Australia's Hidden Valley practice notes

Joint championship leaders Richards and Marshall top times The joint leaders of the Carrera Cup have topped the times in today's opening two practice sessions for round four of the all-Porsche series at Hidden Valley Raceway in ...

Joint championship leaders Richards and Marshall top times

The joint leaders of the Carrera Cup have topped the times in today's opening two practice sessions for round four of the all-Porsche series at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin.

Seven-time Bathurst champion Jim Richards was fastest in both of the practice sessions, with VIP Pet Foods Racing driver Marcus Marshall not far behind in second position.

Richards recorded a best of 1m11.2457s in the first of today's two sessions and looks strong in a bid for his third pole position of the season in qualifying tomorrow.

The heat of the Northern Territory has proven difficult for the teams to adjust to, though they are ready for a big weekend of racing, with three races for the 22-car field of Porsche GT3 Cup cars.

"It's my first time to Darwin and I'm totally enjoying it," said Marshall.

"It's a technical track but Darwin is a great place, there's a great vibe around the place and the people are really into their motor racing."

The rest of the top 10 cars are relatively close, headed by third-fastest driver Tim Leahey. The Greg Murphy Racing ace from Orange in New South Wales was a late confirmation for the Darwin round after funding a budget at the last minute to compete.

Following Leahey in an impressive performance was New Zealand Paul Pedersen. The Kiwi, who hasn't raced at the venue before, was fourth fastest in one of two International Motorsport NZ machines, just outpacing Matt Coleman.

Pedersen's team-mate Kevin Bell was sixth fastest, after problems struck the Gtech Bellmor-backed driver in the first practice session. The throttle cable came adrift from the pedal, forcing Bell to cruise back to pitlane.

Peter Fitzgerald, driving for ENJO Racing, was a lowly seventh fastest, clear of Peter Hill (who suffered a clutch drama in the first session and missed the second), Dean Cook and Rodney Jane.

Qualifying will be held tomorrow at 10.15am, with the first 15-lapper to be run tomorrow afternoon at 3.15pm. Races two and three will be held on Sunday, at 10.05am and 12.45pm (all NT local times) respectively.

The Carrera Cup is a nine-round championship supporting the V8 Supercar Championship Series, using identical Porsche GT3 Cup cars that have been specially manufactured for Carrera Cup competition by the Porsche factory in Weissach, Germany.

<pre> Top 10 Positions - Practice

Pos    No    Driver             Car/Team                                Time
1       5    Jim Richards       OAMPS/Greenfield Mowers                 1:11.2457
2      31    Marcus Marshall    VIP Pet Foods Racing                    1:11.7534
3      55    Tim Leahey         Mossimo/Greg Murphy Racing              1:11.9924
4      96    Paul Pedersen      LakeSawn Lumber/Porsche Motorsport NZ   1:12.4581
5      62    Matt Coleman       Coleman/Dutton Racing                   1:12.5500
6      86    Kevin Bell         G Tech Bellmor/Porsche Motorsport NZ    1:12.5537
7      33    Peter Fitzgerald   ENJO/Fitzgerald Racing Services         1:12.5924
8      66    Peter Hill         Mossimo/Greg Murphy Racing              1:12.6811
9       9    Dean Cook          Izod Sportswear/European Technique      1:13.0030
10      7    Rodney Jane        Bob Jane T-Marts/Rodney Jane Racing     1:13.1193

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Series Porsche
Drivers Greg Murphy , Tim Leahey , Marcus Marshall , Jim Richards , Rodney Jane , Bob Jane , Peter Fitzgerald , Peter Hill , Kevin Bell