AUSF3: UTE: Oran Park: Round two preview

Stokell lines up for double duty as PROCAR Champ Series Heads to Oran Park SYDNEY -- Lamborghini ace Paul Stokell is aiming to boost his chase for not one, but two, championship titles when the PROCAR Champ Series stages its second round at Oran...

Stokell lines up for double duty as PROCAR Champ Series Heads to Oran Park

SYDNEY -- Lamborghini ace Paul Stokell is aiming to boost his chase for not one, but two, championship titles when the PROCAR Champ Series stages its second round at Oran Park Raceway, near Sydney, next weekend.

After round one in Adelaide last month, Stokell leads the pointscore in the Australian Nations Cup Championship, driving the same Lamborghini Diablo GTR coupe that carried him to last year's title.

He's also second in the Australian GT Performance Championship, aboard a Volkswagen Golf R32 entered by Team Lamborghini Australia's sister team, Volkswagen Group Australia.

The Nations Cup and GT Performance rounds will be part of an 18-race program also featuring the Australian Production Car Championship, V8 BRutes Series, Australian Formula 3 Championship, Australian Porsche Drivers Challenge and a new beginners' category, Futureracers.

This is Stokell's first full season at Volkswagen, but the factory team is determined to win the touring car series and will appoint a well-known driver to support his campaign with a second example of the sophisticated all-wheel drive Golf.

A total of 36 cars, the biggest and most diverse field in Australian touring cars, is entered for the first GTP race on Saturday afternoon and two more on Sunday.

With his combined duties, Stokell will spend a physically-demanding five hours on track in a total of 12 sessions across three days' of practice, qualifying and racing.

But he is undaunted by the challenge of being the busiest driver at Oran Park.

"I keep myself pretty fit and that's the most important thing to help maintain concentration," Stokell said.

"It won't be a real problem switching between the two cars, but I'll probably struggle more initially getting into the Golf because I've driven the Lamborghini for so long it's second nature.

"The other thing I have to get my head around is the different starts. Nations Cup has a rolling start and GTP a standing start."

Stokell's Nations Cup record at Oran Park puts him in the box seat for round two. Last year, he topped practice and qualifying, won all three races and broke the lap record.

While Dane Allan Simonsen's Ferrari 550 Maranello was the main challenger in Adelaide, it will be the 7.0 litre Holden Monaros Stokell is watching at Oran Park.

Series technical officials have eased engine restrictions on the Monaros of Peter Brock and Nathan Pretty to help them challenge the Italian thoroughbreds.

"The Monaros will certainly be faster and it should be pretty close between us," Stokell said.

"It will also depend on handling. We're doing 16-lap races and that will be hard on tyres."

The GTP field is wide open.

Sydney nightclub owner Justin Hemmes leads the series in a ProTecnica team Subaru Impreza STi, with Stokell second and defending champion Mark King third in a factory-supported Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8.

It's not known yet whether one of GTP's most successful drivers, Hemmes' teammate Wayne Boatwright, will contest the round.

Boatwright's Subaru was destroyed in a massive crash in Adelaide and, while he is recovering from severe bruising, the quest for a replacement car has proved far more difficult.

Boatwright has received hundreds of messages of support from Subaru owners and fans, but as yet no sponsor has been found to fund a replacement car.

Mitsubishi, Subaru, Ford, Holden Special Vehicles, BMW, Volkswagen, Nissan, Alfa Romeo and Mazda will be represented by 14 different models at Oran Park.

The Australian Production Car Championship second round will see defending champion and current points leader Scott Loadsman under increased pressure in his Holden Commodore SS.

The 29-car entry includes 11 in Class A, where Loadsman will face several Ford Falcons, an Alfa Romeo, a Honda and the rapid new Subaru Liberty GT of 17-year-old Chris Alajajian.

After missing round one, touring car legend Allan Grice is due to rejoin the V8 BRutes Series in a Ford Falcon XR8 ute at Oran Park.

The round will mark the V8 BRutes debut of pilot, author, actor and ex-NASCAR racer George Elliot, in a Holden SS.

Fifteen Holdens and 14 Fords will make up the Oran Park grid.

Sydney-based driver David Griffin, in a Holden, leads the series from Ford driver Jack Elsegood.

SPEED Read -- Round 2, PROCAR Champ Series

CATEGORIES: Australian Nations Cup Championship, Australian GT Performance Championship, Australian Production Car Championship, V8 BRutes Series, Australian Formula 3 Championship, Australian Porsche Drivers Challenge, Futureracers Series.

TIMETABLE: Friday (16 April) -- from 9 am, practice for all categories. Saturday -- practice and qualifying for all categories; from 2.55 pm, racing for Nations Cup, GTP, V8 BRutes and Futureracers. Sunday -- from 9 am, total of 14 races for all categories.

TICKET PRICES: Weekend pass (Sat./Sun.) adult $35, concessions & children under 16 $10, children under 11 free, competitors' paddock $10. Free souvenir program for first 1500 patrons.

-www.procar.com.au

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About this article
Series Supercars , F3
Drivers Nathan Pretty , Allan Simonsen , Peter Brock , Paul Stokell , Wayne Boatwright , Scott Loadsman , Jack Elsegood , Chris Alajajian
Teams Nissan Motorsport
Tags AUSUTE