CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP DARWIN QUALIFYING 5th July 1999 Six time Bathurst winner Jim Richards has continued his outstanding run of pole positions by taking his third and fourth consecutive fastest qualifying...
CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP DARWIN QUALIFYING 5th July 1999
Six time Bathurst winner Jim Richards has continued his outstanding run of pole positions by taking his third and fourth consecutive fastest qualifying spot in round three of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship at Darwin’s Hidden Valley today.
Richards backed up his pair of pole positions at the last round of the Championship at Phillip Island by again topping the timesheets for both races tomorrow – pushing fellow Porsche 911 RSCS drivers Peter Fitzgerald (race one) and Championship leader Domenic Beninca (race two) back to second spot in the two races respectively.
Ferrari F355 Challenge driver Wayne Park broke the Porsche stranglehold by qualifying fourth for tomorrow’s second race while only .66 of a second covered the top five for the opening race.
"With the times being so competitive, it is certainly rewarding to put the car on pole," Richards said.
"We haven’t really had the chance to change much on the car after Phillip Island but we have been able to dial the car in well for this circuit.
"I’m certainly pleased with the way the weekend is progressing, but I’d rather have two wins tomorrow, rather than settle for two poles."
Fitzgerald’s effort to break into the top three for both sessions showed his Porsche 911 RSCS had not suffered overly from his Phillip Island crash.
Graham Alexander qualified his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V in 9th spot in the Meguiar’s Top Marques Class A division for the opening race, but the former rally ace has been forced out for the weekend with engine problems.
Geoff Full’s dominance of the Autobarn Class B division continued again today with a pair of pole positions for Full aboard a Subaru Impreza WRX. Peter Boylan was second fastest aboard a similar machine in the opening session while Paula Elstrek’s Mazda RX7 moved up to second in the afternoon.
Mark Cohen appears to be the man to beat in Class C this weekend – grabbing pole position in both sessions aboard his Holden Commodore VS SS. The V8 brigade look to have an advantage with Ryan McLeod (Ford Falcon EL XR8) and Peter Phelan (Holden Commodore VT SS) finishing 2nd and 3rd.
Ric Shaw drove strongly in Class S aboard his Toyota MR2 Bathurst to grab both poles and actually break into the top ten outright positions in the afternoon.
Sam Newman’s attack on Class D aboard his Holden Vectra GL 2.2 failed to push Phil Kirkham’s Mazda 626 off pole position.
Nathan Thomas surprised aboard is Suzuki Swift GTi, outpacing the Proton M21 Coupe of Kosi Kalaitzidis which was expected to demonstrate a straight line speed advantage.
RESULTS QUALIFYING ONE 1. Jim Richards, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:16.543 2. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:16.695 3. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:16.827 4. Ed Aitken, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:17.057 Class B Geoff Full, Subaru Impreza WRX 1:22.320 Class C Mark Cohen, Holden Commodore VS SS 1:25.118 Class D Phil Kirkham, Mazda 626 1:25.547 Class E Nathan Thomas, Suzuki Swift GTi 1:27.322 Class S Ric Shaw, Toyota MR2 Bathurst 1:23.450
QUALIFYING TWO 1. Jim Richards, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:17.020 2. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:17.043 3. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:17.065 4. Wayne Park, Ferrari F355 Challenge (A) 1:17.860 Class B Geoff Full, Subaru Impreza WRX 1:22.746 Class C Mark Cohen, Holden Commodore VS SS 1:25.193 Class D Phil Kirkham, Mazda 626 1:26.205 Class E Nathan Thomas, Suzuki Swift GTi 1:27.479 Class S Ric Shaw, Toyota MR2 Bathurst 1:24.099
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