APR: Clipsal preview

Local aces take aim at Clipsal 500 glory When the 2005 Australian Performance Car Championship kicks off at the Clipsal 500 this weekend, a trio of South Australian drivers will have a little bit of added motivation. Craig Dontas and...

Local aces take aim at Clipsal 500 glory

When the 2005 Australian Performance Car Championship kicks off at the Clipsal 500 this weekend, a trio of South Australian drivers will have a little bit of added motivation.

Craig Dontas and Steve Cramp, both driving HSV GTS', and Michael Brock in a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO will all be flying the South Australian flag on the streets of the city of churches.

While on the track it's every South Australian for themselves, the trio agree on one thing -- there's nothing quite like racing at home and at the ultra-successful Clipsal 500.

"I think the fact that it has won the award every single year that it's been going speaks for itself," said Brock, whose car will carry the distinctive colours of local brewer Coopers Pale Ale. "The atmosphere is sensational and the organisational aspects of it are brilliant.

"The track is absolutely sensational. >From a personal level, Bathurst is probably the mecca, but next to that, the Adelaide street circuit is certainly the most exciting in Australia."

Steve Cramp, driver of the C.V.W. Engineering HSV VZ GTS, has raced at all but one Adelaide event since 1988 and always looks forward to racing around his home town's streets.

"I love the track," enthuses Cramp, who will steer a brand new HSV, the result of 420 man-hours from his team during the off season. "It's something I drive around almost daily, because I travel through that part of town, so its very familiar territory.

"The circuit itself is a challenging circuit; you have to get it right. Especially in a couple of places like the terraces, if you make a mistake there, you can lose seconds off your lap time."

By his own admission, Craig Dontas' career has 'slowed down a little' in recent times. Dontas returns to full-time racing, with backing from local companies Brice Metals and CSA Alloy Wheels, and will drive the HSV in which he has previously tasted success.

"It's like coming home again," said Dontas, 24. "I built this car with a few people a few years ago so I know what it can do and I know how good it is. So it's going to give me some confidence to get back out there and know that, fingers crossed, we should be on the pace and towards the front of the field."

Dontas expects the HSV's, including those he and Cramp will drive, will be able to hold their own around the 3.22km Adelaide street circuit against the diverse range of vehicles entered for the weekend.

"It'll probably fare quite well. They are a damn good car around there and you've got the long straight. The majority of the corners around there aren't slow they are quite fast so for us the HSV is going to be quite a bit of a beast, because it can stretch its legs and show its speed on the straights."

The South Australian trio are among a 24 car field, featuring some of Australia's favourite high performance cars from BMW, FPV, Nissan, Mazda, HSV, Mitsubishi and Subaru.

It's a potent combination that is sure to produce plenty of great racing during the course of the weekend over 3 x 9 lap races around the streets of Adelaide for the opening round of the 2005 Australian Performance Car Championship.

"Its going to be very competitive and a lot of fun," concluded Brock.

-www.performanceracing.net.au

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Series CAMS
Drivers Steve Cramp , Michael Brock