CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP PHILLIP ISLAND RACE TWO 16th May 1999 FITZGERALD TITLE HOPES SHATTERED IN CRASH Former Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car champion, Peter Fitzgerald had his attack on...
CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
PHILLIP ISLAND RACE TWO 16th May 1999
FITZGERALD TITLE HOPES SHATTERED IN CRASH
Former Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car champion, Peter Fitzgerald had his attack on the 1999 title chase thrown into doubt with a sickening crash in race two of round two at Phillip Island today.
Fitzgerald (Porsche 911 RSCS) was charging back through the field after tangling with Terry Bosnjak (Mazda RX7 SP) early in the race and was closing on the Toyota Supra RZ Twin Turbo of Jamie Cartwright on lap six.
As Fitzgerald tried to pass Cartwright on the outside line entering Lukey Heights, he came across the spun Class E Suzuki Swift GTi of young rookie Craig Dontas.
Fitzgerald slammed into the stationary Suzuki, tearing the right rear wheel of his car and destroying the side of his Porsche 911 RSCS.
With rain beginning to fall, Dontas had spun only seconds before Fitzgerald crested the blind corner.
The promising youngster's Suzuki was also heavily damaged in the crash.
The dramatic incident is a major setback to both drivers championship hopes.
Race leader at the time, Jim Richards (Porsche 911RSCS) was awarded the race ahead of fellow Porsche driver, Domenic Beninca.
"I was trying to catch up after tangling with Terry (Bosnjak) and was closing fast on the Supra," Fitzgerald said.
"I tried to go around the outside and the Suzuki was sitting in the middle of the road.
"I couldn't go left because the Supra was in the way and there was no time to go right.
Fitzgerald is not confident of returning for the next round of the championship at Hidden Valley.
"The boys would love to fix it but I think financially it could be a bit of a burden."
Fitzgerald suffered an injured wrist in the crash while the promising young rookie, Craig Dontas, was badly shaken.
"I was trying to keep ahead of the Hyundai (Darren Best), but just got caught out in the wet," Dontas said.
"I know it is one of those things but I am sure Fitzy is pretty upset. The car is pretty bad but it was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Other class winners in the declared event were Geoff Full (Subaru Impreza WRX - Autobarn Class B), Mark Cohen (Holden Commodore VS SS - Meguair's Top Marques Class C), Wayne Russell (BMW 323i - Class S). Half championship points were awarded for the shortened event.
GTP LIGHTS Phil Kirkham's race one crash aboard his Class D Mazda 626 eliminated him from the second event while Warren Luff took his second victory of the day aboard the Class E Peugeot 306 Style.
RESULTS RACE TWO DECLARED AFTER 6 LAPS 1. Jim Richards, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 10:37.318 2. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 10:45.700 3. Terry Bosnjak, Mazda RX7 SP (A) 10:49.554 4. Jamie Cartwright, Toyota Supra RZ 10:58.473 5. Ed Aitken, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 11:16.475 Class B Geoff Full, Subaru Impreza WRX 11:40.557 Class C Mark Cohen, Holden Commodore VS SS 12:03.650 Class E Warren Luff, Peugeot 306 Style 12:40.918 Class S Wayne Russell, BMW 323i 12:02.834
POINTS OUTRIGHT: Beninca 52, Richards 39.5, Fitzgerald 33, Bosnjak 27, Cartwright 19, Aitken 14, Morgan 11, Spiridis 10 CLASS A: Beninca 51, CLASS B: Full 52.5, CLASS C: McLeod 35, CLASS D: M. Kirkham 30, CLASS E: Thomas 42, CLASS S: Shaw 44
Paul Ryan email@example.com