Clipsal: Thursday report

Stokell & Lamborghini Blitz First-Day Nations Cup Times in Adelaide ADELAIDE - PAUL Stokell launched the defence of his Australian Nations Cup Championship in dominant style here today, taking his Lamborghini Diablo straight to the top of the ...

Stokell & Lamborghini Blitz First-Day Nations Cup Times in Adelaide

ADELAIDE - PAUL Stokell launched the defence of his Australian Nations Cup Championship in dominant style here today, taking his Lamborghini Diablo straight to the top of the practice timesheets for the first round of 2004.

Stokell's 1 minute 23.78 seconds lap of the 3.22 kilometre Parklands street circuit equalled last year's pole position mark and left rivals a long way behind.

Danish driver Allan Simonsen, 24, finished 2.6 sec. behind in second place, but promised his spectacular new Ferrari 550 Maranello would be faster for qualifying tomorrow.

The Nations Cup for GT sports cars heads five racing categories in the PROCAR Champ Series being staged at the Clipsal 500 meeting this weekend.

The opening rounds of the Nations Cup, GT Performance, Production Cars, V8 Brutes and Formula 3 championships put more than 100 cars on the grid today.

Holden Monaros, driven by Nathan Pretty and James Brock were third and fourth fastest respectively in the 20 minute Nations Cup practice session.

James was having his first drive of the 7.0 litre car run usually by his father Peter Brock, while a second Monaro for the new Team Brock is nearing completion.

The younger Brock was more than five seconds slower than Stokell, but the Lamborghini driver was the only leading runner to use fresh tyres and expects the competition to be tighter for the weekend's three races.

I don't think we'll have it all our own way this weekend. This is the start of the year and we can't afford to make mistakes; we just want to get some points on board early," Stokell said.

Simonsen's Ferrari, which contested the American Le Mans Series last year, used the practice session for its first serious run since arriving in Australia and the Mark Coffey Racing team was pleased to be even a distant second.

"The car was bouncing around, because the suspension still has stiff settings for the smooth overseas tracks," Simonsen said.

"But really we're thrilled with it - it's really just a set-up issue and this is P1 (first practice) of day one. We hadn't driven the car like this before."

Making its first competition appearance in Australia, Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution 8 touring car in the hands of current champion Mark King topped practice for round one of the Australian GT Performance Championship.

King, who won two of this three races here last year, was a half-second ahead of Subaru Impreza driver Justin Hemmes, in turn a mere eight-hundredths ahead of his teammate Wayne Boatwright.

The field of 30 GTP cars features nine makes -- Mitsubishi, Subaru, BMW, HSV, Ford, Nissan, Mazda, Volkswagen and Alfa Romeo.

Defending champion Scott Loadsman took pole position for the first race of the 2004 Australian Production Car Championship in his Holden Commodore SS.

Debuting a new Subaru Liberty, 17-year-old Chris Alajajian put in a great effort to end up beside Loadsman on the front row of the grid after his team had to defeat a road speed limiter which restricted him to 160 kmh in the first practice session.

Class B's Ian Luff, in a Honda Integra, was third fastest and will be lining up alongside Volkswagen Beetle driver Steve Grocl for tomorrow's first of two eight-lap races for round one.

David Russell proved fastest of the class D mall cars in his Proton Satria GTi, but will face competition from newcomer Lauren Gray, a 17-year-old school student, and regular Rick Bates in his 660 cc Daihatsu Copen -- the smallest of 199 cars on track in all categories this weekend.

Holdens dominated both practice sessions of the V8 BRutes Series, with local Adelaide driver Gary Baxter topping the sheets in the first session and overall and Team Brock's Damien White in second.

Baxter very nearly topped both sessions until White jumped up on the final lap of the session to beat Baxter's time by nearly 0.2 seconds.

Rookie Coopers driver Luke May swiped a wall in his Ford Falcon XR8 in the first session. The car was repaired for the second session but the former karting star finished only 23 rd.

Queenslander Ben Wilson, another rookie drafted only yesterday into the second Team Brock Holden, finished third out of the two sessions.


Australian Nations Cup Championship (Rd 1, practice)
GT class (outright)
1. Paul Stokell (Lamborghini) 1 min. 23.78 sec.
2. Allan Simonsen (Ferrari) 1:26.38
3. Nathan Pretty (Monaro) 1:27.72
Trophy class
1. John Teulan (Ferrari) 1:31.97
2. James Koundouris (Ferrari) 1:32.61
3. Theo Koundouris (Porsche) 1:33.78

Australian GT Performance Championship (Rd 1, practice)
1. Mark King (Mitsubishi) 1:34.41
2. Justin Hemmes (Subaru) 1:35.00
3. Wayne Boatwright (Subaru) 1:35.08

V8 BRutes Series (Rd 1, practice combined)
1. Gary Baxter (Holden) 1:41.25
2. Damien White (Holden) 1:41.66
3. Ben Wilson (Holden) 1:41.66

Australian Production Car Championship (Rd 1, qualifying)
1. Scott Loadsman (Holden Commodore SS) 1:40.48
2. Chris Alajajian (Subaru Liberty GT) 1:41.72
3. Ian Luff (Honda Integra Type-R) 1:42.96
Class A - Scott Loadsman
Class B - Ian Luff
Class C - AJ Lewis (Toyota Camry) 1:45.38
Class D - David Russell (Proton Satria GTi) 1:46.81

FRIDAY TIMETABLE: Nations Cup - 10.55am Practice (20 min.). GT Performance - 8.50am Practice (20 min.), 12.50pm Qualifying (20 min.). V8 BRutes -- 8.20am Qualifying (15 min.), 3.05pm Race 1 (7 laps). Production Cars -- 11.30am Race 1 (8 laps).

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Nathan Pretty , Rick Bates , Allan Simonsen , Peter Brock , James Koundouris , John Teulan , Paul Stokell , Theo Koundouris , Mark King , Wayne Boatwright , Scott Loadsman , Ian Luff , James Brock , Ben Wilson , Chris Alajajian , Damien White , Lauren Gray , David Russell
Teams Nissan Motorsport