Penultimate Carrera Cup heads to Queensland for super shootout Just as Champ Car star Paul Tracy is looking to wrap up his first Champ Car World Series title on the streets of the Gold Coast this weekend, Carrera Cup star Jim Richards is...
Penultimate Carrera Cup heads to Queensland for super shootout
Just as Champ Car star Paul Tracy is looking to wrap up his first Champ Car World Series title on the streets of the Gold Coast this weekend, Carrera Cup star Jim Richards is another aiming to wrap up a championship in Queensland.
The 55-year-old title leader, who has won five of the seven rounds held so far in 2003, can wrap up the championship this weekend before the final round at Eastern Creek.
He enters the round 213 points clear of nearest rival Marcus Marshall and only needs to leave the Gold Coast 180 or more points in front to wrap up the inaugural Carrera Cup. There are a total of 180 points available in each round of the Carrera Cup, with 60 points for a race win.
Marshall, who finished second in the last round at Bathurst, is a Gold Coast local, though has only raced once on the streets of Surfer's Paradise and that was in a nimble Formula Ford.
He remains fired up to chase down Richards and make sure the title goes down to a deciding round at the VIP Petfoods Main Event at Eastern Creek in just over four weeks time.
While Richards has almost tied up the title, the fight continues to rage for fourth place. ENJO driver Peter Fitzgerald is comfortably in third place in the championship, though Greg Murphy Racing Team Braun driver Tim Leahey and New Zealander Kevin Bell are in a tight scrap for fourth.
Leahey holds the position by 48 points coming into this weekend so the dice between the two will be one to watch.
The tight spaces of the Gold Coast circuit will be a new test for the Carrera Cup teams and drivers. The 'concrete canyon' is the first pure street circuit that the Porsche class has raced at since it debuted on the parkland public road course at Albert Park in March.
With limited time to play with car setup in the lead-up to the three championship races this weekend, all teams and drivers will need to quickly adapt to the 4.498-kilometre circuit.
The Carrera Cup cars hit the track for the first time on Thursday for practice (9.10am), qualifying (12.05pm) and race one (3.00pm). Race two will be held on Friday at 8.20am and race three will be on Saturday at 8.35am.
Highlights of the Saturday race will be seen on Network Ten's telecast of the Lexmark Indy 300 with the full races to be shown on its Trackside program on November 2.
New sponsor for Quinn
GOLD Coast sensation Klark Quinn will have a new backer on board his #23 RT Motorsport Porsche this weekend. After finishing fourth at Bathurst in only his second-ever Carrera Cup start, the 21-year-old has scored the backing of Quik'n Tuff Wall Systems for the Indy and Eastern Creek rounds.
Quik'n Tuff produces a unique face-sealed cavity wall system for building purposes and is backing Quinn at Indy. Quinn lives within minutes of the circuit and has quickly made an impression on the category after spending the first part of the season in the Aussie Racing Cars category.
Dutton returns to series
VICTORIAN James Dutton will return to the Carrera Cup on the Gold Coast after missing the last round at Bathurst due to budget constraints.
Dutton, who sits 13th in the overall championship and fifth in the Rookie of the Year pointscore, has received added backing from existing sponsors Mobil Synergy 8000 and Alphera Financial Services to help him make the Indy event.
Dutton raced alongside Warren Luff in the V8 Brute race on the Gold Coast last season, racing from 20th to eighth in the last six-lap event in 2002.
"Bring on the streets!" was Dutton's comment about round eight of the championship.
Keene to return
AFTER sustaining some heavy damage in the last round at Bathurst in a first lap accident, South Australian Greg Keene is set to return to the Carrera Cup this weekend.
His #8 SportsMed SA machine was taken to Sydney after its crash two weeks ago and repaired, ready to run this weekend.
Keene suffered severe whiplash and blurred vision from the accident, though is waiting on x-ray results and doctor's approval before he can race.
Missing in action
MISSING from the Carrera Cup field this weekend are Geoff Morgan and Kiwi Andrew Bagnall. Morgan has injured his back and is unable to drive the #4 Morgan & Banks Porsche, while the withdrawal of Bagnall, who raced last weekend in the Petit Le Mans event at Road Atlanta in a Porsche, leaves the entry list at a still-strong 26 cars.
Aussie finishes out German Carrera Cup
AUSTRALIAN Alex Davison has finished his fourth season of racing in the German Carrera Cup by finishing eighth at Hockenheim.
The Hewlett-Packard racer, who drives for Phoenix Racing in the championship, won the inaugural Carrera Cup Australia events at the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in March driving a VIP Petfoods-backed car.