Successful International Affair at Lexmark Indy 300 A Brazilian, New Zealander and Australian claimed the numerous accolades from today's double championship racing affair at Queensland's Lexmark Indy 300. South American talent Bruno...
Successful International Affair at Lexmark Indy 300
A Brazilian, New Zealander and Australian claimed the numerous accolades from today's double championship racing affair at Queensland's Lexmark Indy 300.
South American talent Bruno Junqueira won through for his maiden Gold Coast success, Kiwi Greg Murphy collected honours in the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge, while Aussie rookie David Besnard showed exceptional talent to record a deserved Top Ten finish in his Champ Car debut.
An enthusiastic 107,321 motorsport fans turned out in anticipation of an action-packed finale to the four-day extravaganza and all would have went home extremely pleased with what was played out on the streets of Surfers Paradise.
Today proved a further qualification of the growing popularity of the Lexmark Indy 300, as a record four-day Event crowd of 309,583 turned out to witness the spectacular showcase.
Beyond the half-way stage of the 57-lap Champ Car feature, the streets had already claimed four of the methanol-charged overseas campaigners.
Able to stay out of trouble were the top five qualifiers with Newman/Haas team mates Bruno Junquiera and Sebastien Bourdais jostling for top spot with polesitter Paul Tracy (Forsythe Championship Racing).
As the pressure intensified Tracy was left in a spin at Acer Exit but recovered into fourth, leaving the door open for 2002 Gold Coast Indy winner Mario Dominguez to shoot to a podium finish.
The Lexmark Indy 300 was completed under precautionary yellow flag conditions for the final three laps when Tracy's team mate Patrick Carpentier was sent flying out of control, leaving a one-two finish for Junqueira and Bourdais.
"There's no better feeling than to push hard while in the lead especially on a track like this one, it's a very fun experience," said Junqueira.
"It feels really good, I was very close to getting pole and I knew the car was very strong.
"It's been a dream season for the Newman/Haas Team with eight wins from 13 races."
For Australian David Besnard a nervous start required a steely determination to recover and the Gold Coast driver did so, slotting into the top ten on debut.
Having pitted much earlier for fuel, Besnard engineered his Wright Patton Shakespeare Reynard into seventh place just prior to the yellow flag in an excellent first up appearance in the International Series.
"The Australian public has been fantastic, it's been a life-long dream of mine to drive these Champ Cars and it's great to have such support," said Besnard.
"Everytime I got in the car it just got better and better.
"I'll look back on it and say it was fun but it was extremely hard work to be honest."
In the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge, hard charging Kmart Racing driver Greg Murphy manoeuvred his Holden VY Commodore with absolute precision to claim Race two and overall round honours.
Murphy leapfrogged team mate Rick Kelly into third position in the Championship after his back up success following round honours in the Bathurst endurance round.
In another incident soaked showcase, current Series leader Marcos Ambrose (Pirtek Racing) was able to strengthen his position with a second placing and identical points haul, while Todd Kelly (Holden Racing Team) enjoyed hassle-free running into third.
Craig Lowndes (Ford Performance Racing) had settled behind Murphy until an 18th lap altercation with the Bartercard Esses tyre barrier brought about his early departure.
Five laps later Kelly and Jason Bright were involved in a mid-field incident that finished Bright's day and severely dented the PWR driver's Championship aspirations.
Out in front Murphy controlled the lines while Ambrose' persistence finally paid off when he was able to gain the upper-hand over Todd Kelly.
"It's not impossible to win the Championship all it's going to take is one DNF above us and we're right back in it," said Murphy.
"It was a tough race really, really hard and phenomenally hot
"We got a quick start off the line and got safely through the first chicane and I was pretty happy when the safety car came out."
With the extraordinary response to this years Event, Lexmark Indy 300 General Manager James O'Brien has forecast an even brighter future for Queensland's premier Event.
"Once again the Australian and International public has voted with their feet to confirm our belief in the ongoing and continued success of the Lexmark Indy 300," said O'Brien.
"On behalf of everyone associated with the Event I extend my congratulations to all racers on their performances over the weekend and a special thank you to the many volunteers who have again point in a huge effort and contributed substantially to this success.
"There'll be little time to reflect on what has transpired the last four days as we'll soon get cracking in order to ensure 2005 will guarantee a bigger and better showcase here on the Gold Coast."
Gold Coast based Kiwi Craig Baird won his first Australian Carrera Cup round after claiming Race three today.
Baird led home Fabian Coulthard and Tony Quinn in today's race accumulating enough points to win the weekend from Jim Richards and Coulthard.
In today's final Formula 3 race for 2004 Marcus Marshall was first with Aaron Caratti and Chris Alajian filling the minor places.
Karl Reindler's fourth placing confirmed him as the 2004 Formula 3 Champion.
Reindler snatched the series from Chris Gilmour, who was driving this weekend restricted by a broken thumb.