MELBOURNE driver Peter Fitzgerald led a train of Porsches from start to finish to win the first leg of round three of the Megamantis.com Australian Nations Cup Championship in Canberra today. Fitzgerald, who earlier had qualified second,...
MELBOURNE driver Peter Fitzgerald led a train of Porsches from start to finish to win the first leg of round three of the Megamantis.com Australian Nations Cup Championship in Canberra today.
Fitzgerald, who earlier had qualified second, was given a surprise advantage when pole sitter Paul Stokell retired his Lamborghini Diablo with a broken driveshaft on his way to the start line.
The rolling start saw Fitzgerald leap into the lead and build an early two-second gap over defending Nations Cup champion Jim Richards, also in a Porsche.
"I wanted to build a lead and then rest my brakes, but Jim started piling on the pressure toward the end and I had to work a bit to defend first place," Fitzgerald said.
Richards crossed the finish line just 0.6 seconds behind, after setting a new lap record in his determined pursuit of Fitzgerald.
Tony Quinn and Dominic Beninca came third and fourth in identical Porsche GT3 coupes, with Chrysler Viper driver D'arcy Russell achieving one of his best Nations Cup finishes in fifth spot.
The results saw Richards and Fitzgerald each move up one place to first and second in the 2001 series, Stokell slipping from the lead into third spot with only one point scored for pole.
Craig Baird, standing in for an injured Mark Noske, came seventh in the Prancing Horse team Ferrari after falling to 12th on lap two when officials penalised him for jumping the start.
MEGAMANTIS.COM AUSTRALIAN NATIONS CUP CHAMPIONSHIP (Round 3)
Race 1 (8 laps): 1. P. Fitzgerald (Porsche GT3) 2. J. Richards (Porsche GT3) 3. T. Quinn (Porsche GT3) 4. D. Beninca (Porsche GT3) 5. D. Russell (Chrysler Viper ACR) 6. M. Warwick (Porsche GT3)
Pole: P. Stokell (Lamborghini Diablo SVR) 1:50.36 Fastest race lap: Richards 1:50.88 (record)
MEGUIARS DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP: 260 points J. Richards, 250 P. Fitzgerald, 218 P.Stokell, 211 T. Quinn, 166 M. Noske, 140 D. Beninca.
TIMETABLE: Sunday - 9.50 am Race 2 (8 laps), 12.40 pm Race 3 (8 laps).