Oran Park Preview

CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP ORAN PARK PREVIEW 30th AUGUST 1999 Six time Bathurst winner Jim Richards enters this weekend¹s final round of the 1999 Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship on...

CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP

ORAN PARK PREVIEW 30th AUGUST 1999

Six time Bathurst winner Jim Richards enters this weekend¹s final round of the 1999 Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship on a high note.

After just failing to clinch the Super Touring Championship last weekend for Volvo, betting on the outright stakes of the Century Batteries Championship will be a long shot at Oran Park with Richards looking set to claim his second GTP crown.

The Porsche 911 RSCS driver currently leads fellow Porsche pilot Peter Fitzgerald by 24.5 points in what has been one of the best competitions on track this year. Fifteen points for each race and a point for pole position will mean that every lap at Oran Park will count toward victory in the race for the title.

Similarly, Richards leads Fitzy by 26.5 points in the Meguiar¹s Top Marques Class A division, leaving open many different scenarios to decide the winner by the end of the weekend.

"Of course I¹m a realist and I know it¹s a long shot, Jim¹s out in front and I¹ll have a tough job of pulling him back. But we all know that anything can happen out there on track, and it often does. We¹ll be going to Oran Park with every intention of chasing victory," said Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald and Richards know what it¹s like to be racing bumper to bumper for victory. Together with Beninca and Park, the whole season has been a close battle where every point counts.

"Jim¹s lead is not unbeatable but he does have the upper hand going into the final round. I¹ve had a few costly races this year. Rolling the tyre off the rim at Hidden Valley, the DNF at Winton and our Phillip Island crash were our three bad luck rounds that will make my job tough this weekend at Oran Park," said Fitzgerald.

Class E will be one of the most hotly contested competitions at Oran Park Raceway. Victory is still open to both Kosi Kalaitzidis (Proton M21 Coupe) and Sue Hughes (Suzuki Swift GTi), with Nathan Thomas (Suzuki Swift GTi) striving to clinch second position in the class.

This year¹s competition has been tight, and Kalaitzidis says that outright success on the day may be decided as much by fate as it will the best performance.

"This year luck has played a big part in determining the winner at any one event. I didn¹t make the first round and have had a couple of DNFs and some of the other competitors in the class have had bad runs as well.

We all know that with a competition as tough as GTP that anything is possible on the day," said Kalaitzidis.

"Sue Hughes has probably had the best run this year and her consistency has sent her up the order just behind me, and in front of Nathan (Thomas) in points. It¹s great for the championship that the class has been so hotly contended."

Kalaitzidis is confident that any bad luck is behind him and he is aiming for a trouble free run to cement his lead in the championship in the first race of the weekend.

"My number one priority at Oran Park is to finish the first race which should just about hand me the class title. Hopefully then it will be smooth sailing and we¹ll be able to pop the bubbly by the end of the weekend."

The manufacturer¹s championship is still open to Holden and Porsche, with the best class performances on the day deciding the victor. The driver¹s effecting the manufacturer¹s points are Jim Richards, Peter Fitzgerald, Domenic Beninca, Ed Aitken and Geoff Morgan in Porsches and Peter Phelan, Roland Hill, Mark Cohen, Melinda Price and Sam Newman in Holdens. Toyota and Mazda will fight it out for third and fourth spot.

Class titles already wrapped up include Geoff Full (Autobarn Class B - Subaru Impreza WRX), Peter Phelan (Class C ­ Holden Commodore VT SS), Phil Kirkham (Class D - Mazda 626) and Ric Shaw (Class S - Toyota MR2 Bathurst).

Leading stars returning to the GTP action this weekend include rally star Neal Bates aboard Ray Lintott¹s Dodge Viper GTS Coupe and Iron Man hero Guy Andrews who will drive a Class C Ford Falcon XR6.

Andrews will also team-up with V8 Supercar star Tony Longhurst in the same car for the 3-Hour Bathurst Showroom Showdown in November before the car is won by a member of the public in a major competition being run by Century Batteries and Autobarn.

