UTE: Adelaide Sunday report

Stokell wins Nations Cup thriller in Adelaide, but Bowe on top as series heads to Tasmania. Lamborghini driver Paul Stokell won an enthralling four-way pitched battle to cap the opening round of the 2003 Australian Nations Cup Championship in ...

Stokell wins Nations Cup thriller in Adelaide, but Bowe on top as series heads to Tasmania.

Lamborghini driver Paul Stokell won an enthralling four-way pitched battle to cap the opening round of the 2003 Australian Nations Cup Championship in Adelaide today.

The Tasmanian led for the final third of the 12-lap event, presented by Cleanevent, but throughout it he was never safe from the pressure of fellow Tasmanians John Bowe (Ferrari) and Greg Crick (Chrysler Viper) and Jim Richards in a Porsche.

Bowe finished the weekend in the points lead of the eight-round series, ahead of Stokell and Crick, with the next round scheduled for their "home" track at Symmons Plains, near Launceston.

Bowe had pole position for the rolling start, but with a 66 kilogram weight handicap on board for winning yesterday's second-leg race, the Ferrari was overwhelmed by Stokell and Nathan Pretty (Holden Monaro) in a three-wide sprint to the first corner.

Pretty quickly opened a lead of more than two seconds, but the four drivers behind often were nose-to-tail or side-by-side in one of the best Nations Cup contests of recent times.

While Bowe was concentrating on Stokell ahead, Crick siezed a chance on lap seven and powered the eight-litre Viper into third place.

Then the Monaro stopped on lap eight with a broken clutch and as the following quartet saw opportunity Bowe surged back past Crick.

The Viper was back in third two laps later and on the next lap Bowe was bumped back a further spot by Jim Richards, who made a brave outside move on the back straight.

Thanks to a dominant performance in the first two legs, Bowe ended the weekend with 76 championship points to Stokell's 70 and Crick's 40.

"I was amazed we had the reliability around here. We've always had problems here - but not today.," Stokell said.

"That was good racing today and now I'm really looking forward to Tasmania."

Danish driver Allan Simonsen, 24, took fifth place in a Ferrari 360 Challenge and achieved a perfect score of 93 points in the Group Two class.

Simonsen will return to his London base tomorrow, but said he hoped to find the money to return and complete the series, preferably as a Group One competitor.

Second place overall in class went to the veteran Murray Carter, who scored two third-place finishes in his 7.0-litre Chev Corvette. Maserati driver Gary Young is third.

King climbs to the top in GT Performance

Mark King took a healthy lead in the Australian GT Performance Championship, presented by Donut King, after a second win in round one in Adelaide today.

The Queenslander, GTP champion in 2000, won as he liked from pole position after dealing with a first-lap challenge from Subaru's Wayne Boatwright, who had made a lightning start from the second grid row.

Boatwright and Bob Pearson (Mazda RX-7) argued over second place in the early stages of the 12-lap race, but eventually the order was settled in the Subaru driver's favor.

One of the strongest drives came from South Australian Steve Knight.

He started from the back of the field, in 26th, as a result of being eliminated from yesterday's second leg in a crash, but repaid his crew's 2 am repair finish with 14th place today.

King has 80 championship points to 53 for Ric Shaw, who did not start his Mazda RX-7 today after it suffered engine failure in leg two.

Locals dominate Poolrite V8 BRutes round

South Australian Holden drivers dominated the first round of the Poolrite V8 BRutes Series on their home track.

Gary Baxter, who lives "just over the road" from the Adelaide Parklands street circuit, picked up his second win of the weekend in race three today to head the pointscore going into round two in Tasmania next month.

The race was the second to be cut short by a crash and again it involved the Queensland-based Brute Strength Holden team. After Gavin Harvey wrote off his vehicle yesterday, teammate Gary Young caused an end to today's race on lap five of seven with a similar crash into the concrete wall.

Again, the shortened distance earned only half-points for the championship. Baxter finished the round with a total of 48 points, with fellow local Chris Smerdon second on 29.

Damien White, who finished second to Baxter today, is third in the series.

White was on pole position for the race, but it was Baxter who made the fastest start from position four and hit the lead before the end of the first lap.

Charlie Kovacs picked up third place in his Holden and the order remained until Young's crash ended the race.

Garry Holt, from Sydney, collected the $1000 Carryboy Hard Charger award for the driver who made up the most positions in race three. The Holden driver started 26th and finished 16th.

Adelaide rounds scheduled for Seven Network

First-round races in the PROCAR Champ Series, run this weekend at Adelaide's Clipsal 500 meeting, will be shown on Seven Network television in coming weeks.

The schedule is (all programs start at 12 midday. Check local guides) -
* Saturday 29 March - Australian Nations Cup Championship
* Saturday 5 April - Australian GT Performance Championship
* Saturday 26 April - Poolrite V8 BRutes Series
* Saturday 3 May - Australian Production Car Championship, Australian Formula 3 Championship

PROCAR Champ Series heading for Tasmania

THE PROCAR Champ Series returns to Tasmania for its second round next month - and Tasmanian drivers will be among the stars.

The event on 25-27 April at Symmons Plains, near Launceston, will be the first of six independent meetings staged by PROCAR Australia during 2003.

It will feature the Nations Cup, GT Performance, Production Car, Poolrite V8 BRutes, Formula 3 and Falken Mitsubishi Mirage championships.

The line-up of drivers will include three of Tasmania's most successful competitors in the hard-fought Nations Cup for GT sports cars.

Devonport-born John Bowe will return at the wheel of his Ferrari 360GT and in the series lead and Hobart's Paul Stokell will be in a $700,000 Lamborghini Diablo, while Launceston's Greg Crick promises to be highly competitive in his recently-bought Chrysler Viper.

Off-track, fans will be able to enjoy several highlights, including a display of racing cars in Hobart Mall on Wednesday 23 April, a street parade in Launceston the next day and an after-party with teams in Launceston on Sunday night.

PROCAR Deputy Executive Chairman John Cowley said the round was expected to bring more than 120 mainland-based competitors to Tasmania.

"Our teams are all very keen to return to Tasmania, because our first event last year received a tremendous welcome," he said.

"Symmons Plains turned out a record crowd for the 2002 PROCAR Champ Series. It's clear they liked the big variety of cars we bring and the most exciting racing in the country, so we'll be back bigger and better in just under five weeks."


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Series Supercars
Drivers Steve Knight , Nathan Pretty , Jim Richards , John Bowe , Allan Simonsen , Ric Shaw , Greg Crick , Paul Stokell , Mark King , Charlie Kovacs , Garry Holt , Gary Young , Damien White , Bob Pearson