AUS: Barbagallo race notes

Bumper-to-Bumper Racing the Order of the Day Alex Davison and Jim Richards shared the race spoils today in round four of the Australian Carrera Cup in a true western battle, but Davison's race one victory yesterday proved the overall difference...

Bumper-to-Bumper Racing the Order of the Day

Alex Davison and Jim Richards shared the race spoils today in round four of the Australian Carrera Cup in a true western battle, but Davison's race one victory yesterday proved the overall difference at Barbagallo Raceway.

Richards (Jim Richards Racing / OAMPS Insurance Brokers) took out the 30-lap final race this afternoon in a gripping clash with his younger rival. Hardly anything separated the two combatants all weekend in Western Australia, with Carrera Cup rookie leader Fabian Coulthard not far behind again by claiming a treble of third placings for the weekend.

Davison (Greg Murphy Racing / Glenfords Tool Centre) started today on fire, claiming the shorter 15-lap race two and extending his winning streak to five. Richards ended up just over two seconds behind, with Coulthard never letting his more experienced competitor get away either.

Despite a poor start, Peter Fitzgerald (Fitzgerald Racing / Abcor, Acer) worked his way back to fourth but could not close the gap on the leading trio.

With 30 laps ahead of the Porsche drivers in the final race, it was destined to be a battle of concentration and a culmination of tyre strategy over the weekend.

Davison, 24, continued his trend of solid starts from the first grid position and managed a small break over the early laps. A safety car on lap 13 due to an off-track excursion by Rodney Jane (Rodney Jane Racing / Bob Jane T-Marts) closed the field right up and set up an intriguing finale.

Davison, Richards, Coulthard and Fitzgerald had an intense period of close racing, when one mistake would prove costly or exceptional driving would be rewarded.

On lap 20, the current Carrera Cup champion made his move on the current Carrera Cup leader, hit the lead and maintained the ascendancy for the final 10 laps. It was a sweet victory for Richards -- his second race win in his 2004 Carrera Cup campaign.

"We are very happy with the result, especially considering Alex has been blowing us off in recent times," said Richards. "Alex really threw up a challenge on the final lap, but we held on and it certainly is good to be back in the winner's circle."

Coulthard and Fitzgerald had a nice dice for third, with the Melbourne-based Kiwi holding off a late surge by his wily rival.

A great performance was also put in by another leading New Zealand driver in Paul Pedersen (International Motorsport NZ / Lakesawn Lumber) who started the weekend from 11th on the grid and worked his way up to fifth in race three.

Young Queenslander Klark Quinn (Team VIP Petfoods) finished the round in fifth overall after a pair of fifth placings in race one and two, and a sixth not far behind Pedersen in race three.

Senior Quinn, Tony (Team VIP Petfoods), closed out the round in seventh overall, with close rival Dean Grant (Becks Racing) in eighth, Peter Bradbury (Team MPS Security) shooting up to ninth with a hard-charging race three effort and Rodney Jane (Rodney Jane Racing / Bob Jane T-Marts) claiming 10th for the round.

After four rounds of the Australian Carrera Cup, Davison leads with 684 points from Richards on 627 and Coulthard in third on 528 points.

"The aim is to always get the round win, and it's great to make it six in a row in Carrera Cup competition," said Davison. "Although Jim and his team out-did us in the final 30-lap race, it was great racing all weekend, and shows how you have to be on your guard all of the time out there."

In other Carrera Cup award categories this year, Coulthard maintains his lead in the Michelin Porsche Driver to Europe (for drivers under 30 years yet to drive in a European Porsche series) and the Michelin Rookie of the Year stakes (for drivers in their first season of Porsche racing). Dean Grant (Team Becks) holds on over Tony Quinn (Team VIP Petfoods) in the Carrera Cup Challenge (for drivers 35 years or over in a 2003-spec 911 GT3 Cup car), while Bradbury has hit the lead in the Fuchs Hard Charger award (for the driver who passes the most cars).

'Trackside' on Network Ten will telecast round three of the Carrera Cup on Sunday June 27 at 2pm (check local guides).

The Australian Carrera Cup now moves to Queensland for round five at Queensland Raceway near Ipswich from July 2 to 4.

The Carrera Cup is the most successful 'one make' championship in the world with close-to-identical Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars built by Porsche' racing arm in Weissach, Germany set for racing in 2004. All cars have a top speed in excess of 300 kilometres per hour with a 400-horsepower, 6 cylinder Boxer engine which revs to 8000 RPM.

-www.cupcar.com.au

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Series General
Drivers Greg Murphy , Jim Richards , Rodney Jane , Fabian Coulthard , Alex Davison , Bob Jane , Tony Quinn , Klark Quinn , Peter Fitzgerald , Dean Grant