CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP PHILLIP ISLAND PRACTICE 15th MAY 1998 FITZY FIRES AS CROMPTON SETS WET PACE Reigning Champion Peter Fitzgerald set the pace in practice for round three of the Century Batteries ...
CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
PHILLIP ISLAND PRACTICE 15th MAY 1998
FITZY FIRES AS CROMPTON SETS WET PACE
Reigning Champion Peter Fitzgerald set the pace in practice for round three of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship at Phillip Island today but Ferrari driver Neil Crompton proved he will be one to watch with a stunning turn of speed in the wet.
John Bowe's Ferrari stand-in showed he could be a category stand-out performer after being third fastest in the morning session and then topping the timesheets in the afternoon rain affected session.
Fitzgerald chose not to venture out in the afternoon on wets, happy to have set the pace in the morning.
Crompton toppled Garry Waldon's Dodge Viper in the afternoon and Porsche 911 RSCS driver Rodney Forbes who earlier had been second fastest in the morning.
"I'm starting to feel more comfortable in the car and really looking forward to having a go on a dry track tomorrow in qualifying," Crompton said.
"I'm keen to see what both the car and its driver is capable of in dry conditions.
"The car feels quite nice and I'm certainly very hopeful of being competitive come Sunday afternoon."
The afternoon rain affected session produced some impressive performances with GTP Class D driver Ric Shaw (Toyota MR2) being sixth fastest, Targa Tasmania runner-up and GTP newcomer Craig Dean (Toyota Soarer) seventh fastest followed by ex-V8 Supercar driver John Trimbole aboard a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III.
The Class B pacesetter, Trimbole was fastest in both sessions, toppling Subaru WRX drivers Peter Boylan, Dean Canto and Trevor Haines.
The hotly contest family car Class C division was headed by the Holden Commodore V8 SS of Mark Cohen who fought back after dropping a valve in testing last Sunday.
Last round winner David Ratcliff (Toyota Camry CSi) was second fastest in both sessions. Melbourne Herald Sun Motoring Editor Paul Gover was third fastest in the opening session aboard the Ford Falcon XR8 while Mitsubishi Magna TE Sport pilot Steve Knight was third in the afternoon.
Toyota MR2 driver Ric Shaw starred in the wet afternoon session to be sixth fastest overall.
Shaw was more then 2.5 seconds quicker than his Class D nearest rival in the wet – team-mate Colin Osborne. Phil Kirkham was second fastest in the morning session aboard his Mazda 626.
Nigel Stones (Suzuki Swift GTi) was fastest in both sessions in Class E, outgunning last round winner Aaron McGill in both sessions.
RESULTS SESSION ONE 1. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS 1:46.664 2. Rodney Forbes, Porsche 911 RSCS 1:47.227 3. Neil Crompton, Ferrari F355 Challenge 1:48.064 4. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS 1:48.469 Class B John Trimbole, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III 2:00.806 Class C Mark Cohen, Holden Commodore VS SS 1:58.775 Class D Ric Shaw, Toyota MR2 Bathurst 1:57.711 Class E Nigel Stones, Suzuki Swift GTi 2:07.042
SESSION TWO 1. Neil Crompton, Ferrari F355 Challenge 2:02.123 2. Garry Waldon, Dodge Viper GTS 2:02.395 3. Rodney Forbes, Porsche 911 RSCS 2:02.468 4. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS 2:02.751 Class B John Trimbole, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III 2:10.359 Class C Mark Cohen, Holden Commodore VS SS 2:10.622 Class D Ric Shaw, Toyota MR2 Bathurst 2:09.022 Class E Nigel Stones, Suzuki Swift GTi 2:16.594
FURTHER INFORMATION: Paul Ryan, (0419) 295 285 FURTHER NEWS: http://www.gtprod.com.au