Championship to be settled at Surfers Paradise

Two of Australia's fastest GT drivers will pilot two of Europe's fastest GT cars in a sudden-death fight for the Donut King Australian Nations Cup Championship in the final round starting today on the Gold Coast Indy street circuit. The three...

Two of Australia's fastest GT drivers will pilot two of Europe's fastest GT cars in a sudden-death fight for the Donut King Australian Nations Cup Championship in the final round starting today on the Gold Coast Indy street circuit.

The three Nations Cup races will be a David-and-Goliath contest between series leader Paul Stokell, in a 6.0 litre, V12 Lamborghini Diablo GTR and John Bowe, in a 3.6 litre, six-cylinder Porsche GT3 RS.

With a total of 93 points available for pole position and three wins, both drivers have strong mathemical chances of taking the Meguiar's Drivers Championship.

However, at the end of one of the toughest Nations Cup seasons on record, neither believes he will have an advantage at Surfers Paradise.

Stokell, who leads Bowe by just 16 points, fears a horsepower restriction imposed by series officials on the Lamborghini after 11 wins from 21 starts will slow the car too much.

Meanwhile, Bowe is unfamiliar with the Porsche, having raced a Ferrari for the first six rounds and a borrowed Chrysler Viper in the seventh.

He has six wins to his credit this season, but also a superior record of five pole positions to Stokell's two.

Achieving pole position and an inside run to the tight first chicane could be the difference between winning and losing at Surfers Paradise.

While the main focus will be on who takes the championship, other drivers share a good chance of winning races.

Peter Brock will be hunting the smaller cars in his 7.0 litre Holden Monaro, hoping for a first Nations Cup win to cap his return to the track after a five-year retirement.

Stokell's Team Lamborghini Australia has drafted rapid young Formula 3 star Peter Hackett into a second Lamborghini, while Bowe has a new teammate from Austria.

Vienna-based Klaus Engelhorn will drive a Ferrari 360GT bought recently from Bowe's PHR Scuderia.

Engelhorn is using the weekend to gain experience for next month's Bathurst 24-Hour race, but having tasted success in the final round of the Ferrari 360 Challenge series at Mugello, Italy, last Sunday, he is certain to be a contender on his first visit to Australia.

Brock's teammate Nathan Pretty and Porsche drivers Peter Fitzgerald, Martin Wagg and Mark Eddy also promise strong drives.

The Maserati team will be back up to two cars, for Rod Wilson and Gary Young, in the Group Two competition, but they face stiff competition from several Porsche and Ferrari drivers, including new class champion James Koundouris and Allan Simonsen, from Denmark.

Speed Read

Timetable: Thursday, 8.35 practice, 11.30 qualifying, 2.25 race 1 (7 laps); Friday, not on track; Saturday, 5.10 race 2 (7 laps); Sunday, 8.40 race 3 (7 laps).

-www.procar.com.au-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Nathan Pretty , John Bowe , Allan Simonsen , Peter Brock , James Koundouris , Paul Stokell , Peter Hackett , Rod Wilson , Gary Young , Mark Eddy