Other newcomers include Garry Holt and former V8 Supercar driver Don Pulver, both driving Subaru Impreza WRXs as well as David Crowe aboard a Suzuki Swift GTi

ENTRIES

CLASS A ­ Meguiar¹s Top Marques 1 - Domenic Beninca - PORSCHE 911 RSCS - 3 - Peter Fitzgerald - PORSCHE 911 RSCS - 5 - Jim Richards - PORSCHE 911 RSCS - 7 - Peter Boylan - MITSUBISHI Lancer RS Turbo EVO V - 8 - Ed Aitken - PORSCHE 911 RSCS - 9 - Neal Bates - DODGE Viper GTS Coupe - 12 - Geoff Morgan - PORSCHE 911 RSCS - 23 - Beric Lynton - BMW M3-R Coupe - 27 - Wayne Park - FERRARI F355 Challenge - 29 - Garry Waldon - DODGE Viper GTS Coupe - 38 - Roderick Salmon - MITSUBISHI Lancer RS Turbo EVO V - 45 - John Teulan - NISSAN Skyline GT-R Turbo 4WD - 56 - Ken Matthews - BMW M3-R Coupe - 57 - Graham Alexander - MITSUBISHI Lancer RS Turbo EVO V -

CLASS B ­ Autobarn 6 - Geoffery Full - SUBARU Impreza WRX Turbo - 15 - Bob Hughes - MAZDA RX-7 Twin-Turbo - 34 - Mark King - MITSUBISHI Lancer RS Turbo EVO III - 66 - Paula Elstrek - MAZDA RX-7 Twin-Turbo - 76 - Wayne Vinckx - NISSAN 200SX Sport Coupe Turbo - 91 - Jim Mc Knoulty - SUBARU Impreza WRX Turbo - 96 - Don Pulver - SUBARU Impreza WRX Turbo - 99 - Garry Holt - SUBARU Impreza WRX Turbo -

CLASS C ­ Meguiar¹s Killer Shine 16 - Peter Phelan - HOLDEN Commodore VT SS V8 - 20 - Robert Chadwick - MITSUBISHI Magna TH Sports V6 3.5 - 33 - Roland Hill - HOLDEN Commodore VS Exec V8 - 46 - Ryan Mc Leod - FORD Falcon EL XR8 - 55 - Mark Cohen - HOLDEN Commodore VS SS V8 - 60 - Guy Andrews - FORD Falcon AU XR6 HP live-axle 4.0 64 - Brian Carr - FORD Falcon AU XR8 70 - Daryl Coon - FORD Falcon AU XR6 HP live-axle 4.0 88 - David Ratcliff - TOYOTA Camry CSi V6

CLASS D ­ Poolrite Pool Equipment 17 - Sam Newman - HOLDEN Vectra GL 2.2 Sedan - 28 - Melinda Price - HOLDEN Vectra GL 2.2 Sedan - 71 - Phil Kirkham - MAZDA 626 V6 Sedan -

CLASS E ­ Poolrite Pool Equipment 21 - Kosi Kalaitzidis - PROTON M21 Coupe - 36 - Warren Luff - PEUGEOT 306 Style - 37 - Nathan Thomas - SUZUKI Swift GTi - 49 - David Crowe - SUZUKI Swift GTi - 75 - Sue Hughes - SUZUKI Swift GTi - 78 - Darren Best - HYUNDAI Excel Sprint Twin Cam -

CLASS S ­ Hippies Bodywear 13 - Colin Osborne - TOYOTA MR2 Bathurst - 26 - Wayne Russell - BMW 323i - 32 - Michael Simpson - BMW 323i - 35 - Ric Shaw - TOYOTA MR2 Bathurst - 54 - Megan Kirkham - MAZDA MX-5 Sports

