12 3. Scott Jacob 10 4. Graham Stones 8 5. Dennis Gilbert 6

Class Autobarn High Perf.: Ric Shaw 16 Hippies Sports Touring: David Wood 16 Pennzoil V8 Touring: Scott Loadsman 16 Pennzoil Six-cyl. Touring: Robert Chadwick 15 Poolrite Four-cyl. Touring: Nathan Thomas 16

TIMETABLE: Sunday 9.25 am - warm-up, 11.20 am - race (25 min.).

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Series Supercars
Drivers Ric Shaw , Mark King , Bob Hughes , Scott Loadsman , David Wood