ASTC: Symmons Plains - Morris wins BMW's 50th pole position

Queenslander Paul Morris today secured German manufacturer BMW's 50th pole position in the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship motor racing series with a dominating qualifying performance at Symmons Plains in Tasmania today. Morris...

Queenslander Paul Morris today secured German manufacturer BMW's 50th pole position in the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship motor racing series with a dominating qualifying performance at Symmons Plains in Tasmania today.

Morris emerged fastest in both qualifying sessions in his Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i and earned the right to start from pole position in the two 28-lap races in tomorrow's sixth round of the championship on the 2.6km circuit near Launceston.

The qualifying performances by the 33-year-old Gold Coast driver in warm conditions boosted BMW's pole position tally to 50 since the championship began in 1994.

Morris heads BMW's overall pole position winner's list in the championship with 32, including 11 in succession this year, and is followed by Queenslanders Geoff Brabham with 12 and Tong Longhurst with five, and New Zealand's Craig Baird with one.

Morris, who also won BMW's first championship pole position at the Eastern Creek track in Sydney in 1994, scored two bonus points for qualifying fastest in the two sessions at Symmons Plains and improved his series lead to 78 points over Sydney policeman John Henderson.

The qualifying results by Morris at Symmons Plains mean he can clinch the championship title for the fourth time in seven years if he finishes in the top three in both races tomorrow.

Morris was fastest in the first qualifying session with a lap of 58.41-secs, finishing 0.81-secs clear of Sydney's Peter Hills in a Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo, who was followed by Tasmanian Owen Kelly in a Thermo King BMW 320i, and Henderson in a Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra.

In the second session Morris was quickest with 58.71-secs, ahead of Kelly, who is making his championship debut at Symmons Plains, Henderson, and Hills. Sydney's Jamie Miller was relegated to the rear of the grid for race two after failing to make a compulsory stop at the weigh station during the second qualifying session.

Sydney teenager Alan Gurr, who is third in the championship, was forced to withdraw from the round after an engine failure in his Telecell Peugeot 406 in practice before the opening qualifying session. Morris leads the championship with 176 points, followed by Henderson on 98, and Gurr 87.

Tasmanian Tim Shaw won pole position for both races in the V8 Future Tourers class at Symmons Plains in his ISASO-Carplan Holden Commodore.

DRIVER QUOTES:

PAUL MORRIS (Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i)
"We made some changes to the car to make it ride the bumps better and it was much better for qualifying. Hopefully I can win the run to the first corner in the races and go on with it. Owen (Kelly) has done a great job in our team's second car. We gave him a chance and he's done everything expected by getting onto the front row."

OWEN KELLY (Thermo King BMW 320i)
"I hadn't done a lap in a Super Tourer until yesterday so I'm please with what we've achieved so far. Having said that qualifying doesn't mean a lot if you don't get good results in the races and that's our aim tomorrow. The brakes on these cars are a strong point. The only problem I had was locking up the brakes once at the end of the back straight -- the car went sideways, but I managed to recover."

PETER HILLS (Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo)
"The first session was good and I can't complain with a front-row spot. In the second session I didn't have first or second gear so we dropped back to fourth. The gear selector shaft broke. It's a shame because the car set-up was spot-on."

TIM SHAW (ISASO-Carplan Holden Commodore)
"We got the result we wanted with pole in our (V8 Future Tourers) class, but it was hard work. It's been a struggle with the car set-up this weekend. Our qualifying times are competitive, but this is the first time for these cars at Symmons (Plains) so we don't know how the tyres are going to go over a full race distance."

<pre> QUALIFYING - SESSION 1 LAP TIMES (starting positions Race 1): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i 58.41-secs 2. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 59.22 3. Owen Kelly (Tas) Thermo King BMW 320i 59.47 4. John Henderson (NSW) Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra 59.58 5. Jim Cornish (NSW) Visit Your Vet Honda Accord 59.74 6. David Auger (Qld) Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo 60.22 7. Jamie Miller (NSW) Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry 60.26 8. Tim Shaw (Tas) ISASO-Carplan Holden Commodore 60.68 9. Ray Sidebottom (Vic) APS Racing Holden Commodore 60.77 10. Mark Zonneveld (A.C.T.) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 60.85 11. Jason Domaschenz (Vic) APS Racing Holden Commodore 60.90 12. Aaron McGill (NSW) Trinovin Nissan Primera 61.15 13. James Brock (Vic) Biante Model Cars Holden Commodore 61.20 14. Paul Leabeater (NSW) Redline Motorsport Hyundai Lantra 64.36 15. Luke Searle (NSW) SAE College-Roadchill Express BMW 320i No time

QUALIFYING - SESSION 2 LAP TIMES (starting positions Race 2): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i 58.71 2. Owen Kelly (Tas) Thermo King BMW 320i 59.47 3. John Henderson (NSW) Sydney Cranes & Transport Holden Vectra 59.53 4. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 59.80 5. Jim Cornish (NSW) Visit Your Vet Honda Accord 60.25 6. Tim Shaw (Tas) ISASO-Carplan Holden Commodore 60.44 7. David Auger (Qld) Leatherman Racing Alfa Romeo 60.44 8. Jason Domaschenz (Vic) APS Racing Holden Commodore 60.74 9. Mark Zonneveld (A.C.T.) TC Motorsport Peugeot 406 60.88 10. Ray Sidebottom (Vic) APS Racing Holden Commodore 61.14 11. Aaron McGill (NSW) Trinovin Nissan Primera 61.19 12. James Brock (Vic) Biante Model Cars Holden Commodore 61.22 13. Jamie Miller (NSW) Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry No time 14. Luke Searle (NSW) SAE College-Roadchill Express BMW 320i No time

Be part of something big

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