CENTURY BATTERIES BATHURST 3-HOUR SHOWROOM SHOWDOWN - NOVEMBER 14 RACE REPORT 14th November 1998 PORSCHE AND FERRARI STAGE THREE HOUR DOG FIGHT Peter Fitzgerald and Jim Richards emerged victorious for Porsche after a three hour fight to the...
CENTURY BATTERIES BATHURST 3-HOUR SHOWROOM SHOWDOWN - NOVEMBER 14
RACE REPORT 14th November 1998
PORSCHE AND FERRARI STAGE THREE HOUR DOG FIGHT
Peter Fitzgerald and Jim Richards emerged victorious for Porsche after a three hour fight to the finish with Neil Crompton and Darren Palmer's Ferrari F355 Challenge in the Century Batteries 3-Hour Bathurst Showroom Showdown at Mount Panorama today.
After mechanical dramas accounted for early leaders Terry Bosnjak/Thomas Mezera (Mazda RX7 SP) and Garry Waldon/Neal Bates (Dodge Viper GTS), Crompton grabbed 2nd place after he took over from Palmer after the safety car hit the track when Chris Bailey crashed heavily aboard the Class C Mitsubishi Magna on top of the mountain.
Crompton was lucky to be able to step aboard the car, with Bailey only just missing the back of the Ferrari when he cannoned off the wall.
Jim Richards assumed the lead after the first hour but relinquished it to Crompton with an hour to go, when he pitted for fuel under another safety car period.
Crompton stretched his fuel milage before coming in for a quick fuel stop under the green flag, just failing to hold off Richards as the Ferrari emerged from the pits.
And despite dueling hard over the closing stages, and nearly stealing the lead on the final corner, Richards' Porsche held on for victory.
"We were very worried because the fuel light came on with two minutes to go and Jim said the car started to missfire," Fitzgerald said.
"There was no use coming in for a splash of fuel, we've run second up here too many times. It was either win or run out of fuel -- second place is the first loser.
"The Ferrari really pushed us hard, but you couldn't ask for a better co-driver than Jim Richards. We are delighted with the result because this weekend is Porsche's 50th birthday celebrations in Melbourne."
Ed Aitken and Kevin Weeks took third place aboard their Porsche 911 RSCS with Domenic Beninca and Trevor Sheumack in fourth aboard a similar machine.
Class B was won by Mark King and Rod Wilson aboard a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III, just holding out the Subaru Impreza WRX of Jim Zerefos and Damien White.
Chris Kousparis and Mark Brame completed the event in their WRX despite losing top gear, but Iron Man Grant Kenny and co-driver Scott Jacob were not so lucky, failing to finish with mechanical dramas.
David Ratcliff and Ron Searle triumphed in Class C after their Ford opposition crashed out. Sam Newman was the first to fall aboard the new Ford Falcon AU XR6 (leaving iron man Guy Andrews without a drive in the race) while late race leader John McIlroy crashed when he suffered brake failure in the new XR8 he was sharing with David Bruce.
Calvin Gardiner and Tom Watkinson took their fourth successive big race Class D victory with their Mazda 626 while Kosi Kalaitzidis and Leigh Yarnell fought back from their big opening day crash to win Class E with the Proton M21 Coupe.
Queenslander's Michael Simpson and Beric Lynton took the new GTP Sports -- Class S division with a BMW 323i
RESULTS -- 3 hours -- 69 laps completed 1. Peter Fitzgerald/Jim Richards, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 3:01:44.693 2. Neil Crompton/Darren Palmer, Ferrari F355 Challenge (A) 3:01:44.981 3 Ed Aitken/Kevin Weeks, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 3:02:02.691 4. Domenic Beninca/Trevor Sheumack, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 3:03:11.891 5. Bob Thorn/Rod Dawson, Toyota Supra RZ Twin Turbo (A) 65 laps Class B Mark King/Rod Wilson, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III Turbo 64 laps Class C David Ratcliff/Ron Searle, Toyota Camry CSi 61 laps Class D Calvin Gardiner/Tom Watkinson, Mazda 626 61 laps Class E Kosi Kalaitzidis/Leight Yarnell, Proton M21 Coupe 59 laps Class S Michael Simpson/Beric Lynton, BMW 323i 62 laps
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