Sandown Practice

CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP SANDOWN PRACTICE 25th JUNE 1999 SEVEN MAKES IN TOP TEN IN SANDOWN GTP This weekend’s grid for round four of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship is ...

CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP

SANDOWN PRACTICE 25th JUNE 1999

SEVEN MAKES IN TOP TEN IN SANDOWN GTP

This weekend’s grid for round four of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship is looming as an awe-inspiring motoring shopping list.

With seven different makes and models in the top ten in the opening practice session, the dominance of the Porsche 911 RSCS is under threat.

After winning last year’s debut event at Sandown, the Maserati Ghibli has returned to Sandown and looks to be a major threat.

With Alfredo Costanzo and Dean Canto behind the wheel, the Maserati won last year’s OAMPS Insurance Endurance Classic.

With this weekend’s event part of the Championship for the first time, new Maserati owner Perry Spiridis was fourth fastest in both sessions.

"The car was very quick here last year and this weekend also looks fairly promising," Spiridis said.

"The big problem with the car is getting it off the start line. There is a lot of weight over the front wheels so I have to be very carefully not to give it too much throttle because it will just spin the wheels."

Championship leader Jim Richards was fastest in both sessions aboard his Porsche 911 RSCS. Gary Waldon (Dodge Viper GTS) was second fastest in the opening session while Peter Fitzgerald climbed to second fastest in the afternoon.

Ferrari driver Wayne Park again showed strong speed, finishing up third fastest in the Meguiar’s Top Marques Class division in the afternoon before a broken radiator sidelined the car for the day.

Waldon’s Viper is also joined this weekend by Ray Lintott in a similar machine while the other U.S. muscle cars of Craig Dean (Ford Mustang Saleen) and Murray Carter (Chevrolet Corvette C5 V8 Coupe) are also hopeful of a strong result.

Peter Boylan (Subaru Impreza WRX) headed the Autobarn Class B timesheets in the morning session before Geoff Full resumed his customary position at the head of the pack in the afternoon.

Peter Phelan (Holden Commodore VT SS) topped the Class C division in the morning before another V8 powered machine - the Ford Falcon XR8 of Ryan McLeod turned the tables in the afternoon.

Roland Hill also performed strongly in his return to production car racing aboard a Holden Commodore VS Exec. Class S was headed by Ric Shaw’s Toyota MR2 Bathurst with his usual adversary - BMW 323i driver Wayne Russell - not far behind.

GTP LIGHTS Melinda Price today made her GTP Lights Class D debut as team- mate to Sam Newman aboard a pair of Holden Vectra GL 2.2s.

While Price out-paced Newman, both of the Holden drivers were also toppled by the class dominating Mazda 626 of Phil Kirkham.

Nathan Thomas headed Class E aboard his Suzuki Swift GTi while youngster Craig Dontas drove well aboard a new Suzuki to grab second in the opening session. Dontas is making a return after a dramatic crash with Peter Fitzgerald’s Porsche at Phillip Island.

RESULTS SESSION ONE 1. Jim Richards, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:19.891 2. Garry Waldon, Dodge Viper GTS (A) 1:20.235 3. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:20.421 4. Perry Spiridis, Maserati Ghibli (A) 1:20.907 Class B Peter Boylan, Subaru Impreza WRX 1:27.186 Class C Peter Phelan, Holden Commodore VT SS 1:28.790 Class D Phil Kirkham, Mazda 626 1:32.091 Class E Nathan Thomas, Suzuki Swift GTi 1:34.200 Class S Ric Shaw, Toyota MR2 Bathurst 1:28.682

SESSION TWO 1. Jim Richards, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:19.517 2. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 1:19.651 3. Wayne Park, Ferrari F355 Challenge (A) 1:19.982 4. Perry Spiridis, Maserati Ghibli (A) 1:20.102 Class B Geoff Full, Subaru Impreza WRX 1:25.891 Class C Ryan McLeod, Ford Falcon XR8 1:27.970 Class D Phil Kirkham, Mazda 626 1:32.100 Class E Nathan Thomas, Suzuki Swift GTi 1:33.826 Class S Ric Shaw, Toyota MR2 Bathurst 1:29.420

Paul Ryan paulryan@camtech.net.au

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Series Supercars
Drivers Ryan Paul , Jim Richards , Dean Canto , Peter Boylan , Peter Fitzgerald , Ric Shaw , Melinda Price , Craig Dean , Geoff Full , Phil Kirkham , Ray Lintott , Roland Hill , Ryan McLeod , Wayne Park , Phillip Island