AUS: Albert Park Friday notes

Davison Continues Love Affair With Albert Park It was back to victory circle for Alex Davison (Greg Murphy Racing/Glenfords Discount Tools) in today's second race of the Michelin Carrera Cup at the Foster's Australian Grand Prix at Albert ...

Davison Continues Love Affair With Albert Park

It was back to victory circle for Alex Davison (Greg Murphy Racing/Glenfords Discount Tools) in today's second race of the Michelin Carrera Cup at the Foster's Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

Davison, one of the most experienced Porsche GT3 911 drivers in the southern hemisphere at only 24, had to fend off yesterday's race one winner Matt Halliday (International Motorsport NZ/Giltrap Prestige) and then a late challenge from reigning Carrera Cup champion Jim Richards (Jim Richards Racing/OAMPS Insurance Brokers) to return to the top step of the podium.

Today's result has given Davison a four out of five race winning record in Carrera Cup at the Albert Park circuit, with his only blemish being a second place yesterday. He won all three races last year.

"I am much happier today. I had a good tussle with Matt Halliday early on for a few laps, and then Jim was very tough to hold off," said Davison, a veteran of four German Carrera Cup seasons.

"The car was improved from the first race and I must thank the Greg Murphy Racing team for their efforts. However there are still two races to go, and plenty of tight competition and racing to come."

After claiming his first Carrera Cup race win yesterday, Auckland steerer Halliday got off to a great start again today, putting an early break on Davison. One of the drivers to watch in 2004 is 21-year-old Fabian Coulthard (Greg Murphy Racing/Team Braun) who took advantage of a sluggish start by Richards to move into third place on the opening lap.

The start and even the warm-up lap saw some drama. Last year's Carrera Cup runner-up Marcus Marshall (TEKNO Autosports/AEG Power Tools) had a drive shaft problem on the warm-up lap and did not face the starter, while Jonathon Webb (TEKNO Autosports), Hector Lester (Rodney Jane Racing/Bob Jane T-Marts) and Klark Quinn (Team VIP Petfoods) all retired before the end of the first lap. An early spin also sent Rodney Jane (Rodney Jane Racing/Bob Jane T-Marts) back through the field, however he recovered well to finish 15th.

At the front end, Davison had a ding-dong battle with his young Kiwi counterpart on lap three with plenty of ducking and weaving. In a great manoeuvre, Davison almost got around Halliday on a deep corner before pulling inside of his rival to take the lead on the next turn.

And it all went downhill from there for Halliday, with the recent Trans Tasman GT3 Cup runner-up losing third, fifth and sixth gear and battling to the line for with his remaining gears in third place.

"This is a bigger achievement than yesterday to hold on for third with the problems we faced. There was no chance I could push for victory when this happened, and it was just a matter of holding on until the finish," said Halliday.

Despite Halliday's mechanical dramas, yesterday's runner-up Richards bridged the gap on Davison setting up a thrilling final lap of the eight-lap race. However Davison stayed clean and led home his determined rival by half a second.

The two exchanged hand-shakes today putting to bed yesterday's close and dramatic encounter between one of Australia's all-time great drivers and one the country's best up-and-coming talents.

"My race was great -- sometimes racing second or third is much easier because you can focus on the cars in front," said Richards.

"The start let me down -- they have not been good enough so far. That being the case, we still have plenty of room for improvement for the rest of the weekend."

Peter Fitzgerald (Peter Fitzgerald Racing/ENJO, Acer) put in a performance which suggests he will be a strong contender again in 2004 finishing just behind Halliday in fourth place.

Allan Simonsen (Mark Coffey Racing/Barry Plant Doherty Real Estate) improved two spots from yesterday to place fifth, with Coulthard coming home in sixth after overtaking Charlie O'Brien (Charlie O'Brien Motorsport) on the final corner. Rick Armstrong (International Motorsport NZ/Rick Armstrong Motors) also put in another top-10 performance finishing eighth.

Three of the big improvers today were Tony Quinn (Team VIP Petfoods), Matt Coleman (Matt Coleman Racing/Red Bull) and Troy Hunt (MOG Sport/Talent 2) who all started from close to the rear of the 30-car field and finished 13th, 14th and 17th respectively.

The Carrera Cup is the most successful 'one make' championship in the world with 30 close-to-identical Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars built by Porsche' racing arm in Weissach, Germany racing at the Foster's Australian Grand Prix. 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.

Race three of the Michelin Carrera Cup is tomorrow afternoon with race four on Sunday.

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Series Porsche
Drivers Matthew Halliday , Greg Murphy , Marcus Marshall , Jim Richards , Rodney Jane , Fabian Coulthard , Alex Davison , Allan Simonsen , Bob Jane , Tony Quinn , Klark Quinn , Peter Fitzgerald , Jonathon Webb , Hector Lester