ASTC: Mount Panorama Super Touring Race Report

BOB JANE T-MARTS BATHURST '99 - Mount Panorama, NSW SUPER TOURING RACE REPORT: Sunday, October 3 MORRIS WINS BATHURST IN POURING RAIN Queensland's Paul Morris today erased the bitter memories of his disqualification from first place in the...

BOB JANE T-MARTS BATHURST '99 - Mount Panorama, NSW SUPER TOURING RACE REPORT: Sunday, October 3

MORRIS WINS BATHURST IN POURING RAIN

Queensland's Paul Morris today erased the bitter memories of his disqualification from first place in the 1997 Bathurst 1000 with his first major endurance race win at Mount Panorama in wet conditions.

The 31-year-old from the Gold Coast drove his NEMO Racing BMW 320 to victory in the feature Super Touring event at the Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst '99 meeting. The race was stopped because of poor weather after 50 of the scheduled 81 laps. The final 17 laps were held under Safety Car conditions.

Morris finished first in the 1997 Bathurst 1000, but was later disqualified after it was found his BMW Motorsport team-mate Craig Baird had exceeded the continuous driving limit of 3-hrs and 30-mins. Earlier this year Morris established his own team in Southport and won the 1999 BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship.

Rain fell throughout today's race and Morris won in 2-hrs 55-mins 31.59-secs, finishing 1.63-secs ahead of the works Volvo S40 raced by six-times Bathurst 1000 champion Jim Richards. Queensland's Cameron McLean, who was Richards' co-driver, did not compete in the race. The other works Volvo raced by New Zealander Baird and Victorian Matthew Coleman was third. The top three were the only cars on the lead lap when the race was stopped.

Victorian Michael Downard recorded the best result of his career when he and New Zealand's Mark Porter finished a creditable fourth in the MPD Racing BMW 318. They won the Denny Hulme Trophy as Rookies of the Year.

Peter Hills, who drove with fellow-NSW driver Ron Searle, was in the top three in the early stages of the race, but was later slowed by battery problems in his Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo. The team's other car, driven by teenagers Dean Canto and Leanne Ferrier, went out of the race on lap 24. Canto speared off the wet and dangerous track into a sandtrap.

Morris led the opening lap, but was soon overtaken by Richards. On lap 16 Morris regained the lead and was never headed from that point. There were three Safety Car periods during the race.

QUOTES:

PAUL MORRIS (NEMO Racing BMW 320): "After what happened a couple of years ago I'm pretty excited to finally win at Bathurst. My team called me into the pits at just the right time and I was able to stay in the lead. I would have preferred it if we had been able to finish under race conditions because I think I had the legs on the Volvo today. It's been a fantastic year, firstly winning the championship and now Bathurst. You can't do much better than that."

JIM RICHARDS (Volvo Racing S40): "Congratulations to Paul (Morris) because he was in front when it counted. It was a terrible day weather-wise, but we stayed out there and gave it our best. We had some tyre problems, but after we put some fresh rubber on the car we were back up to speed again. The rain was not as bad as when we were here in '96, but the fog across the top of the Mountain caused vision problems for everyone."

MICHAEL DOWNARD (MPD Racing BMW 318): "Our result is very pleasing. We stayed out there and circulated when others had problems. The only drama was when Mark (Porter) had a spin, but it didn't damage the car too much. Fourth at Bathurst is just great for us."

PETER HILLS (Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo): "We had low battery warnings, but I was able to keep the car going by playing with the various knobs and dials and flicking the power, demister, and lights on and off. At one stage I was wiping the windows with my seat belts."

MATTHEW COLEMAN (Volvo Racing S40): "I understand why the race was stopped. The officials had to do the right thing by the competitors. It was probably the right thing to do."

TIM SCHENKEN (Clerk of Course): "Rather than prolong the agony, we decided to end the race behind the Safety Car. Both the forecast and the information from the helicopter was that there was going to be no change so our decision was made. Our decision was vindicated because at 6pm conditions remained unsuitable for racing."

RACE RESULTS (50 laps): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. P. Morris NEMO Racing BMW 320 2.55:31.59 2. J. Richards-C. McLean Volvo Racing S40 2.55:33.22 3. C. Baird-M. Coleman Volvo Racing S40 2.55:33.68 4. M. Downard-M. Porter MPD Racing BMW 318 Lap down 5. R. Salmon-D. White Salmon Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Lap down 6. M. Newton-A. Lloyd Rod Jones Racing Vauxhall Vectra Lap down 7. J. Cornish-R. Townshend Visit Your Vet Nissan Primera Lap down 8. P. Hills-R. Searle Signature Security System Ford Mondeo Lap down 9. J. Miller-M. Kilpatrick Archerfield Speed Karts Toyota Camry 2 laps down 10. D. Chapman-B. Chapman Fraemohs Homes BMW 318 2 laps down 11. M. Miles-M. Cleland Bruce Miles BMW 318 3 laps down 12. A. Letcher-J. Thompson Grid Motorsport BMW 318 4 laps down 13. A. McGill-G. Quartly Trinovin Ford Mondeo 11 laps down 14. M. Rea-D. Cribbin Toyota Team Queensland Carina 12 laps down 15. C. Elias-P. Leabeater Redline Racing Hyundai Lantra 16 laps down DNF T. Newman TC Motorsport Peugeot 406 25 laps DNF D. Canto-L. Ferrier Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 24 laps DNF T. Searle-L. Searle Roadchill-SAE College BMW 318 9 laps DNF C. Haynes-C. Rolfo Toyota Team Queensland Carina 6 laps FASTEST LAP: Richards 2-mins 38.13-secs AVERAGE RACE SPEED: 106-km/h

MEDIA ENQUIRES: Mike Porter, Publicist TOCA Australia - E-Mail: mikep@qldnet.com.au

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Series General
Drivers Denny Hulme , Jim Richards , Dean Canto , Craig Baird , Paul Morris , Bob Jane , Mark Porter , Peter Hill