Gold Coast driver Mark King extended his lead in the Australian GT Performance Championship after an incident-packed opening to the final round at the Gold Coast Indy today. King's closest rival for the title, Wayne ...
Gold Coast driver Mark King extended his lead in the Australian GT Performance Championship after an incident-packed opening to the final round at the Gold Coast Indy today.
King's closest rival for the title, Wayne Boatwright, finished first in the race and would have taken over a significant lead if he had not lost his place in a subsequent stewards' hearing.
The stewards found Boatwright's team guilty of an engine irregularity in his Subaru and excluded the team and car, denying him 30 points. The team has appealed the finding.
The controversy was a bonus for King, who finished only fifth in his Mitsubishi Lancer and would have faced a struggle to secure his second GTP title.
He now has 318 points to Boatwright's 303, which includes three points earned for setting pole position this morning.
Holden GTS driver Peter Floyd, winner of the race following Boatwright's exclusion, will start from pole position in tomorrow's second of three legs in round eight.
Boatwright's team suffered a further blow in the aftermath of a crash that brought out the safety car on the fourth of seven laps.
Victorian Trevor Haines hit the concrete barrier at ANA Corner in his Ford Falcon GT and the safety car remained on track until the beginning of the last lap.
As Boatwright stormed away to a big lead on the restart, teammate Justin Hemmes appeared to hold back in second spot, with the rest of the field bunched behind.
The first chicane was hectic with all the cars trying to make it through cleanly; Hemmes was tagged and hit the wall.
Later, Hemmes was found guilty of holding up the field and fined 30 championship points, dropping him from fourth in the series to equal-sixth.
"It's a pity about Justin being hit from behind on the restart. It's his decision as to how slow he wants to go - we had no team orders in place," Boatwright said.
"There are plenty of examples during the year where he hasn't worked to advantage me. If I was him and I had a V8 Holden or Ford beside me, I'd wait until the last possible moment to accelerate in the Subaru too."
RESULTS (Race 1, round 8)
1. Peter Floyd (Vic.) Holden GTS
2. John Falk (Vic.) Ford FalconTE50
3. Peter Boylan (NSW) BMW M3
4. Barry Morcom (NSW) Holden GTS
5. Mark King (Qld) MitsubishiLancer Evo
6. Jim Stewart (NSW) SubaruImpreza STi