Stokell Fastest in Nations Cup And GT Performance Practice at Oran Park SYDNEY -- Lamborghini's Paul Stokell staked a claim on another swag of points in the Australian Nations Cup Championship when he topped the timesheets in official practice...
Stokell Fastest in Nations Cup And GT Performance Practice at Oran Park
SYDNEY -- Lamborghini's Paul Stokell staked a claim on another swag of points in the Australian Nations Cup Championship when he topped the timesheets in official practice for round two at Oran Park, near Sydney, today.
Stokell lapped the 2.6 kilometre circuit in 1 minute 9.84 seconds, almost half a second faster than second-placed Nathan Pretty but still well outside his own lap record set last year.
The strong early form put Stokell in a good position to build his lead in the championship over three races this weekend, although he expects Holden Monaro driver Nathan Pretty to mount a challenge.
"We were fastest, but not by much and we were on new tyres," said Stokell, the defending Nations Cup champion.
"Nathan will be a problem tomorrow. He was only 0.4 seconds behind and he was on old tyres."
Peter Brock was third fastest in his season return aboard the Bathurst 24-Hour winning Monaro, while Sydney's David Stevens debuted another newcomer to the GT sports car series, a 600 horsepower Porsche GT2.
Stokell also went fastest in two red-hot sessions for the Australian GT Performance Championship, although he finished the day with his factory-entered Volkswagen Golf R32 buried in a tyre wall.
Stokell, who is bidding to win both championships this season, said the Volkswagen's brakes locked as he attempted to stop at the end of the straight.
The car was heavily damaged and for tomorrow's qualifying and first of three round-two races he will take over the identical Golf of newly-appointed teammate Tim Leahy, whose weekend is now over.
Mazda RX-7 expert Ric Shaw was the only driver beside Stokell to break into the 1 min. 16 sec. bracket and shares the provisional front row -- but behind them are 14 cars separated by less than 0.9 sec.
Leahy was the first of these, but as he is now out of the meeting, defending champion Mark King moves up a spot in the official Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8.
GT Performance witnessed the day's most spectacular incident, when current series leader Justin Hemmes ran off turn one at 200 kmh.
Hemmes' Subaru Impreza rolled four times, vaulted a safety barrier and flew through a trackside billboard.
He was not hurt, but the car was destroyed and will be replaced by a spare for the rest of the weekend.
n round two of the V8 BRutes Series, Damien White topped two practice sessions in his Team Brock Holden SS ute, ahead of Dave Griffin in another Holden and Grant Denyer in the first of the Ford brigade.
This weekend's 18-race PROCAR Champ Series meeting also will feature the Australian Production Car Championship, Australian Formula 3 Championship, Australian Porsche Drivers Challenge and Formula Green Futureracers Series.
Australian Nations Cup Championship (Rd 2)
1. Paul Stokell (Lamborghini Diablo) 1 min. 9.94sec.
2. Nathan Pretty (Holden Monaro) 1:10.30
3. Peter Brock (Holden Monaro) 1:12.55
4. Steve Borness (Porsche) 1:13.32
5. John Teulan (Ferrari 360) 1:14.41
6. David Stevens (Porsche GT2) 1:14.51
Australian GT Performance Championship (Rd 2)
1. Paul Stokell (Volkswagen Golf) 1 min. 16.14 sec.
2. Ric Shaw (Mazda RX-7) 1:16.17
3. Tim Leahy (Volkswagen Golf) 1:17.04
4. Mark King (Mitsubishi Evo 8) 1:17.08
5. Bob Hughes (Mitsubishi Evo 8) 1:17.11
6. Gary Young (Mitsubishi Evo 8) 1:17.31
V8 BRutes Series (Rd 2)
1. Damien White (Holden SS) 1 min. 22.82 sec.
2. Dave Griffin (Holden) 1:22.92
3. Grant Denyer (Ford Falcon XR8) 1:23.23
4. Allan Grice (Ford) 1:23.54
5. Charlie Kovacs (Holden) 1:23.55
6. Colin Dunn (Ford) 1:23.57
SPEED Read -- Round 2, PROCAR Champ Series
CATEGORIES: Australian Nations Cup Championship, Australian GT Performance Championship, Australian Production Car Championship, V8 BRutes Series, Australian Formula 3 Championship, Australian Porsche Drivers Challenge, Futureracers Series.
TIMETABLE: Saturday -- practice and qualifying for all categories; from 2.55 pm, racing for Nations Cup, GTP, V8 BRutes and Futureracers. Sunday -- from 9 am, total of 14 races for all categories.
TICKET PRICES: Weekend pass (Sat./Sun.) adult $35, concessions & children under 16 $10, children under 11 free, competitors' paddock $10. Free souvenir program for first 1500 patrons.