ASTC: Queensland: Paul Morris maintains record

Gold Coast driver Paul Morris today maintained his 100-percent winning record in this year's BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship by taking the chequered flag in both races of the second round at the Lakeside circuit near ...

Gold Coast driver Paul Morris today maintained his 100-percent winning record in this year's BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship by taking the chequered flag in both races of the second round at the Lakeside circuit near Brisbane.

Morris had previously won all three races in his Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i in the opening round at Oran Park in Sydney on May 28. He has also collected three bonus points for claiming pole position as fastest qualifier at both rounds and now leads the championship with 78 points. The 33-year-old raced with a 40kg weight penalty at Lakeside after his Oran Park victories.

Brisbane's David Auger, who went into the Brisbane round 16 points behind Morris, retained second position in the championship with an improved tally of 46. Auger finished fifth and third in the two races at Lakeside. Sydney teenager Alan Gurr is third in the championship on 40 points. He scored 22 points on the 2.4km Lakeside circuit in his Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo.

Morris won the opening race over 17 laps in 15-mins 58.22-secs, finishing 9.64-secs clear of Sydney policeman John Henderson in a Holden Vectra. Henderson led the race briefly during the middle stages, but was forced to slow toward the end because of a collapsed front strut. Gurr was third, but his team-mate, 1999 Independents Cup champion Peter Hills, retired after one lap with an oil leak.

Sydney's Jim Cornish made a controversial debut in his updated Visit Your Vet Honda Accord. Cornish finished fourth, but had four championship points deducted after being found guilty of careless driving by Race Director Peter Wollerman after colliding with the SAE College-Roadchill Express BMW 318i of Newcastle's Luke Searle. Cornish also had seven points taken from his Independents Cup tally over the same incident.

Morris won the second race over 27 laps in 25-mins 7.88-secs, and finished 25.02-secs clear of Gurr, who was followed by Auger, Searle, and Cornish. After taking an early lead Morris made a pitstop on lap two to change a damaged front tyre and resumed racing at the rear of the field. He reeled off a series of sizzling laps, including the fastest time of the round, 53.60-secs, and regained the lead on lap 15. Auger, who led a championship race for the first time of his career, continued a close battle with Gurr, Searle and the Trinovin Nissan Primera of NSW's Aaron McGill for the remaining podium positions. Gurr eventually claimed second, narrowly ahead of Auger, Searle, and Cornish.

Henderson was unable to drive in race two because his Vectra could not be repaired in the time available. Auger retained the lead in the Independents Cup with an improved score of 73 points, while Perth's Allan Letcher remained second on 46 in his McGill Motorsport Ford Mondeo. The third round of the championship is at Oran Park in Sydney on July 9. Morris will again race with a 40kg weight penalty at Oran Park after his wins at Lakeside.

DRIVER QUOTES:

PAUL MORRIS (Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320): “The extra weight (40kg) wasn't as much of a problem at this track as I thought it might be. Maybe it's going to be different at other places. Our only real problem here was at the start of the second race. On the second lap the car started understeering and running wide in the corners. I thought maybe the right-front tyre was going down so I went into the pits. The tyre was damaged so it was the right thing to do. Once we got going again I settled into the groove and the BMW was as strong as ever."

DAVID AUGER (Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo): “We struggled all weekend because the car wouldn't handle as well as we would have liked. In the circumstances our results weren't too bad and I'm happy to come away still second in the championship."

ALAN GURR (Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo): “Finishing on the podium in both races is more than I could have expected. I'm still learning my way and when the cars are nose-to-tail like today it's going to improve my racecraft. I was running the Mondeo up the inside of the others, or trying to go around the outside, and they were doing the same to me."

JOHN HENDERSON (Henderson Racing Holden Vectra): “I had an awesome race going with Paul (Morris) until about five laps from the end when the front strut collapsed. It left me with no brakes and I had to slam through the gears to slow down. I also had a big slide under the bridge, but I was able to finish and get some points. My aim is to win one of these races - I think I can."

JIM CORNISH (Visit Your Vet Honda Accord): "My car collected some hits in the front and the back, which happens when the racing is close. I'm a little cornerned some of the hits were in high-speed places where you can badly damage cars, and drivers can get hurt. At the same time I'm pleased with how competitive we were and how good the Honda went." <pre> RESULTS - RACE 1 (17 laps): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i 15:58.22 2. John Henderson (NSW) Henderson Racing Holden Vectra 16:07.86 3. Allan Gurr (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 16:14.69 4. Jim Cornish (NSW) Visit Your Vet Honda Accord 16:18.73 5. David Auger (Qld) Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo 16:19.31 6. Allan Letcher (WA) McGill Motorsport Ford Mondeo 16:31.03 7. Luke Searle (NSW) SAE College-Roadchill Express BMW 318i 16:36.10 8. Carlos Rolfo (Qld) Bocoo-Global Express Peugeot 405 16:44.78 9. Aaron McGill (NSW) Trinovin Nissan Primera 16:55.12 10. Michael Downard (Vic) MPD Racing BMW 318i 2 laps down FASTEST LAP: Henderson 54.72-secs

RESULTS - RACE 2 (27 laps): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i 25:07.88 2. Alan Gurr (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 25:32.90 2. David Auger (Qld) Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo 25:33.98 4. Luke Searle (NSW) SAE College-Roadchill Express BMW 318i 25:34.09 5. Jim Cornish (NSW) Visit Your Vet Honda Accord 25:36.91 6. Brad Stratton (Qld) Motorsports Developments Toyota Carina Lap down

7. Allan Letcher (WA)  McGill Motorsport Ford Mondeo   Lap down
8. Michael Downard (Vic) MPD Racing BMW 318i    2 laps down
FASTEST LAP:  Morris 53.60-secs

DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 2): Morris 78, Auger 46, Gurr 40, Henderson 28, Letcher 25, Hills 22, Searle 18, Downard 14, McGill 13 , Miller 11, Cornish 10, Leabeater 8, Stratton 5, Rolfo 3, Fitzgerald 2

INDEPENDENTS CUP (after round 2): Auger 73, Letcher 46, Downard 33, Searle 32, Leabeater 24, Miller 22, Cornish 20, Stratton 8, Rolfo 6, Fitzgerald 6

TEAMS CHAMPIONSHIP (after round 2): Knight Racing 84, McGill Motorsport 84, Motorsport Developments 12

-Mike Porter-

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