CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP

PHILLIP ISLAND QUALIFYING 16th MAY 1998

MASERATI SPICES UP FOUR WAY GTP FIGHT

The wide sweeping turns of Phillip Island's picturesque Grand Prix circuit played host to a titanic battle for pole position for round three of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship today.

Garry Waldon's Dodge Viper GTS took pole in today's opening qualifying session with reigning Champion Peter Fitzgerald fighting back to grab the top spot in the afternoon.

Points leader Domenic Beninca was also hot on the heals of the leading duo along with Alfredo Costanzo who pulled off a stunning qualifying performance aboard the Maserati Ghibli.

After qualifying fourth fastest for the opening race, Costanzo topped the timesheets for most of the second session before Fitzgerald, Waldon and Beninca fought back at the last moment.

"The car is steadily improving and I think it is well suited to this track," Costanzo said.

"We were happy with the time but unfortunately everyone went a little quicker at the end of the session.

"I'm looking forward to tomorrow but it will certainly be tough because the car does not get off the line that well."

Neil Crompton enjoyed his first dry track session in the Ferrari F355 to qualifying in fifth position.

Young ex-karter Dean Canto pulled off a surprise performance in Class B to be fastest in the afternoon session aboard his Subaru Impreza WRX.

In only his second GTP race, Canto outqualified Murray Carter's Nissan 200SX and opening race Class B pole man, John Trimbole (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III).

Chris Kousparis struggled with a turbo hose failure in his Subaru Impreza WRX.

Mark Cohen and David Ratcliff shared the honours in Class C aboard a Holden Commodore VS SS and Toyota Camry CSi respectively.

Paul Gover aboard the Ford Falcon XR8 improved in the afternoon session to be third fastest, just trailing the leading duo.

GTP LIGHTS

Osborne Motorsport team leader Colin Osborne pulled off a stunning qualifying performance to head the GTP Lights Class D division in the opening qualifying session.

Osborne outqualified class leader and team-mate Ric Shaw who has won all four Class D races so far this year.

Shaw bounced back in the afternoon to grab pole ahead of Michael Simpson (BMW 323i) and Phil Kirkham (Mazda 626) who fought back after spinning and tagging the wall in the morning session.

Nigel Stones again headed Class E, this time just beating out the Malaysian Proton M21 Coupe of Kosi Kalaitzidis.

QUALIFYING RACE ONE 1. Garry Waldon, Dodge Viper GTS 1:42.536 2. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS 1:42.633 3. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS 1:43.380 4. Alf Costanzo, Maserati Ghibli 1:43.552 Class B John Trimbole, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III 1:52.872 Class C Mark Cohen, Holden Commodore VS SS 1:56.133 Class D Colin Osborne, Toyota MR2 Bathurst 1:55.990 Class E Nigel Stones, Suzuki Swift GTi 2:00.876 RACE TWO 1. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS 1:42.511 2. Garry Waldon, Dodge Viper GTS 1:42.819 3. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS 1:42.844 4. Alfredo Costanzo, Maserati Ghibli 1:42.869 Class B Dean Canto, Subaru Impreza WRX 1:52.970 Class C David Ratcliff, Toyota Camry CSi 1:57.134 Class D Ric Shaw, Toyota MR2 Bathurst 1:55.417 Class E Nigel Stones, Suzuki Swift GTi 2:01.093

FURTHER INFORMATION: Paul Ryan, (0419) 295 285 FURTHER NEWS: http://www.gtprod.com.au