THE German Porsches of GTP champions Jim Richards and Peter Fitzgerald held off a pack of Italy's fastest exoticars in the opening practice sessions today for round five of the Century Batteries GTP Nations Cup at Oran Park, NSW. ...
THE German Porsches of GTP champions Jim Richards and Peter Fitzgerald held off a pack of Italy's fastest exoticars in the opening practice sessions today for round five of the Century Batteries GTP Nations Cup at Oran Park, NSW.
Richards, winner of the GT Production Car championship in 1995 and 1999 and current points leader in the new-for-2000 GTP Nations Cup, set a lap time of 1 minute 12.50 seconds in his Porsche GT3 in the second of two sessions on the 2.62 km circuit.
Fitzgerald, champion in 1998, was 0.6 sec. behind Richards in an identical car and ahead of Mark Noske, Christian Jones and Wayne Park, all in Ferrari F360 Modena Challenge coupes.
Paul Stokell, driving a Lamborghini Diablo SVR, finished sixth-fastest today.
Richards will aim to convert his speed into pole position tomorrow - and an additional championship point - but says his focus is on Sunday's two races.
Noske, who is now second in the Meguiar's Top Marques Drivers Championship after leading in the first three rounds, debuted a brand new Ferrari today. He was slowed by problems with the car's electronic clutchless gearchange and said he hoped to go faster tomorrow.
V8 Supercar driver Craig Baird was 10th-fastest in Noske's =B3old" Prancing Horse Racing Ferrari, but the team later decided to postpone the New Zealander's championship entry until the next round in Melbourne on August 20.
A total of 22 cars practised today, with Porsche and BMW representing Germany, Lamborghini and Ferrari from Italy, Dodge Viper from the United States, Brabham-Honda, Mazda and Nissan from Japan and Peter Landan's new Lotus Elise 200R coupe the first representative for Britain. <pre> RESULTS: Lap time 1. Jim Richards (Porsche 911 GT3) 1:12.50 2. Peter Fitzgerald (Porsche 911 GT3) 1:13.10 3. Mark Noske (Ferrari F360 Modena Challenge) 1:13.27 4. Christian Jones (Ferrari F360 Modena Challenge) 1:13.37 5. Wayne Park (Ferrari F360 Modena Challenge) 1:13.63 6. Paul Stokell (Lamborghini Diablo SVR) 1:13.99
TIMETABLE: Saturday 12.15 pm - Qualifying (30 min.), 3.35 pm - Practice (1 5 min.); Sunday 10.45 am - Race 1 (15 in.), 4.20 pm - Race 2 (20 min.).