CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP DARWIN RACE ONE 6th June 1999 PAINT SWAPPING CONTROVERSY IN TOP END Reigning Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Champion Domenic Beninca emerged with a battle scarred ...
CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
DARWIN RACE ONE 6th June 1999
PAINT SWAPPING CONTROVERSY IN TOP END
Reigning Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Champion Domenic Beninca emerged with a battle scarred victory in today’s opening race of round three at Darwin’s Hidden Valley circuit.
The Porsche 911 RSCS driver’s win was not without controversy with rivals Jim Richards and Peter Fitzgerald both finishing with damaged cars.
In late breaking news, Beninca was later exluded from the results by race stewards.
Richards took the lead on the opening lap but had fallen back to fourth as they crossed the start-finish line at the end of the lap.
"I would have been leading had I not been pushed off line at clubhouse corner," Richards said.
"I’ll have to have a look at the video tape and see if anything needs to be done about it with the stewards."
Fitzgerald looked set for a fairytale comeback after nearly demolishing his car at Phillip Island in a crash with the spun Suzuki Swift GTi of Craig Dontas.
He led the opening nine laps before spinning off at the end of the main straight and having a tyre roll off the rim. Fitzgerald alleged Beninca made contact with the rear of his car.
"If that is the only way people need to drive to win races, but it is certainly not the way I like to drive," Fitzgerald said.
"If the officials need don’t do anything about it I will."
Wayne Park drove strongly aboard the Ferrari F355 Challenge to grab third in the Meguiar’s Top Marques Class A division ahead of the Porsche 911 RSCS of Ed Aitken.
Craig Dean was eliminated on the opening lap aboard his Ford Mustang Saleen after he and Geoff Morgan’s Porsche 911 RSCS made contact and left the circuit.
Geoff Full’s barnstroming winning run in the Autobarn Class B division continued aboard his Subaru Impreza WRX. Paula Elstrek’s (Mazda RX7) attack was hindered after she and Mark King (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III) made contact on the opening lap with the female driver suffering a wild spin.
Mark Cohen (Holden Commodore VS SS) held out the newer VT model Commodore of Peter Phelan to win Class C while Ric Shaw was untroubled on his way to the Class S victory aboard his Toyota MR2 Bathurst.
GTP LIGHTS Phil Kirkham drove strongly to take the GTP Lights Class D victory, but not before holding a strong challenge for outright positions from his team-mate Matt Lehmann aboard a Class S Mazda MX5.
Filling in for Kirkham’s wife Megan who usually drives the car, Lehmann hassled the back of the Mazda 626 for the entire event.
AFL media star Sam Newman finished 22nd outright in his Class D debut in the new Holden Vectra GL 2.2.
Nathan Thomas’ attack on Class E was halted after damaging a gearbox seal, blowing oil and eventually retiring. Kosi Kalaitzidis’ Proton M21 Coupe took the victory.
RESULTS RACE ONE 18 LAPS 1. Jim Richards, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 23:17.540 2. Wayne Park, Ferrari F355 Challenge (A) 23:35.363 3. Ed Aitken, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 23:36.529 4. Jamie Cartwright, Toyota Supra RZ 23;07.618 Class B Geoff Full, Subaru Impreza WRX 1 lap Class C Mark Cohen, Holden Commodore VS SS 1 lap Class D Phil Kirkham, Mazda 626 1 lap Class E Kosi Kalaitzidis, Proton M21 Coupe 2 laps Class S Ric Shaw, Toyota MR2 Bathurst 1 lap
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