Stokell wins first Nations Cup race at Grand Prix

THREE-time Australian champion driver Paul Stokell steered his Lamborghini Diablo SVR to an all-the-way win in the first leg of the Cleanevent Nations Cup at the Qantas Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne today. Taking pole position in the...

THREE-time Australian champion driver Paul Stokell steered his Lamborghini Diablo SVR to an all-the-way win in the first leg of the Cleanevent Nations Cup at the Qantas Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne today.

Taking pole position in the first-ever rolling start for the Nations Cup category, Stokell led throughout the eight-lap event, holding off a late challenge from series newcomer Cameron McConville in a Ferrari F360 Challenge.

Defending Nations Cup champion Jim Richards was third in a Porsche GT3.

Although he dominated the race, Stokell was in fact battling failing brakes and was relieved when the safety car was brought out for two laps at half-distance, allowing the brakes to recover.

McConville observed the Lamborghini's problem and set out to catch it when the race resumed.

"I could see Paul pumping the brakes and I thought with two laps to run I might just catch him," said McConville, whose chase delivered the fastest lap of the race on the last lap.

Brake problems eliminated the Ferrari of Mark Noske after one lap, while his teammate Sam Newman also failed to finish in an identical car.

Peter Fitzgerald drove a Porsche GT3 to fourth place in today's race, with Rusty French finishing close behind in his upgraded Chrysler Viper ACR.

Tomorrow's second-leg race will feature a reverse grid, with Stokell starting from the back.

<pre> RESULTS: 1. Paul Stokell (Lamborghini Diablo SVR) 2. Cameron McConville (Cameron McConville (Ferrari F360 Challenge) 3. Jim Richards (Porsche GT3) 4. Peter Fitzgerald (Porsche GT3) 5. Rusty French (Dodge Viper ACR) 6. Dominic Beninca (Porsche GT3) (Pole position - Stokell, 2 min. 6.033 sec. Fastest race lap - McConville, 2:07.295)

TIMETABLE: Friday 4.55 pm - Race 2# (10 laps, reverse grid). Saturday 3.05 pm - Race 3# (10 laps).

-Chris Nixon

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Cameron McConville , Jim Richards , Mark Noske , Peter Fitzgerald , Paul Stokell , Rusty French