CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP SANDOWN RACE ONE 27th JUNE 1999 JIM STARS AS WALDON VIPER HITS BRAKE TROUBLE Points leader and six-time Bathurst winner Jim Richards continued his winning run in the opening race of...
CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP SANDOWN RACE ONE 27th JUNE 1999
JIM STARS AS WALDON VIPER HITS BRAKE TROUBLE
Points leader and six-time Bathurst winner Jim Richards continued his winning run in the opening race of the Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship at Sandown today.
Richards fought hard in the opening laps with the Dodge Viper GTS of Garry Waldon who led the opening eight laps before brake problems caused him to retire from the event.
The Ferrari F355 Challenge of Wayne Park was another stumbling block for Richards’ Porsche 911 RSCS.
Park and Richards swapped places repeatedly before the Porsche was able to grab the upper hand in traffic.
Domenic Beninca came back strongly from a bad start to take third place, while Peter Fitzgerald’s similar Porsche 911 RSCS also recovered from being eighth on the opening lap through to fourth place in the Meguiar’s Class A division.
"Garry was very quick in the opening laps and I had to work hard to find a gap in traffic to keep the Ferrari behind me as well," Richards said.
"Wayne got a run on me on a couple of occasions and the Ferrari was quick in all parts of the circuit.
"It is great to come away with another win, but the competition is certainly getting tougher."
John Teulan’s Nissan Skyline GTR was the early star of the race, rising from 10th on the grid to fourth on the opening lap.
His race fell apart on lap five when Jamie Cartwright’s Toyota Supra RZ Twin Turbo challenged the Nissan entering turn one. Cartwright made contact with the rear of Teulan’s car – forcing both Japanese machines off the circuit.
Geoff Full’s unbeaten run continued in the Autobarn Class B division – this time defeating Mark King’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V and the Subaru Impreza WRX of Peter Boylan.
Class C Championship leader Peter Phelan again tasted success aboard his Holden Commodore VT SS, defeating the similar older model VS Commodore of Mark Cohen.
Ric Shaw’s Toyota MR2 Bathurst again took the Class S spoils ahead of Wayne Russell’s BMW 323i. Colin Osborne’s Toyota MR2 Bathurst retired after seven laps.
Phil Kirkham drove strongly to take the GTP Lights Class D victory, defeating the Holden Vectra 2.2 GL pair of Melinda Price and Sam Newman.
AFL media personality Newman finished 11 seconds adrift of his team-mate, but escaped the event without incident.
Nathan Thomas took the Class E victory aboard his Suzuki Swift GTi after rival Kosi Kalaitzidis’ Proton M21 Coupe was forced off the circuit mid-way through the event.
Craig Dontas took third in Class E in his return drive aboard a new Suzuki Swift GTi.
RESULTS RACE ONE 19 LAPS 1. Jim Richards, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 25:44.902 2. Wayne Park, Ferrari F355 Challenge (A) 25:50.362 3. Domenic Beninca, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 25:50.670 4. Peter Fitzgerald, Porsche 911 RSCS (A) 25:51.398 Class B Geoff Full, Subaru Impreza WRX – 1 lap Class C Peter Phelan, Holden Commodore VT SS – 1 lap Class D Phil Kirkham, Mazda 626 – 2 laps Class E Nathan Thomas, Suzuki Swift GTi – 2 laps Class S Ric Shaw, Toyota MR2 Bathurst – 2 laps
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