Marshall heads opening practice at Eastern Creek. Young guns top timesheets as Leahey and Davison round out top three. Having already wrapped up the Rookie of the Year and Driver to Europe Awards in this year's Carrera Cup, Queensland ace Marcus...
Marshall heads opening practice at Eastern Creek.
Young guns top timesheets as Leahey and Davison round out top three.
Having already wrapped up the Rookie of the Year and Driver to Europe Awards in this year's Carrera Cup, Queensland ace Marcus Marshall has stamped his authority on round nine of the series at Eastern Creek by topping the timesheets in practice this morning.
Fresh from a sixth place overall finish in last weekend's Bathurst 24 Hour, Marshall took his VIP Petfoods Porsche around the 3.93-kilometre venue in 1m35.3942s, just over one tenth of a second faster than Orange driver Tim Leahey in the 30 minute session.
"I'm happy with the time after we put new tyres on," said Marshall.
"I went out at the start of the session on old tyres and we were second fastest and then with the new tyres, the car felt great."
The 25-year-old Gold Coaster sees today's performance as a psychological boost over his rivals heading into qualifying and this weekend's three races.
"It's probably the first time all season that someone other than Jim (Richards) has been the fastest in practice so it all helps."
Leahey was second fastest in the #55 Greg Murphy Racing Team Braun machine, just out-pointing his team-mate for the weekend, Aussie international Alex Davison.
"The car was alright but I didn't really get the opportunity to get a clear lap," said Leahey.
"The car's good on older tyres and is very consistent but we'll fine tune it to get more speed for qualifying tomorrow."
Davison, who has raced in the German Carrera Cup for the past four seasons, is guesting in GMR Team Braun's #66 car this weekend in place of Peter Hill.
Despite having not raced at Eastern Creek since 1999 in a Formula Ford, the 24-year-old made it three 'young guns' in the top three spots.
"I'm still becoming re-acquainted with the track and I didn't get a good run on new tyres because of traffic," said Davison.
"We'll see how qualifying goes but I think we'll be alright."
Jim Richards, who sealed the 2003 Carrera Cup championship at the last round on the Gold Coast, was an uncharacteristic fourth quickest, ahead of fellow veteran Peter Fitzgerald.
It's the first time all season that Richards has been topped in an opening practice session and Eastern Creek is the only venue where he hasn't taken pole position this season. Marshall took the pole at Eastern Creek in round two in May of this year.
Victorian Matt Coleman was sixth fastest in the #62 Lexmark Porsche, clear of Jonathon Webb (Tekno Autosport), former Porsche Cup champ Geoff Morgan (MOG Sport), Greg Keene (KRO Australia) and James Dutton (Dutton Motorsport).
After suffering major damage in the last round at the Gold Coast Indy event, Kiwi Kevin Bell returned to the category with his #86 GTech Bellmor machine repaired and ready to run. However, a driveline problem forced the Christchurch-based racer to end his session after just half a lap.
Just outside the top 10 were Rodney Jane, Kiwi Paul Pedersen and Klark Quinn, the Queenslander out of the top 10 for the first time in three rounds.
Qualifying will be held at 1.05pm tomorrow, with race one to start at 4.10pm. The final two races of the 2003 championship will be held on Sunday at 9.50am and 12.35pm in support to the VIP Petfoods Main Event V8 Supercar race.
The Carrera Cup and other awards will be presented in an official prize-giving on Sunday evening at the Porsche Centre South Sydney.
<pre> Top 10 Positions - Practice
Pos No Driver Car/Team Time 1 31 Marcus Marshall VIP Petfoods Racing 1:35.3942 2 55 Tim Leahey Greg Murphy Racing -- TeamBraun 1:35.5110 3 66 Alex Davison Greg Murphy Racing -- TeamBraun 1:35.6439 4 5 Jim Richards OAMPS/Greenfield Mowers 1:35.7681 5 33 Peter Fitzgerald ENJO/Fitzgerald Racing 1:36.0938 6 62 Matt Coleman Lexmark/Matt Coleman Racing 1:36.8306 7 22 Jonathon Webb Tekno Autosports 1:37.2123 8 4 Geoff Morgan Morgan & Banks/MOG Sport 1:37.4130 9 8 Greg Keene Sports.Med SA/KRO Australia 1:38.0335 10 26 James Dutton Dutton Motorsport 1:38.1296