CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP EASTERN CREEK PRACTICE 26th March 1999 BENINCA PREDICTS TIMES WILL TUMBLE Despite setting the pace on the opening day of round one of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production...
CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
EASTERN CREEK PRACTICE 26th March 1999
BENINCA PREDICTS TIMES WILL TUMBLE
Despite setting the pace on the opening day of round one of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship, reigning champ Domenic Beninca believes times are set to fall dramatically tomorrow.
While 1997 title winner Peter Fitzgerald topped the timesheets in the opening session in his Porsche 911 RSCS, Beninca set the fastest time of the day in the afternoon session, stopping the clocks at 1:41.722.
Terry Bosnjak's Mazda RX7-SP showed his pole position at Bathurst last year was no fluke, putting his machine in the top three in both sessions while the Porsche 911 RSCS's of Jim Richards, Geoff Morgan and Ed Aitken were fourth, fifth and sixth in both sessions.
"We are still running on old tyres today and the times are still a long way off what we ran last year," Beninca said.
"I'm still a bit rusty myself, so with new tyres and more laps under my belt - the times will be significantly quicker tomorrow.
"Everybody will improve tomorrow so you really have to be sharp to ensure a strong qualifying performance."
With the new cars of Craig Dean (Ford Mustang Saleen) and Ian Palmer (TVR Chimeara) still coming up to speed - the top ten were completed by Darren Palmer (Ferrari F355 Challenge) and Perry Spiridis (Maserati Ghibli) along with the new cars of Beric Lynton (BMW M3-R) and Damien White (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V).
Geoff Full set the fastest time of the day in Class B aboard the '98 title winning Kousparis Brothers Subaru Impreza WRX. Peter Boylan was fastest in the afternoon session while the standard Mazda RX7 (not the SP model) of Bob Hughes impressed to be third fastest in the morning session.
David Ratcliff's Toyota Camry Touring continued his championship winning form in Class C. Ratcliff set the fastest time in the morning session while Ryan McLeod was the fastest Class C man in the afternoon session with a Ford Falcon XR8.
In Class S, Colin Osborne surprised by out-pacing his title- winning team-mate, Ric Shaw - both aboard Toyota MR2s.
GTP LIGHTS The only Class D entrant for this weekend, Phil Kirkham (Mazda 626) actually swapped places with his wife Megan (Mazda MX-5) after the first session. Both headed in GTP LIghts by Class E entrant Nathan Thomas aboard a Suzuki Swift GTi.
After strong results at Bathurst in recent years, Thomas impressed to lead fellow debutant Paul Buda and Sue Hughes.
RESULTS PRACTICE ONE 1. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:42.583 2. Terry Bosnjak, Mazda RX7 SP (A) 1:42.714 3. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:43.217 4. Jim Richards, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:43.339
Class B Geoff Full, Subaru Impreza WRX 1:48.474 Class C David Ratcliff, Toyota Camry Touring 1:52.781 Class D Phil Kirkham, Mazda 626 1:55.861 Class E Nathan Thomas, Suzuki Swift GTi 1:55.643 Class S Colin Osborne, Toyota MR2 Bathurst 1:52.964
PRACTICE TWO 1. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:41.722 2. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:42.299 3. Terry Bosnjak, Mazda RX7 SP (A) 1:42.657 4. Jim Richards, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:43.083
Class B Peter Boylan, Subaru Impreza WRX 1:48.863 Class C Ryan McLeod, Ford Falcon EL XR8 1:55.822 Class D Megan Kirkham, Mazda 626 2:00.156 Class E Nathan Thomas, Suzuki Swift GTi 1:55.480 Class S Colin Osborne, Toyota MR2 Bathurst 1:53.861