Gold Coast win puts Jim Richards on the brink of third Nations Cup Championship. - Full wins GT Performance race, but Peters leads series. Less than a fortnight after winning his seventh Bathurst 1000, Jim Richards closed on a third straight ...
Gold Coast win puts Jim Richards on the brink of third Nations Cup
- Full wins GT Performance race, but Peters leads series.
Less than a fortnight after winning his seventh Bathurst 1000, Jim Richards closed on a third straight Australian Nations Cup Championship in leg one of the final round on the Surfers Paradise Indy street circuit today.
Swapping his Holden V8 Supercar for a Porsche GT3 Cup coupe, motorsport's "Mr Versatile" led the eight-lap race from pole position to chequered flag, followed by Lamborghini driver Paul Stokell and John Bowe in a Ferrari 360GT.
Championship leader Geoff Morgan came home fourth in a Chrysler Viper, but now has a margin of only one point over Richards with two more races to be run over the weekend.
Richards' win was only his second from 22 Nations Cup starts this season, but he has made a habit of winning in a remarkable record of 11 years' racing at the Gold Coast.
Today's race combined the exotic Nations Cup sports cars with high performance touring cars contesting the final round of the Australian GT Performance Championship.
The GT Performance result set the scene for yet another close championship decider.
Queenslander Brett Peters retained his points lead after claiming pole position and finishing second in a Subaru in the GT Performance division, but his nearest challenger Geoff Full (Mitsubishi) narrowed the margin to 27 points with a comfortable win.
In Group Two of the Nations Cup, Porsche driver David Scaysbrook from Brisbane won the race, but it was the Gold Coast's John Teulan who extended his lead in the series pointscore over Ferrari teammate and football personality Sam Newman.
While the race was uneventful, the field of 33 entrants was reduced by one in qualifying earlier when Gold Coast driver Tony Quinn crashed his Porsche GT3 Cup coupe at the beach chicane.
The crash into the wall ripped off the right-front suspension and the car has been withdrawn from the round.
"I was following Paul Stokell's Lamborghini, which is pretty wide, and I couldn't see around it. He went really close to the wall, but I went that little bit extra and smacked it," said Quinn, who will now leave earlier to compete in next week's Targa New Zealand Rally in another Porsche.
Australian Nations Cup Championship (Round 8), Autralian GT Performance Championship (Round 8):
Race 1 (8 laps)
Outright & Nations Cup Group One
1 Jim Richards (Vic.) Porsche GT3 Cup
2 Paul Stokell (Vic.) Lamborghini Diablo GTR
3 John Bowe (Vic.) Ferrari 360GT
4 Geoff Morgan (NSW) Chrysler Viper
5 Peter Fitzgerald (Vic.) Porsche GT3 Cup
6 Kevin Bell (NZ) Porsche GT3 Cup
1 Geoff Full (NSW) Mitsubishi Evo VII
2 Brett Peters (Qld) Subaru Impreza STi
3 Graham Alexander (Vic.) Mitsubishi Evo V
4 Wayne Boatwright (NSW) Subaru Impreza STi
5 Barry Morcom (NSW) Holden GTS 300i
6 Gary Deane (Qld) Subaru Impreza STi
Championship points (after Race 1, Round 8): Nations Cup Group One & outright 1092 Geoff Morgan, 1091 Jim Richards, 1032. Nations Cup Group Two - 1082 John Teulan, 1062 Sam Newman. GT Performance - 967 Brett Peters, 940 Geoff Full, 809 Graham Alexander.
Timetable: Friday - not on track. Saturday - 9.10 Race 2 (8 laps). Sunday - 8.55 Race 3 (8 laps).
Television. SBS Speedweek - Saturday 2 November, 4.30 - 5.30. (Check local guides).