CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 10th May 1999 TARGA TOPPER AIMS TO BE ISLAND SHOW STOPPER Recent Targa Tasmania winner, Peter Fitzgerald, heads an enourmous record field of 47 combatants for round two of the ...
CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
10th May 1999
TARGA TOPPER AIMS TO BE ISLAND SHOW STOPPER
Recent Targa Tasmania winner, Peter Fitzgerald, heads an enourmous record field of 47 combatants for round two of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship at Phillip Island next weekend.
Fitzgerald is full of confidence after his stunning victory across the twisting roads of Tasmania and now has his sights set on repeating the dose on the sweeping turns of Phillip Island.
But first he will have to chase down reigning champion Domenic Beninca who began his championship defence with two crushing victories at Eastern Creek. Jim Richards also is expected to be tough to beat after dominating the non-championship GTP events at the Sensational Adelaide 500.
"Phillip Island is my favorite track and Domenic is yet to beat me down there, so our team is pretty confident of a strong result," Fitzgerald said.
"Winning Targa was a big thrill as it is a really tough event, but the competition across Bass Straight back on Phillip Island should be even harder.
"I have been able to do a couple of days tyre testing and we now have a tyre package that will allow us to have a red hot go and not have to worry about preserving the tyres.
"With such a huge entry, traffic could prove to be the key to success at the Island."
Veteran Murray Carter is set to make his Class A GTP debut aboard a Chevrolet Corvette C5 V8 Coupe, joining Craig Dean's Ford Mustang is flying the American "muscle car" flag in the GTP championship.
Rally man Graham Alexander also joins the GTP competition for the first time aboard a Mitsubishi Lancer RS Evo V Turbo. Alexander should enjoy a tough battle with the similar car of Damien White which is entered by another rally expert, Rod Salmon.
The TVR Chimaera of Ian Palmer is also expected to face the green light for the first time after an oil leak forced him out of the opening round at Eastern Creek in practice.
Geoff Full showed he was the man to beat in Class B in the opening round but the standard Mazda RX7s of Bob Hughes and Paula Elstrek will be two cars to watch at Phillip Island.
The long straights could favour the power advantage of the turbo rotary machines.
Queensander Gary Deane will contest the championship for the first time aboard a Subaru Impreza WRX after making his GTP debut in the non-championship events at the Gold Coast Indy last year.
The dominant Toyota Camry CSi of reigning champion David Ratcliff will face a tough job with the new Mitsubishi Magna TH Sports V6 3.5 of Robert Chadwick showing great pace on home soil at Sensational Adelaide.
Ryan McLeod (Ford Falcon EL XR8) and Mark Cohen (Holden Commodore VS SS) have also tasted victory this year and will be looking to the power advantage of their V8 machines for a strong result.
Phil Kirkham (Mazda 626) will again be untroubled as the sole GTP Lights Class D entrant but he is eagerly awaiting the impending debut of Sam Newman and Melinda Price in a pair of Holden Vectra 2.2 machines at the next round at Hidden Valley in Darwin.
Nathan Thomas dominated Class E at Eastern Creek aboard his Suzuki Swift GTi but Kosi Kalaitzidis (Proton M21 Coupe) and young rookie Craig Dontas (Suzuki Swift GTi) both showed at Sensational Adelaide that they are very quick.
Ric Shaw and Clayton Haynes are expected to lead the fray in the GTP Sports Class S division aboard their Toyota MR2s but the BMW 323i of V8 Supercar driver Wayne Russell should be well suited to the Phillip Island layout.
