UTE: Clipsal:

ADELAIDE -- Holden drivers Scott Loadsman and Dave Griffin came out race winners and Lamborghini driver Paul Stokell maintained his dominant pre-race form as competition in the PROCAR Champ Series hit top gear here today. Loadsman, driving a ...

ADELAIDE -- Holden drivers Scott Loadsman and Dave Griffin came out race winners and Lamborghini driver Paul Stokell maintained his dominant pre-race form as competition in the PROCAR Champ Series hit top gear here today.

Loadsman, driving a Holden Commodore SS, won the first of two handicap races comprising round one of the Australian Production Car Championship at the Clipsal 500 meeting on the Adelaide Parklands street circuit.

He took the lead on the last of eight exciting laps after starting 25 seconds behind pole position.

Griffin clinched his win in the first V8 BRutes Series race of the 2004 season on the second-last lap, when leader Darren McDonald retired his Holden ute with a broken fuel line.

In the other categories under the PROCAR Champ Series umbrella, Paul Stokell was fastest in the second practice session (*) of the Australian Nations Cup Championship and Mazda RX-7 driver Ric Shaw topped qualifying for round one of the Australian GT Performance Championship.

Stokell topped the Nations Cup field for the second day, but his best lap time of 1 minute 24.08 seconds was slower while his rivals picked up pace.

"We went backwards today and I don't really know why, except that we used old tyres," Stokell said.

"The other guys were closer to where they should be, so with everyone making a few more changes overnight, tomorrow should be pretty interesting."

Garry Rogers Motorsport driver Nathan Pretty improved by more than three seconds to claim second spot in a 7.0 litre Holden Monaro, while Denmark's Allan Simonsen picked up a second in his new Coopers Ferrari 550 Maranello.

James Brock, standing in for his father Peter Brock in the Team Brock Holden Monaro, finished fourth.

Nations Cup teams will have a busy day tomorrow, contesting qualifying, a sprint race and a twilight 20-lap feature.

Stokell backed up his Nations Cup appearance with a promising drive in the factory Volkswagen Golf during qualifying for GT Performance.

He qualified 12 th in a 30-car field in which the first 14 were covered by less than two seconds.

Ric Shaw scored pole position for the second year, ahead of Mark King in the factory-backed Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8 and Adelaide's Steve Knight, in a sister car.

After topping practice yesterday, King was relaxed about conceding to Shaw in qualifying.

"We're really happy with the car. We just worked on our race package today and we're not worried about not being on pole," the defending GTP champion said.

The GTP touring cars will contest three races, the first at 4.30 pm tomorrow.

Scott Loadsman broke the lap record on the way to his Production race win.

Seventeen-year-old Subaru Liberty driver Chris Alajajian also broke the record, but it was Loadsman's time of 1 min 40.71 sec that made it into the books.

Loadsman started 25 seconds behind pole in the last of four groups in the handicap race and had to overtake 13 cars in seven laps to claim the points in the defence of his 2003 title.

The works Proton Satria GTis of father and son David and Geoff Russell led for most of the race, but were overtaken first by Honda driver Ian Luff and then Loadsman and had to be content with third and fourth respectively.

Alajajian stalled on the start line due to an engine computer problem, but made up nine places to finish sixth.

Led by Dave Griffin, Holdens filled the top seven places in the first V8 BRutes race of the year.

Adelaide Holden driver Gary Baxter came a close second and Team Brock rookie Benn Wilson rounded out the podium.

Rentco Holden pilot Paul Leaver had the biggest smile of all after his sponsor awarded him a bonus $10,000 for finishing in fourth position.

The event had very little of the biff-and-barge action often seen in the V8 BRutes, but provided extremely close racing behind the leading trio.

Griffin was ecstatic to take the win after McDonald retired.

"I was chasing as hard as I could, wearing my tyres out and then something let go from (McDonald's) car," Griffin said.

"Whatever came out was really slippery and I got all crossed up but made it through.

"I've never worked that hard in my life!"

(* this was described incorrectly in yesterday's report as a qualifying session.)

-procar.au-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Steve Knight , Nathan Pretty , Garry Rogers , Allan Simonsen , Peter Brock , Ric Shaw , Paul Stokell , Mark King , Scott Loadsman , James Brock , Dave Griffin , Chris Alajajian
Teams Garry Rogers Motorsport
Tags AUSUTE