CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 8th JUNE 1999 BENINCA THROWN A FERRARI LIFELINE Reigning Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Champion Domenic Beninca has the chance to keep his title defence hopes alive...
CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
8th JUNE 1999
BENINCA THROWN A FERRARI LIFELINE
Reigning Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Champion Domenic Beninca has the chance to keep his title defence hopes alive with a last minute switch to the Ross Palmer Motorsport Ferrari F355 Challenge for this weekend’s round at Queensland Raceway.
Beninca’s Porsche 911 RSCS was badly damaged in a dramatic race crash in the last round of the Championship at Sandown.
With repairs not completed in time for this weekend, Beinca was forced to secure a replacement Porsche for this weekend’s event.
With his Porsche search unsuccessful, Beninca looked set to virtually hand the 1999 title to points leader Jim Richards by not racing in Queensland.
However, PROCAR Chairman Ross Palmer has thrown Beninca a lifeline by allowing the Melbourne driver to step aboard the Ferrari F355 Challenge for the weekend.
After starring in recent rounds, usual Ferrari driver Wayne Park will gracefully stand aside for the weekend to keep the Championship chase alive.
"Domenic is a worthy champion, but the crash has really stretched his team and it would be a real pity for him to lose the Championship like that," PROCAR Chairman, Ross Palmer said.
"I’d love to see Domenic or Jim win the title, but I’d prefer that the pair of them fight it out on the track, rather than have a front runner fall out of the series through a crash.
"I’m sure that’s the why Jim would want it as well.
"Wayne has been very impressive in the past couple of rounds and while he will be disappointed to miss the Queensland race, he will be back in the car for Calder.
"I have a great respect for Wayne and am keen to see him run for the full year in 2000."
Before Beninca climbs aboard the Poolrite-sponsored Ferrari, the team still face a heavy workload in completing repairs from it’s crash at Sandown.
Park blew a clutch on the start-line in race two at Sandown, with John Teulan’s Nissan Skyline GT-R Turbo slamming into the stationary Italian stallion on the grid.
"I really owe Ross a huge thankyou, because if it wasn’t for him, our championship was finished," Beninca said.
"Driving the Ferrari is certainly going to be very different to the Porsche and I am not expecting miracles. It took guys like John Bowe and Neil Crompton a few races to get used to the car, and I am sure it will be the same for me.
"The aim of the game will be to finish the weekend, not scratch the car, yet try to not let Jim get too far away in the points.
"I am hopeful we will have our Porsche repaired in time for the next race at Calder. We have done pretty well at Calder over the past couple of years and we will be trying to get our championship defence back on track there.
"But for this weekend, I really can’t thank Ross enough. Wayne has been doing a great job in the car, and I just hope I will be able to do it justice."
Paul Ryan email@example.com