Gold Coast local Mark King clinched the Australian GT Performance Championship with a steady run while his opposition suffered a terminal blow in the second last race of the season at the Lexmark Indy 300 event today. King...
Gold Coast local Mark King clinched the Australian GT Performance Championship with a steady run while his opposition suffered a terminal blow in the second last race of the season at the Lexmark Indy 300 event today.
King brought his Mitsubishi Evo home third in the second of three round-eight races presented by Lukey Exhausts on the Surfers Paradise street circuit, scoring enough points to put his second GTP championship beyond challenge.
It was a dramatic change of circumstances for King, who after yesterday's first race believed his hopes were gone when his only rival Wayne Boatwright crossed the finish line first and briefly took the series lead.
But last night stewards excluded Boatwright's Subaru because of an engine irregularity, costing him 30 championship points, and today his engine failed on the second lap.
"What a change of fortune from yesterday! After the results of the stewards' hearing last night, I just hung on for third today to clinch the title," King said.
"I'm just so excited to wrap up the championship before the round is over. It's a great reward for the team and my sponsors after a long, hard year."
Holden GTS driver Peter Floyd took the win this morning by a nose over Boatwright's teammate Justin Hemmes, whose impressive performance made amends for a mistake yesterday that cost him 30 points in the stewards room.
The Protecnica Subaru team discovered after the race that Hemmes also had blown an engine. With only one spare, Boatwright has decided to sit out the final race.
"Justin and I have both blown engines and we only have one spare. I can't win the championship now and I can't lose second place, so we might as well give the engine to Justin and let him go for a race win," Boatwright said.
Floyd got the jump off pole position at the start over John Falk (Falcon TE50), with Peter Boylan following in third. On lap three, Falk braked too late and hit the wall at the Energex chicane, allowing Boylan to take second.
Mark King was making steady progress up the order after starting fifth, but the hard charger was Hemmes, who had started from the rear of the field.
He caught King with a clean inside pass on the back of the circuit and was challenging Boylan for second place when the BMW lost a fan belt and retired.
Hemmes then pressed Floyd for the lead on the final lap, but the Holden V8 had the power to hold on to the flag.
RESULTS (Race 2, round 8)
1. Peter Floyd (Vic.) Holden GTS
2. Justin Hemmes (NSW) Subaru STi
3. Mark King (Qld) Mitsubishi Evo
4. Barry Morcom (NSW) Holden GTS
5. John Falk (Vic.) Ford Falcon TE50
6. Graham Alexander (Vic.) Mitsubishi Evo