Gold Coast: Richards, Peters - 2002 Champions

Richards & Peters settle championships in Gold Coast Indy finale. Jim Richards picked up his third Nations Cup Championship and Brett Peters his second GT Performance Championship when the PROCAR Champ Series wrapped up its 2002 season at the...

Richards & Peters settle championships in Gold Coast Indy finale.

Jim Richards picked up his third Nations Cup Championship and Brett Peters his second GT Performance Championship when the PROCAR Champ Series wrapped up its 2002 season at the Gold Coast Indy today.

Richards, driving a Porsche GT3 Cup, led from start to finish in a combined Nations Cup and GT Peformance race that was shortened unexpectedly from eight laps to five at the request of Champ Car officials.

It completed a clean sweep of pole position and three races this weekend for Richards, who previously had won only one race this year and started his final assault on the championship from second in the pointscore.

Peters, in a Subaru, took second place behind main rival Geoff Full (Mitsubishi) for the third time this weekend, but it was sufficient to narrowly retain the championship.

Richards jumped away quickly at the rolling start and led Peter Fitzgerald (Porsche), Paul Stokell (Lamborghini), John Bowe (Ferrari) and Geoff Morgan (Viper) into the tight first chicance.

Bowe, fighting to close his season a high note, made a superb pass on Fitzgerald under braking and set off after Richards but lost it all when called into the pits for a drive-through penalty on lap five.

Amost simultaneously, the chequered flag was hung out three laps short of the scheduled distance and Bowe ended his race in the pits, officially classified a non-finisher.

Paul Stokell took second place from Fitzgerald and Morgan, the Viper driver confirming his second place in the championship.

John Teulan from the Gold Coast clinched the Nations Cup Group Two championship with second place in his division today. Rival and Ferrari teammate Sam Newman did not start the final race.

Richards' win capped an extraordinary season of success for the 55-year-old New Zealander.

Just two weeks ago, in partnership with Mark Skaife, he won his seventh Bathurst 1000, surpassing the record of all drivers except Peter Brock.

Earlier in the year he won the challenging Targa Tasmania five-day rally for the sixth time in a Porsche.

And Richards is believed to have become the first driver to win 10 Australian circuit racing championships - four Australian Touring Car Championships, two Australian GT Production Car Championships, three Nations Cup titles and a NASCAR superspeedway championship.

"I'm pretty pleased about winning the Nations Cup again because my little six-cylinder Porsche has definitely been the underdog this season," Richards said.

"We've been racing a great variety of cars - V8 Ferraris, V10 Vipers and a V12 Lamborghini - and that makes it even sweeter."

Peters credited his win in the GT Performance series for production touring cars to consistency and a late-season decision to switch to the latest model Subaru.

"The level of competition is very high in GT Production. We built up some points with a strong start to the season, but Geoff Full and a couple of other guys also had good results and we realised we would have to upgrade our Subaru to stay with the game.

"It's obviously proved to be the right decision. In addition, we have been able to develop our car thoroughly in time for the Bathurst 24-Hours in three weeks' time," Peters said.

Some of the Nations Cup and GT Performance cars will be among 52 scheduled starters at Bathurst on 16-17 November.

Race 3 of 3 (5 laps)

Outright & Nations Cup Group One
1 Jim Richards (Vic.) Porsche GT3 Cup
2 Paul Stokell (Vic.) Lamborghini Diablo GTR
3 Peter Fitzgerald (Vic.) Porsche GT3 Cup
4 Geoff Morgan (NSW) Chrysler Viper
5 Kevin Bell (NZ) Porsche GT3 Cup
6 D'arcy Russell (Vic.) Chrysler Viper

Nations Cup Group Two
1 David Scaysbrook (Qld) Porsche GT3
2 John Teulan (Qld) Ferrari 360 Challenge
3 Rod Wilson (Vic.) Ferrari 360 Challenge

GT Performance
1 Geoff Full (NSW) Mitsubishi Evo VII
2 Brett Peters (Qld) Subaru Impreza STi
3 Wayne Boatwright (NSW) Subaru Impreza STi
4 Mark King (Qld) Mitsubishi Evo VII
5 Trevor Haines (Vic.) Ford Tickford TE50
6 John Falk (Vic.) Subaru Impreza STi

Championship points (after Race 2, Round 8):  Nations Cup Group One & outright - 1 Jim Richards 1211, 2 Geoff Morgan 1177, 3 John Bowe 1087, 4 Paul Stokell 855, 5 Kevin Bell 825, 6 Peter Fitzgerald 760. Nations Cup Group Two - 1 John Teulan 1192, 2 Sam Newman 1117, 3 Steve Beards 1018. GT Performance - 1 Brett Peters 1077, 2 Geoff Full 1060, 3 Graham Alexander 837.

Television:: SBS Speedweek - Saturday 2 November, 4.30 - 5.30. (Check local guides).

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Jim Richards , Mark Skaife , John Bowe , Peter Brock , Geoff Morgan , Peter Fitzgerald , John Teulan , Trevor Haines , John Falk , Paul Stokell , Geoff Full , Mark King , Wayne Boatwright , Rod Wilson , Brett Peters , Kevin Bell