AUSF3: UTE: Oran Park: Friday practice report

PROCAR Champ Series, 3-5 May, Oran Park, NSW Stokell back in the fight for Nations Cup. LAMBORGHINI driver Paul Stokell set out to make amends for past disappointments by topping official practice today for round three of the Australian Nations...

PROCAR Champ Series, 3-5 May, Oran Park, NSW
Stokell back in the fight for Nations Cup.

LAMBORGHINI driver Paul Stokell set out to make amends for past disappointments by topping official practice today for round three of the Australian Nations Cup Championship at Oran Park circuit, near Sydney.

The three-time Australian Gold Star Champion will start favorite in his 12-cylinder Lamborghini Diablo GTR for tomorrow's Top 8 Eliminator qualifying session after recording the fastest lap times in two sessions today.

He finished comfortably ahead of defending Nations Cup Champion Jim Richards, in a Porsche GT3 Cup, and current points leader John Bowe, who drove a Ferrari 360 GT.

Stokell's performance, in an identical replacement for the car he has used since last November's Oran Park final round, showed he is determined to regain his familiar position among the championship front-runners.

He crashed from first to fifth in the pointscore after completing only six laps in round two in Tasmania last month and needs to do well in Sunday's three races to get back in the fight.

The Melbourne-based Tasmanian will be tackling the challenge on a track that owes him a favor. In last year's final round, Stokell's battle for the championship ended when he was put out of the penultimate race by another competitor.

"I hope I'm due for a change of luck, although there's a risk in reading too much into the results of Friday practice," Stokell said.

"We have a qualifying session to do tomorrow where everyone will reveal their true speed and then the contest for pole in the Top 8 Eliminator.

"There's the equivalent of two race wins between me and John Bowe's championship lead. It will be a lot harder to get those points back than it was to lose them."

The Nations Cup is the blue riband event of the PROCAR Champ Series meeting, which features 17 races and six national championships this weekend.

Other categories competing include the Australian GT Performance Championship, Australian GT Production Car Championship, V8 BRute Series and Australian Formula 3 Championship.

The international-class Formula 3 single-seaters were the fastest cars on track today, but several entries in the 19-car field could not compete after the Victoria Supreme Court this morning adjourned their application for an injunction against the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS).

Teams had attempted to overturn a CAMS ruling that the cars' aircraft-type fuel tanks were ineligible because they had not been submitted for a periodic inspection by the manufacturer in Europe, instead of an Australian-based expert.

Bathurst winner and touring car legend Alan Grice, 59, marked his return to motor racing after a career in Queensland politics by setting the fastest practice time in the V8 BRute Series, driving a Falcon ute.

Gary MacDonald, of Sydney, was second-fastest in a Commodore ute, while the top five also featured another great touring car name - Brock.

James Brock, son of nine-time Bathurst winner and one-time Grice rival Peter Brock, finished fifth in another Commodore.

FAST FACTS about the PROCAR Champ Series at Oran Park

* Categories - Nations Cup (Rd 3), GT Performance (Rd 3), GT Production Cars (Rd 3), V8 BRutes (Rd 3), Formula 3 (Rd 3), Mitsubishi Mirage (Rd 3), NSW HQ C'ship (Rd 4).

* Saturday (From 9 am) - Qualifying, including Nations Cup Top 8 Eliminator; plus HQ Holden race.

* Sunday (From 9 am) - 16 races, all categories. Ute Muster display and competition for road utes. Autograph sessions 12.15 pm (GT Production, Formula 3, Mirage) and 1.40 pm (Nations Cup, V8 BRutes, GT Performance).

* Tickets - Adults $15 all areas (Saturday), $25 plus $10 paddock/pit (Sunday). Students 11-16 years $10 all areas (Saturday), $10 plus $10 paddock/pit (Sunday). Ute drivers enter free on Sunday with paying adult passenger.

* Information - Oran Park (02) 4646 1004, or www.procar.com.au and www.v8brutes.com.au.

-procar-

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About this article
Series Supercars , F3
Drivers John Bowe , Peter Brock , Paul Stokell , James Brock
Tags AUSUTE