ADELAIDE -- Subaru driver Justin Hemmes is racing time to save an almost-certain win in the Australian GT Performance Championship (GTP) after a heavy crash in qualifying at Mallala Motorsport Park today. Hemmes, leader in the points standings,...
ADELAIDE -- Subaru driver Justin Hemmes is racing time to save an almost-certain win in the Australian GT Performance Championship (GTP) after a heavy crash in qualifying at Mallala Motorsport Park today.
Hemmes, leader in the points standings, needs to do little more than finish the last three races of the season tomorrow to win the title, but tonight his Protecnica team was working frantically to get the wrecked Subaru Impreza back in the field.
If they do, he will start from a competitive eighth place on the grid; if they don't, there is an outside chance the title could default to his only potential rival, Volkswagen Golf factory driver Paul Stokell.
Hemmes has a 75-point lead over Stokell and needs only 18 more to lock away the championship for high-performance production touring cars.
But his worst fears came true during qualifying when a left-front wheel came off and pitched the Subaru hard into the concrete wall on pit straight.
"I couldn't believe it. I'd just done my best lap and the wheel came off," Hemmes said.
"Somehow I've just got to get out there tomorrow."
Garry Holt, in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8, won the pole position for the seventh and final round of the GTP series, which is part of this weekend's PROCAR Champ Series event, presented by Coopers Paler Ale.
His lap time of one minute 14.72 seconds on the 2.6 kilometre circuit was easily the fastest of the field, but second-placed Beric Lynton, on 1:15.28, headed a string of 13 cars within one second of each other.
Stokell struggled to achieve 16th position in the four-wheel drive Golf, but was an easy pole winner in the Australian Nations Cup Championship behind the wheel of his Lamborghini Diablo coupe.
Stokell, already confirmed series winner for the second straight year, scorched around Mallala in one min. 8.31 sec.
"The Lambo is going beautifully this weekend. It feels really good and I hope we can finish the season in style tomorrow," Stokell said.
He was more than a second faster than second-placed James Brock, in a Team Brock Holden Monaro, while Peter Hackett came third in a second Team Lamborghini Australia Diablo.
Allan Simonsen, from Denmark, was superb in his Ferrari 360 Challenge, taking fourth outright and pole in the Trophy class. John Teulan was second in another Ferrari and remains on course to wrap up the class championship tomorrow.
Marcus Zukanovic, driving a Ford Falcon XR8, scored his first pole position in the V8 BRutes Series, but David Griffin (Holden SS) won the drivers' post-qualifying ballot to start from pole position tomorrow.
Series leader Damien White qualified sixth fastest in his Team Brock Holden. A steady drive to collect just seven points over three races tomorrow will send White home with his first V8 BRutes championship.
Chris Alajajian, already crowned Australian Production Car Champion (and the youngest, at 17 years old), will start the season's final round in pole position in his Subaru Liberty GT.