ASTC: Symmons Plains - Morris clinches championship title

All-conquering BMW driver Paul Morris clinched his fourth BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship title with two race wins at Symmons Plains in Tasmania today. The 33-year-old Queenslander won both 27-lap races in the sixth round in ...

All-conquering BMW driver Paul Morris clinched his fourth BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship title with two race wins at Symmons Plains in Tasmania today.

The 33-year-old Queenslander won both 27-lap races in the sixth round in his Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i, and now has an unbeatable 88-point lead in the championship over second-placed John Henderson. Queenslander David Auger also claimed the Independents Cup title for the first time.

Morris scored the maximum 32 points on the 2.4km circuit near Launceston to boost his series tally to 206 points. Henderson finished third in the two races at Symmons Plains and improved his total to 118 points. However, Henderson cannot deprive Morris of the title, regardless of results in the final two rounds at Wakefield Park near Goulburn in January and at Oran Park in Sydney in February.

Morris previously won the championship in 1995, 1997, and 1999 in BMWs. He has now recorded 46 race wins in the series since his debut in 1994, including 13 in succession this year. The main opposition for Morris at Symmons Plains was provided by Tasmanian Owen Kelly, who finished second in both races. He drove a Thermo King BMW 320i prepared by Morris' Gold Coast team.

In the first race Morris won in 27-mins 29.34-secs, and was 0.40-secs clear of Kelly, who led for a total of seven laps. He was followed by Henderson in a Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra, Sydney's Jamie Miller in a Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry, and Auger in a Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo. Sydney's Jim Cornish withdrew because of electrical problems with his Visit Your Vet Honda Accord. Victorian James Brock won the V8 Future Tourers class for the first time in his Biante Model Cars Holden Commodore.

Morris won race two in 27-mins 33.22-secs, and was only 0.10-secs ahead of Kelly at the finish. The pair swapped the lead several times during the race, and Kelly led for 11 laps. Henderson was again third, with Newcastle's Luke Searle fourth in a Roadchill Express-SAE College BMW 320i, and Auger fifth. Tasmanian Tim Shaw won the V8 Future Tourers class in a ISASI-Carplan Holden Commodore. Searle finished with most points for the round in the Independents Cup.

Shaw was involved in an incident with the Trinovin Nissan Primer raced by NSW's Aaron McGill in the pre-race warm-up. The front of Shaw's Holden and the left-rear of McGill's Nissan were damaged after contact at the hairpin at the end of the main straight. Race Director Peter Wollerman later announced Shaw had been guilty of "breaching the code of driving conduct" and was penalised by being forced to start both races from the rear of the grid.

DRIVER QUOTES:

PAUL MORRIS (Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i)
"My team is the best in the paddock and that's why we've won this championship. They've done a top job - it's hard enough to finish 13 races in a row, let alone win them all. Owen (Kelly) did a good job in our second car and I couldn't be happier with the way things have gone. This championship feels as good as any of the other three."

OWEN KELLY (Thermo King BMW 320i)
"I'm pleased with my results. It would have been good to win one of the races, but it was close and I was happy to be competitive. Hopefully I can do some more races in this championship. The cars are great to drive."

JOHN HENDERSON (Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra)
"This track was not so good for the front-wheel-drive cars because we couldn't get out of the tight corners like the BMWs. There was a bunch of us close together in the first race until a few of them made contact. Luckily I got though and was able to stay out of trouble."

DAVE AUGER (Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo)
"This is my fourth year in the Independents Cup so I'm thrilled to finally win it. We've achieved our aim this season, and now I'll try and keep third place in the championship over the last couple of rounds. Next year I may run a V8 Future Tourer."

LUKE SEARLE (Roadchill Express-SAE College BMW 320i)
"We had a fast car today and I should have done better in the first race, but I got mixed up with some other cars at the hairpin. The second race was much better and fourth was a great result. The BMWs were strong here."

TIM SHAW (Shaw Motorsport Holden Commodore)
"I was coming up to the hairpin (in the warm-up) and locked up the front under brakes. It was my mistake and Aaron (McGill) was ahead of me. He seemed to go to the right side of the track and I thought I'd shoot up the 'escape road'. When Aaron turned in we hit. It was unfortunate he became part of my accident."

AARON McGILL (Trinovin Nissan Primera)
"My team had a lot of work to do before the first race after the drama in the warm-up. The left-rear upright was broken, along with the supporting arms, and the brake lines were pulled out. The Commodore slammed into me like a missile, and it spun me around."

<pre> RESULTS - RACE 1 (27 laps): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i 27:29.34 2. Owen Kelly (Tas) Thermo King BMW 320i 27:29.74 3. John Henderson (NSW) Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra 27:33.65 4. Jamie Miller (NSW) Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry 28:07.43 5. David Auger (Qld) Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo 28:07.87 6. Mark Zonneveld (A.C.T.) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 28:15.87 7. James Brock (Vic) Biante Model Cars Holden Commodore 28:22.19 8. Jason Domaschenz (Vic) APS Racing Holden Commodore 28:23.18 9. Luke Searle (NSW) Roadchill Express-SAE College BMW 320i Lap down 10. Tim Shaw (Tas) Shaw Motorsport Holden Commodore Lap down 11. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 2 laps down 12. Aaron McGill (NSW) Trinovin Nissan Primera 4 laps down FASTEST LAP: Morris 59.40-secs

RESULTS - RACE 2 (27 laps): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i 27:33.22 2. Owen Kelly (Tas) Thermo King BMW 320i 27:33.23 3. John Henderson (NSW) Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra 27:36.11 4. Luke Searle (NSW) SAE College-Roadchill Express BMW 3120i 27:46.58 5. David Auger (Qld) Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo 28:00.01 6. Jim Cornish (NSW) Visit Your Vet Honda Accord 28:03.36 7. Mark Zonneveld (A.C.T.) TC Motorsport Peugeot 406 28:12.68 8. Jamie Miller (NSW) Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry 28:15.99 9. Tim Shaw (Tas) Shaw Motorsport Holden Commodore 28:31.11 10. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 28:36.20 11. Jason Domaschenz (Vic) APS Racing Holden Commodore Lap down 12. James Brock (Vic) Biante Model Cars Holden Commodore FASTEST LAP: Morris 59.51-secs

</pre> DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 6): Morris 206, Henderson 118, Auger 93, Gurr 87, Hills 80, Searle 49, Miller 33, Letcher 31, McGill 26, Kelly 24, Cornish 15, Downard 14, Zonneveld 13, Bewley 10, Fox 9, Leabeater 8, Newman 8, Saunders 7, Robson 6, Stratton 5, Dale 4, Rolfo 3, Fitzgerald 2

INDEPENDENTS CUP POINTS (after round 6): Auger 180, Searle 106, Miller 75, Letcher 66, Cornish 34, Downard 33, Fox 32, Leabeater 24, Saunders 22, Robson 20, Dale 14, Stratton 8, Rolfo 6, Fitzgerald 6

TEAMS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 6): Knight Racing 268, McGill Motorsport 112, Hi-Tech Motorsport 89, Paul Morris Motorsport 54, Motorsport Developments 12

FUTURE TOURERS POINTS (after round 5): Shaw 140, Domaschenz 103, D'Agostin 67, Brock 65, Wade 55, Webb 30, Sidebottom 24, Gillespie 16, Holt 12

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series General
Drivers Paul Morris , Owen Kelly , Luke Searle , Aaron McGill , David Auger , James Brock , Peter Hill