Ferrari hold on Nations Cup broken

PORSCHE driver Jim Richards broke the hold of the Italian exoticars on the Century Batteries GTP Nations Cup when he won the first leg of round three on the streets of Canberra today. Richards, the defending GTP champion, made an ...

PORSCHE driver Jim Richards broke the hold of the Italian exoticars on the Century Batteries GTP Nations Cup when he won the first leg of round three on the streets of Canberra today.

Richards, the defending GTP champion, made an immaculate start from pole position in his Porsche 911 GT3 and led all the way, holding out the fast-finishing Ferrari F360 Modena of Mark Noske, who set the quickest lap time in the 22-car field on the last of eight laps.

The result, the first for the German Porsche in the new national series, saw Noske's lead over Richards in the Meguiar's Top Marques Drivers Championship trimmed from six points to two.

Peter Fitzgerald, in another Porsche GT3, scored his best result of the season to take third spot, ahead of the Lamborghini Diablo of three-time Australian driving champion Paul Stokell.

The win count among the production exoticars now stands at two each for Noske and Stokell, representing Italy, and one for Richards, with two more 10-lap races to be run tomorrow.

However, a win in race two will be difficult with the starting grid being the reverse of today's finishing order. Race three starting will be determined on points earned in the first two races.

Richards said he didn't mind that his win had been turned into a handicap tomorrow.

"We're racing for the championship with the guys who will be at the back of the grid with us. The challenge is to get past them and I'm confident the Porsche will be up to the job," he said. <pre> RESULTS: 1. Jim Richards (Porsche 911 GT3) 2. Mark Noske (Ferrari F360 Modena) 3. Peter Fitzgerald (Porsche 911 GT3) 4. Paul Stokell (Lamborghini Diablo SVR) 5. Wayne Park (Ferrari F360 Modena Challenge) 6. Peter Bradbury (Porsche 911 GT3)

MEGUIAR'S TOP MARQUES DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP: 1. Mark Noske 65 4. Peter Fitzgerald 36 2. Jim Richards 63 5. Peter Bradbury 26 3. Paul Stokell 46 6. Steve Webb 20

TIMETABLE: Sunday 10.10 am - Race 2 (10 laps., reverse grid), 1.45 pm - Race 3 (10 laps).

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Series Supercars
Drivers Jim Richards , Mark Noske , Peter Fitzgerald , Paul Stokell , Wayne Park