ASTC: Oran Park race report

Queensland's Paul Morris extended his unbeaten record in this year's BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship by winning both races in the third round at Oran Park in Sydney today. Morris's results in fine conditions at Oran Park left him...

Queensland's Paul Morris extended his unbeaten record in this year's BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship by winning both races in the third round at Oran Park in Sydney today.

Morris's results in fine conditions at Oran Park left him with seven victories from as many starts in the opening three rounds of the championship in his all-conquering Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i, and he leads the series by 50 points.

The 33-year-old Gold Coast driver won the opening race at Oran Park over 28 laps in 39-mins 47.32-secs, and he finished 0.56-secs clear of second-placed Sydney policeman John Henderson in a Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra. Sydney teenager Allan Gurr was third in a Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo, followed by Queensland's David Auger in a Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo.

In the second race, over 23, laps, Morris took the chequered flag in 28-mins 42.70-secs, and had an advantage of 0.32-secs ahead of Henderson at the finish. Gurr provided further evidence of his ability and composure by again finishing third, followed by New Zealand's Dwayne Bewley, who made a creditable comeback to the championship after a two-year absence in the TC Motorsport Peugeot 406.

Morris scored 32 points for the round, and boosted his championship tally to 110. Gurr, who had contested only three race meetings before the start of the championship, is now second in the series on 60 points, two clear of Auger, with Henderson fourth on 52. Auger leads the Independents Cup on 101 points, with Perth-based Trinovin Ford Mondeo driver Alan Letcher second on 66, and Newcastle's Luke Searle third on 47 in a SAE College-Roadchill Express BMW 318i.

The first race included five laps under Safety Car conditions following an accident on the final corner of the opening lap involving Jamie Miller in a Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry, fellow-Sydney driver Paul Leabeater in a Redline Motorsport Hyundai Lantra, and Victorian James Brock in a Holden Commodore Future Tourer. The right rear wheel of Miller's Toyota was badly damaged, and there was a lengthy delay while the car was removed from the circuit by marshals. Earlier in the lap Miller was also involved in an incident with Bewley, which spun the Peugeot.

Sydney's Jim Cornish, who drove impressively in the previous round at Lakeside in Queensland on June 18, was forced out of the Oran Park meeting after his Visit Your Vet Honda Accord developed engine problems in race one. Aaron McGill, driving a Trinovin Nissan Primera, made a spectacular exit from the second race at the end of the main straight after the seat was dislodged in his car.

DRIVER QUOTES:

PAUL MORRIS (Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i): "We came away with a couple more wins, but John (Henderson) pushed me hard in both races. It seemed we were never more than 100m apart - there were places on the track where the BMW was quicker and other sections where he could make up time. It's good to have a points buffer in the championship because that could be important at the end of the season. Yesterday I had a sore throat in qualifying, but I felt much better today."

JOHN HENDERSON (Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra): "I can't be too disappointed with second because we threw everything at the BMW and our car was the best it's ever been. I tried to put as much pressure on Paul (Morris) as I could and force a mistake, but he kept it together."

ALAN GURR (Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo): "In the first race I couldn't quite run with the two guys in front of me (Morris and Henderson), so I concentrated on staying ahead of the group behind me. My lap times were consistent so third was a good result. The Peugeot was close to me in the last few laps of the second race, but I managed to stay ahead. It was good, clean racing. I didn't expect to be second in the championship at this stage, but the car is reliable and we're scoring points."

JAMIE MILER (Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry): "It was a disappointing day - I didn't even finish a lap! The accident happened when James (Brock) tried to do the right thing and move over to let us through. I think his clutch was slipping. I tried to go up the inside of the Hyundai and then we touched. After that cars were spinning everywhere and I'm not sure what happened. My car is badly damaged." <pre> RESULTS - RACE 1 (28 laps): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i 39:47.32 2. John Henderson (NSW) Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra 39:47.88 3. Allan Gurr (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 39:50.65 4. David Auger (Qld) Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo 39:53.41 5. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 40:02.71 6. Aaron McGill (NSW) Trinovin Nissan Primera 40:14.25 7. Allan Letcher (WA) McGill Motorsport Ford Mondeo 40:37.69 8. Anthony Robson (NSW) Grid Motorsport BMW 318i 3 laps down 9. Dwayne Bewley (NZ) TC Motorsport Peugeot 406 5 laps down FASTEST LAP: Henderson 1-min 13.561-secs NOTE: Race 1 included 5 laps under Safety Car conditions

RESULTS - RACE 2 (23 laps): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i 28:42.70 2. John Henderson (NSW) Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra 28:43.02 3. Alan Gurr (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 28:45.11 4. Dwayne Bewley (NZ) TC Motorsport Peugeot 406 28:45.67 5. Luke Searle (NSW) SAE College-Roadchill Express BMW 318i 29:00.26 6. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 29:01.87 7. David Auger (Qld) Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo 29:01.95 8. Anthony Robson (NSW) Grid Motorsport BMW 318i 29:19.83 9. Allan Letcher (WA) Trinovin Ford Mondeo 29:47.20 FASTEST LAP: Morris 1-min 13.15-secs

DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 3): Morris 110, Gurr 60, Auger 58, Henderson 52, Hills 33, Letcher 31, Searle 24, McGill 18, Downard 14, Miller 11, Bewley 10, Cornish 10, Leabeater 8, Robson 6, Stratton 5, Rolfo 3, Fitzgerald 2

INDEPENDENTS CUP POINTS (after round 3): Auger 101, Letcher 66, Searle 47, Downard 33, Leabeater 24, Miller 23, Cornish 20, Robson 20, Stratton 8, Rolfo 6, Fitzgerald 6

TEAMS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 3): Knight Racing 141, McGill Motorsport 112, Motorsport Developments 12

FUTURE TOURERS POINTS (after round 2): Shaw 72, D'Agostin 49, Webb 30, Domaschenz 22, Hagward, Wade 18, Brock 16, Holt 12, Sidebottom 10

Mike Porter mikep@qldnet.com.au

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Series General
Drivers Paul Morris , Alan Gurr , Luke Searle , Aaron McGill , David Auger , Peter Hill , Anthony Robson , Alan Letcher