Canberra practice report

MITSUBISHI driver Graham Alexander called on years of rallying experience to top official practice today for round three of the Century Batteries GT Performance Series on the challenging Canberra street circuit. Alexander set a lap time of two...

MITSUBISHI driver Graham Alexander called on years of rallying experience to top official practice today for round three of the Century Batteries GT Performance Series on the challenging Canberra street circuit.

Alexander set a lap time of two minutes 0.77 seconds around the 3.9 km temporary track in a rally-bred Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V sedan, 0.12 seconds ahead of last year's race winner Mark King in an identical car.

"I'm an old rally driver and driving around Canberra trying to stay clear of the concrete walls isn't much different from avoiding the trees in the forest," Alexander said.

"It's always good to be first, but this is only the first day - qualifying will be particularly important here, because to be first on the grid will be a definite advantage in the race."

Four-wheel drive turbo sedans took the first four spots on the provisional starting grid. Mark Noske recorded the fifth-fastest time but was forced out of the event when his Ford Mustang Cobra RA clipped a tyre barrier and rolled.

Noske was admitted to hospital with a fractured right forearm, but may be replaced in the races by another driver if his badly-damaged car can be repaired.

Nathan Thomas topped the Hippies Sports Touring class with a time of 2:07.45 in a Honda Integra Type R coupe, ahead of Tim Leahy in the factory-entered Volkswagen Beetle RSi.

The first of two races in the GT Production Series, which is part of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship, will be run over seven laps tomorrow afternoon.

<pre> GT Performance Series, round 3 (Practice): 1. G. Alexander (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V) 2:00.77 2. M. King (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V) 2:00.89 3. B. Peters (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) 2:01.24 4. T. Sheumack (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) 2:01.273 5. M. Noske (Ford Mustang Cobra RA) 2:01.275 6. G. Deane (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) 2:01.62

Poolrite High Performance: G. Alexander Hippies Sports Touring: N. Thomas (Honda Integra Type R) 2:07.45

TIMETABLE: Sat. - 12.15 Qualifying (20 min.), 4 pm Race 1 (7 laps). Sun. - 8.455 am Race 2 (7 laps).

LAST YEAR: Pole - R. Shaw (Mazda RX-7) 1:58.69. Race 1 - M. King (Mitsubishi Evo V). Race 2 - M. King. Lap record - M. King 1:59.43.

-Chris Nixon

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Mark Noske , Mark King , Graham Alexander