POINTS

OUTRIGHT Richards, Jim - 162.5 Fitzgerald, Peter - 138 Beninca, Domenic - 117 Aitken, Ed - 84 Park, Wayne - 80 Morgan, Geoff - 75 Cartwright, Jamie - 32 Bosnjak, Terry - 27 Spiridis, Perry - 22 Salmon, Rod - 21 Dean, Craig - 17 Waldon, Garry - 17 Full, Geoff - 17 Carter, Murray - 13.5 Lintott, Ray - 13 Alexander, Graham - 12.5 Lynton, Beric - 12 Teulan, John - 11 Freestone, Paul - 8 King, Mark - 7 Elstrek, Paula - 5 Palmer, Darren - 4 Boylan, Peter - 3 White, Damien - 3 Cowley, John - 1 Shaw, Ric - 1 Hughes, Bob - 1 Simpson, Michael - 1 Vinckx, Wayne - 0.5

CLASS A Richards, Jim - 158.5 Fitzgerald, Peter - 132 Beninca, Domenic - 116 Aitken, Ed - 85 Park, Wayne - 79 Morgan, Geoff - 76 Cartwright, Jamie - 32 Bosnjak, Terry - 27 Salmon, Rod - 23 Spiridis, Perry - 22 Dean, Craig - 22 Carter, Murray - 16.5 Waldon, Garry - 15 Alexander, Graham - 13.5 Lintott, Ray - 13 Lynton, Beric - 12 Teulan, John - 11 Freestone, Paul - 8 Palmer, Darren - 4 White, Damien - 3

CLASS B Full, Geoff - 166.5 King, Mark - 136 Elstrek, Paula - 78 Hughes, Bob - 75 Boylan, Peter - 43 Vinckx, Wayne - 40 Davis, Richard - 35 Jacob, Scott - 32 Cowley, John - 27 Bewley, Dwayne - 22 Wilson, Rod - 16 Lawrence, Clyde - 12 Hing, Richard - 10 McKnoulty, Jim - 5 Deane, Gary - 4

CLASS C Phelan, Peter - 157 Cohen, Mark - 126.5 Ratcliff, David - 115 McLeod, Ryan - 94 Chadwick, Robert - 90 Cribbin, Denis - 29 Coon, Daryl - 20 McIlroy, John - 18 Hill, Roland - 11 Carr, Brian - 9 Millett, Warren - 3

CLASS D Kirkham, Phil - 150 Price, Melinda - 94 Newman, Sam - 88 Kirkham, Megan - 30 Jackson, Carol - 22

CLASS E Kalaitzidis, Kosi - 138 Hughes, Sue - 112 Thomas, Nathan - 104 Dontas, Craig - 74 Best, Darren - 54 Luff, Warren - 49.5 Mckay, Peter - 30 Buda, Paul - 13

CLASS S Shaw, Ric - 179 Russell, Wayne - 126.5 Osborne, Colin - 122 Kirkham, Megan - 60 Simpson, Michael - 30 Haynes, Clayton - 20 Wanless, Dean - 16 Kirkham, Phil - 12 Lehmann, Matt - 10 Lucas, Nicolas - 10

MANUFACTURERS Holden - 570.5 Porsche - 553.5 Toyota - 478.0 Mazda - 474.0 Suzuki - 303.0 Subaru - 284.5 Mitsubishi - 265.5 BMW - 168.5 Ford - 163.0 Proton - 138.0 Ferrari - 97.0 Peugeot - 79.5 Nissan - 61.0 Hyundai - 54.0 Dodge - 28.0 Maserati - 22.0 Honda - 22.0 Chevrolet - 16.5 Lotus - 8.0

Paul Ryan paul@pr2.com.au

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Ryan Paul , Jim Richards , Neal Bates , Tony Longhurst , Peter Boylan , Geoff Morgan , Peter Fitzgerald , John Teulan , Ric Shaw , Melinda Price , Beric Lynton , Geoff Full , Wayne Russell , Mark King , Phil Kirkham , Graham Alexander , Bob Hughes , Ray Lintott , Colin Osborne , Garry Holt , Mark Cohen , David Ratcliff , Roland Hill , Warren Luff , Wayne Vinckx , Wayne Park , Mike Simpson , Phillip Island
Teams Nissan Motorsport