Three-time Australian driving champion Paul Stokell drove his Lamborghini Diablo to an all-the-way win today in the first of three races in the final round of the Century Batteries GTP Nations Cup at Mount Panorama, Bathurst. Stokell started from pole position and led throughout the seven-lap race in briefly dry conditions to win by two seconds from Porsche driver Peter Fitzgerald. Peter Bradbury was third in another Porsche. The result boosted Fitzgerald's hold on second place in the 2000 series, with challenger Mark Noske slipping back in the points as a result of a failed overtaking move. Noske was attempting to force his Ferrari past Fitzgerald at the end of lap four, but spun and could only recover to eighth at the finish. The points gap between the drivers has increased from four to 13. While Jim Richards, who finished fifth today, has already claimed the championship, Noske has two more races tomorrow and on Sunday to overtake Fitzgerald. Stokell said the Lamborghini had performed at its best on the fast Mount Panorama circuit, the 12-cylinder Italian coupe touching 276 kmh on Conrod Straight during the qualifying session earlier today. <pre> RESULTS: 1. Paul Stokell (Lamborghini Diablo SVR) 2. Peter Fitzgerald (Porsche 911 GT3) 3. Peter Bradbury (Porsche 911 GT3) 4. Mark Williamson (Porsche 911 GT3) 5. Jim Richards (Porsche 911 GT3) 6. Christian Jones (Ferrari F360 Challenge)
MEGUIAR'S TOP MARQUES DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP (after Race 1 of 3, Rd 8): 1. Jim Richards 201 4. Paul Stokell 128 2. Peter Fitzgerald 153 5. Peter Bradbury 101 3. Mark Noske 140 6. Mark Williamson 94
TIMETABLE: Saturday - 9.20 am - Race 2# (7 laps, reverse grid). Sunday - race 3# (10 laps).