ASTC: Round 5 Lakeside Preview

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 5 PREVIEW: Lakeside, Queensland, Sunday, June 28 COMPULSORY PIT-STOPS DISCARDED Compulsory pit-stops introduced in...

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 5 PREVIEW: Lakeside, Queensland, Sunday, June 28 COMPULSORY PIT-STOPS DISCARDED Compulsory pit-stops introduced in this year's BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship will be temporarily discarded for the fifth round at Lakeside in Queensland this Sunday (June 28). Kelvin O'Reilly, Chief Executive of championship organisers TOCA Australia, said the decision had been made because the CAMS Track Safety Committee had expressed concern over the pit exit. "The CAMS Track Safety Committee felt there could be a problem with cars re-entering the track so we have decided not to run the pit-stops at Lakeside," said O'Reilly.

The format for Lakeside will be two 25-lap races, which is reverting to the system of two identical length events in all championships rounds from 1994-97. In the previous four rounds of this year's championship there were two races of 40km and 80km in length, with the second event including a compulsory pit-stop to change two wheels. O'Reilly said the pit-stops would return for the second race of the final three rounds at Mallala near Adelaide on July 19, Winton in Victoria on August 9, and at Sydney's Amaroo Park on August 30. "Lakeside has always produced exciting racing in the championship without pit-stops in past years, and that will continue this weekend," said O'Reilly. "In fact, it could be a plus because it adds some variety and places more attention on other factors such as tyre durability." WORKS VOLVO & AUDI TEAMS SET FOR ANOTHER BATTLE Volvo driver Jim Richards and the rival works Audi team believe Lakeside will be critical in the outcome of their ongoing battle for the 1998 title. At the half-way point of the eight-round championship Richards and Audi Sport Australia driver Brad Jones are equal first in the championship with 95 points. Jones' Victorian team-mate Cameron McConville is third on 87 points. "There's nothing in it between Volvo and Audi and every point counts from now on," said Richards. The five-times Bathurst 1000 champion said his prospects at Lakeside had been boosted by the fact he had tested his front-drive Volvo Dealer Team S40 regularly this year on the 2.4km circuit near Brisbane. "All the testing we've done at Lakeside could give us an advantage because we've learnt what car set-ups will work on the Volvo in various conditions, and we've also had the chance to evaluate tyres," he said. "With no pit-stops there will be extra stress on the tyres, but if the Audis win the start, as we expect, it gives us more time to chase them down. It's going to be tough weekend." Richards has won races in the past two rounds at Phillip Island in Victoria on May 17, and at Eastern Creek in Sydney on June 7, the first championship victories by the Swedish manufacturer. Jones, who won the national Super Touring title in 1996, said his chances of winning the title again could depend on whether Audi could improve on a series of disappointing results at Lakeside since the German manufacturer entered the series three years ago. Since 1995 the 38-year-old from Albury has made 10 championship race starts at Lakeside, winning only once, and failing to finish four times because of crashes and mechanical problems. "I've been caught up in some big shunts at Lakeside in the run to the first corner, and generally I haven't had a lot of luck there," said Jones. "The track doesn't particularly suit the (four-wheel-drive) Audis, but we've got to improve. Our aim will be to try and score as many points as possible, and then press on at some of the later rounds at circuits where our cars go better." McConville, 24, led the championship for the opening three rounds, but slipped to third place after failing to finish the second race at Eastern Creek. "Winning championships is all about being consistent, so at Lakeside we have to regain some of the momentum we lost at Eastern Creek," said McConville. McLEAN'S EX-WORKS BMW A PROVEN WINNER AT LAKESIDE If history means anything, the Greenfield Mowers Racing BMW 320 driven by Queenslander Cameron McLean must be favourite to win at Lakeside. The ex-BMW Motorsport works car McLean is driving was raced to victory by Queenslander Paul Morris in the past six championship races at Lakeside since 1996. McLean's confidence was further boosted by leading most of race one in the previous round at Eastern Creek. The Independents Cup leader eventually finished fourth, after spinning off the track on the final lap. "I've led races and run the same pace as the Volvo and Audis, so now I need a win," said McLean. "My BMW has been the best car around Lakeside in the last few years, and I'm confident because, like Volvo, we test there. It's difficult to pass at Lakeside, so if you have to qualify on the front-row." INDEPENDENTS CUP UPDATE Queenslander MALCOLM REA will make his championship debut at Lakeside in a Toyota Carina imported from Singapore earlier this year. The car was raced in the FIA Super Touring World Cup in 1994 and the British championship the following year. Rea tested the car for the first time at Lakeside on June 19, completing a 40-lap systems check without any problems. The 48-year-old from the Sunshine Coast aims to race the remainder of the championship and in the AMP Bathurst 1000 on October 4. He contested the Bathurst 1000 event in 1992-93-94 in Toyota Corollas. NSW's MARK ADDERTON believes his commitments as a instructor for Ian Luff Advanced Driving at Oran Park, and for Porsche, are factors in his improvement this year. Adderton finished 13th in the 1997 championship and seventh in the Independents Cup in a Toyota Camry. This year he is fifth in the championship and second in the Independents Cup in an Attitude Clothing Honda Accord. Adderton said his duties as an instructor included training in high-performance cars such as sports sedans and Formula Fords. "I've got my seat in a car three days a week and it keeps you sharp," said Adderton. "We do a lot of work with car control - it all helps." This year Adderton has finished in the top five on six occasions from eight starts in the past four championship rounds. DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 4): Jim Richards (Volvo) 95, Brad Jones (Audi) 95, Cameron McConville (Audi) 87, Cameron McLean (BMW) 58, Mark Adderton (Honda) 42, Peter Hills (Ford) 22, Bob Holden-Trevor Sheumack-Justin Matthews (BMW) 23, Bob Tweedie (Vauxhall) 22, Troy Searle (BMW) 21, Ron Searle (Toyota) 21, David Auger (Alfa Romeo) 11, Adam Kaplan (Nissan) 11, John Henderson (Opel) 8, Paul Pickett-Rick Shaw 6, Aaron McGill (Ford) 3, Anthony Robson-Craig Bradshaw (BMW) 2, Dwayne Bewley (Peugeot) 1 MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 4): Audi 114, Volvo 102 INDEPENDENTS CUP CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 4): Cameron McLean (BMW) 98, Mark Adderton (Honda) 80, Peter Hills (Ford) 58, Bob Tweedie (Vauxhall) 47, Bob Holden-Trevor Sheumack-Justin Matthews (BMW) 47, Ron Searle (Toyota) 40, Troy Searle (BMW) 38, Paul Pickett-Rick Shaw-Aaron McGill (Ford) 27, David Auger (Alfa Romeo) 26, Adam Kaplan (Nissan) 23, John Henderson (Opel) 15, Anthony Robson-Craig Bradshaw 8, Dwayne Bewley (Peugeot) 4, Tony Newman (Peugeot) 3, Carlos Rolfo (BMW) 3 TEAMS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 4): Audi Sport Australia 96, Knight Racing 64

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Series General
Drivers Cameron McConville , Jim Richards , Brad Jones , Paul Morris , Cameron McLean , Trevor Sheumack , Aaron McGill , David Auger , Ian Luff , Peter Hill , Anthony Robson , Justin Matthews , Bob Holden , Craig Bradshaw , Phillip Island