Richards is first GTP Nations Cup champion

Jim Richards cruised to victory in the inaugural Century Batteries GTP Nations Cup after a crash ended the hopes of his only challenger at the Gold Coast Indy today. The Victorian-based Porsche driver wrapped up the title in the seventh of...

Jim Richards cruised to victory in the inaugural Century Batteries GTP Nations Cup after a crash ended the hopes of his only challenger at the Gold Coast Indy today.

The Victorian-based Porsche driver wrapped up the title in the seventh of eight rounds by finishing third in a six-lap sprint, which was won by Peter Fitzgerald (Porsche) from Lamborghini's Paul Stokell.

Ferrari driver Mark Noske, the only competitor with a chance of delaying the championship conclusion until the final round at Bathurst next month, retired on lap two after an overtaking move on Peter Bradbury (Porsche) went wrong, sending him into a concrete safety barrier.

After taking out races on Friday and Saturday, Richards emerged as the round winner and with an unbeatable tally of 195 points in the Meguiar's Top Marques Drivers Championship.

Noske suffered a double misfortune, not only losing his chance of the championship, but also surrendering second place to Fitzgerald.

New Zealand-born Richards, who has competed in nine (correct) of the 10 annual Gold Coast Indy events in six different racing categories, was thrilled to add to a long list of motorsport titles achieved over more than 25 years' racing in Australia.

"GTP Nations Cup is the premier class in Australia other than V8 Supercars. They're not much slower and virtually all brands can get a start - Ferraris, Porsches, Lamborghinis, Vipers and so on - so it's a great title to win," he said.

"Winning the championship won't stop me going to Bathurst to race against Mark and Fitzy and the others and I plan to be back next year as well."

<pre> RESULTS, Race 3 (6 laps): 1. Peter Fitzgerald (Porsche GT3) 2. Paul Stokell (Lamborghini Diablo SVR) 3. Jim Richards (Porsche GT3) 4. Christian Jones (Ferrari F360 Challenge) 5. Mark Williamson (Porsche GT3) 6. Peter Bradbury (Porsche GT3)

MEGUIAR'S TOP MARQUES DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP: 1. Jim Richards 195 2. Peter Fitzgerald 141 3. Mark Noske 137 4. Paul Stokell 112 5. Peter Bradbury 91 6. Mark Williamson 86

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