ENTRIES CLASS A 1 - Domenic Beninca - Porsche 911 RSCS 3 - Peter Fitzgerald - Porsche 911 RSCS 5 - Jim Richards - Porsche 911 RSCS 8 - Ed Aitken - Porsche 911 RSCS 11 - Jamie Cartwright - Toyota Supra RZ Twin-Turbo 12 - Geoff Morgan - Porsche 911 RSCS 18 - Murray Carter - Chevrolet Corvette C5 V8 Coupe 23 - Beric Lynton - BMW M3-R Coupe 27 - Darren Palmer - Ferrari F355 Challenge 30 - Perry Spiridis - Maserati Ghibli Twin Turbo 38 - Damien White - Mitsubishi Lancer RS Turbo Evo V 39 - Paul Stokell - Lotus Esprit Sport 300 41 - Terry Bosnjak - Mazda RX-7 SP Twin-Turbo 45 - John Teulan - Nissan Skyline GT-R Turbo 4WD 53 - Ian Palmer - TVR Chimaera 5.0 57 - Graham Alexander - Mitsubishi Lancer RS Turbo Evo V 65 - Craig Dean - Ford Mustang Saleen
CLASS B 6 - Geoff Full - Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo 7 - Peter Boylan - Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo 15 - Bob Hughes - Mazda RX-7 Twin Turbo 34 - Mark King - Mitsubishi Lancer RS Turbo Evo III 40 - Dwayne Bewley - Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo 42 - Brad Glasson - Nissan Pulsar GTi-R Turbo 4WD 47 - John Trimbole - Mitsubishi Lancer RS Turbo Evo III 66 - Paula Elstrek - Mazda RX-7 Twin Turbo 76 - Wayne Vinckx - Nissan 200SX Sport Coupe Turbo 91 - Gary Deane - Subaru Impreza WRX Turbo
CLASS C 16 - Peter Phelan - Holden Commodore VT SS V8 20 - Robert Chadwick - Mitsubishi Magna TH Sports V6 3.5 46 - Ryan McLeod - Ford Falcon EL XR8 55 - Mark Cohen - Holden Commodore VS SS V8 88 - David Ratcliff - Toyota Camry Touring V6
CLASS D 71 - Phil Kirkham - Mazda 626
CLASS E 21 - Kosi Kalaitidis - Proton M21 Coupe 36 - Warren Luff - Peugeot 306 Style 37 - Nathan Thomas - Suzuki Swift Gti 74 - Sue Hughes - Suzuki Swift Gti 75 - Craig Dontas - Suzuki Swift Gti 78 - Darren Best - Hyundai Excel Sprint Twin Cam 98 - Nigel Williams - Suzuki Swift Gti
CLASS S 4 - Clayton Haynes - Toyota MR2 GT 13 - Colin Osborne - Toyota MR2 Bathurst 17 - Megan Kirkham - Mazda MX-5 Sports 26 - Wayne Russell - BMW 323i 35 - Ric Shaw - Toyota MR2 Bathurst 77 - Nicolas Lucas - Toyota MR2 GT
LAST TIME AROUND AT PHILLIP ISLAND:
Rnd 3, May 17, 1998 RACE ONE 12 LAPS 1. Garry Waldon, Dodge Viper GTS (A) 20:57.490 2. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 21:02.661 3. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 21:04.377 4. Neil Crompton, Ferrari F355 Challenge 21:12.624 5. Rodney Forbes, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 21:14.207 6. Paul Stokell, Lotus Elise Sport 190 (A) 22:03.209 7. Ross Almond, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V (A) 22:05.371 8. Craig Dean, Toyota Soarer Turbo Coupe (A) 11 laps 9. Dean Canto, Subaru Impreza WRX (B) 11 laps 10. John Trimbole, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III (B) 11 laps
RACE TWO 12 LAPS 1. Garry Waldon, Dodge Viper GTS (A) 21:04.064 2. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 21:04.455 3. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 21:12.799 4. Neil Crompton, Ferrari 355 Challenge (A) 21:16.680 5. Alf Costanzo, Maserati Ghibli (A) 21:36.123 6. Paul Stokell, Lotus Elise Sport 190 (A) 22:04.712 7. Ross Almond, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V (A) 22:20.552 8. Dean Canto, Subaru Impreza WRX (B) 22:54.847 9. John Trimbole, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III (B) 11 laps 10. John Cowley, HSV GTS-R 215i 11 laps