Tight At The Top End On Territory Timesheets The start of a new financial year is one of the busiest times of the year for businesses all around the country; but this weekend is also a pretty busy time for the teams and drivers in the Donut...
Tight At The Top End On Territory Timesheets
The start of a new financial year is one of the busiest times of the year for businesses all around the country; but this weekend is also a pretty busy time for the teams and drivers in the Donut King Australian Performance Car Championship, which takes to Darwin's Hidden Valley Raceway this weekend for a round which marks the halfway point of the 2005 season.
The majority of the drivers in the field are having their first run at the Northern Territory circuit this weekend, with the 2.87km Hidden Valley layout drawing universal praise from the drivers on a day where three different manufacturers were represented within the top four.
At the end of two thirty minute practice sessions, it was Garry Holt (Century 21 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII) who emerged with the fastest time of 1:18.3137. Holt had an up and down run at Eastern Creek in May, where car pace was evident, compromised by a number of incidents and punctures in the races. Holt was understandably pleased with the result, the result of continual development work on the Lancer.
"I'm very happy with how it has gone," enthused Holt. "The work we have put into the development of the car, especially since Eastern Creek, is paying off for us on the track. We knew we had to improve the horsepower of the car, which we have done, and the handling of the car has also been worked on and is now brilliant."
Peter Floyd (BP Ultimate HSV GTS) led the session in the early stages, but in the end had to settle for second place. While on paper, the HSV's and FPV's looked like the car to have this weekend, the Lancer's have been able to hold their own against the bigger cars and Floyd ended the day a couple of tenths shy of Holt's benchmark.
"I'm surprised the Evo's are going as quickly as they are," Floyd admitted. "We made some changes with the car and it was a bit better in the second session. We are pretty happy with how its setup now and we'll see how it goes for the rest of the weekend."
Rounding out the top three for the day was Championship leader Mark King (Delphi Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII). King topped the opening session, in which the top three were separated by a mere six one-hundredths of a second, but couldn't better the time in the second session.
Having his strongest run of the year to date and relishing the Top End challenge, John Falk (Fibreglass International FPV MkII GT) set the fourth fastest time.
"We're pretty happy with where we are at the moment," said Falk. "I can't wait to put some new tyres on the car, as the setup on the car is working well. The rest of the weekend is going to be very interesting; all the times from the guys at the top of the order are very close, but hopefully we'll stay within the top four and maybe even find another place or two."
Steve Cramp (C.V.W Engineering HSV GTS) spent time in the day chasing clutch issues, but managed to end the day in fifth place and is pleased with the progress that was being made with the car despite the mechanical gremlins.
A power steering problem limited his running to just four laps in the opening session, but Barrie Nesbitt bounced back, rounding out the top six for the day in the new Donut King Holden Monaro which is having its first day on a race track.
"The car is brand new, and like any brand new car it's got a few little bugs," said Nesbitt. "The guys have done an awesome job with the car -- its chalk and cheese compared to the old one and there is still a lot of potential in it and a lot for us to learn about it."
Barry Morcom (Rondo Building Services Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII) was seventh, ahead of Peter Boylan. Boylan, who held the Hidden Valley lap record for the class prior to today's sessions, battled a misfire and high temperatures aboard the AussieHire.com.au BMW M3 in the opening session but was able to find form in the second and turn some competitive times.
The Donut King Australian Performance Car Championship drivers will be back on track for qualifying tomorrow at 10:30am, followed by the first race of the weekend -- of 25 laps -- at 4:20pm. On Sunday, the field have a further two races.
For more information on the Donut King Australian Performance Car Championship, visit www.performanceracing.net.au
Combined Hidden Valley Practice Top 6 1. Garry Holt - 1:18.3137 2. Peter Floyd - 1:18.5179 3. Mark King - 1:18.7822 4. John Falk - 1:19.2174 5. Steve Cramp - 1:19.2256 6. Barrie Nesbitt - 1:19.4236