Flag-to-Flag Win Boosts Stokell's Chase for Second Nations Cup Title SYDNEY -- Australian Nations Cup champion Paul Stokell consolidated his lead in the 2004 series with a flag-to-flag win in the opening leg of round two at Oran Park circuit,...
Flag-to-Flag Win Boosts Stokell's Chase for Second Nations Cup Title
SYDNEY -- Australian Nations Cup champion Paul Stokell consolidated his lead in the 2004 series with a flag-to-flag win in the opening leg of round two at Oran Park circuit, near Sydney, today.
Stokell led from pole position in his GT class Lamborghini Diablo, while Holden Monaro rivals Nathan Pretty and Peter Brock fought a race-long battle for second and third places.
In his first race meeting of the season, Brock had pushed hard to qualify second fastest this morning, just 0.35 seconds behind Stokell.
But at the rolling start he appeared to falter briefly and fell back to fourth place before regaining third at the end of lap one.
>From then on, the 10-time Bathurst winner hounded Pretty for 15 laps and very nearly succeeded in getting past on the last lap.
The gap between the Monaros on the finish line was just 0.13 seconds.
Pretty's result lifted him to second place in the championship standings.
Nations Cup newcomer Steve Borness, driving a Porsche GT3 Cup, won the Trophy class in Nations Cup, ahead of Ferrari driver John Teulan.
The Australian Nations Cup Championship is the headline event at this weekend's PROCAR Champ Series meeting, which features 16 races in seven categories.
Stokell also contested race one of round two of the Australian GT Performance Championship for the official Volkswagen team, but suffered bad luck for the second day running.
Driving a back-up Golf R32 after crashing his own car in practice yesterday, Stokell made a brilliant start from third grid position.
He passed Garry Holt's Mitsubishi Evolution 8 and tagged on to the back of the Mazda RX-7 of pole winner Ric Shaw, but coming off the bridge into a fast right-hand sweeper the Volkswagen spun and was stranded dangerously in mid-track as the big field of touring cars poured past.
Stokell rejoined -- unscathed - in last place and drove hard to recover to 16 th at the finish, while Shaw bolted to a comfortable win from Holt and defending champion Mark King in another Mitsubishi.
Subaru driver Justin Hemmes, also behind the wheel of a spare car after crashing yesterday, finished fourth in today's first of three 14-laps races.
He continues to lead the series pointscore, but King has moved to second spot and Stokell back to third.
Holden driver Charlie Kovacs won from pole in the first race of round two of the V8 BRutes Series.
The race was red-flagged after nine of the scheduled 12 laps when Matt O'Grady's Holden ran off into the sand trap exiting turn one and caught fire.
Kovacs was 10 th fastest in qualifying but drew pole position from the grid ballot and quickly established a lead over the 27-strong field, leaving him unchallenged for the entire race.
"To win from flag to flag is always exciting with this field. I was concerned in qualifying because we had a few handling problems," Kovacs said.
"I put in my fastest time of the weekend during the race, so clearly the organic component was working as well as the mechanical components."
The safety car was called out on lap four after Gary Baxter's Ford got a flat tyre.
Team Brock rookie Benn Wilson was in second position before the safety car but Ford's Jack Elsegood muscled past on the restart and stayed ahead until the finish.
Sydney school student Chris Alajaian, driving a Subaru Liberty GT, scored pole position for tomorrow's two races in the Australian Production Car Championship. Six different car makes -- Subaru, Holden, Honda, Toyota, Ford and Alfa Romeo -- filled the first six grid positions.
This weekend's PROCAR Champ Series meeting also will feature the Australian Formula 3 Championship, Australian Porsche Drivers Challenge and Formula Green Futureracers Series.
Australian Nations Cup Championship (Rd 2)
Race 1 (16 laps)
1. Paul Stokell (Lamborghini Diablo)
2. Nathan Pretty (Holden Monaro)
3. Peter Brock (Holden Monaro)
1. Steve Borness (Porsche GT3 Cup)
1. William Pye (Porsche GT3 Cup)
Pole position -- Stokell 1 min. 9.77 sec.
Championship standings -- GT class 120 Paul Stokell, 84 Nathan Pretty, 78 Allan Simonsen, 54 James Brock, 34 Mark Eddy, 20 Peter Brock. Trophy class 104 John Teulan, 68 Theo Koundouris.
Australian GT Performance Championship (Rd 2)
Race 1 (14 laps) - provisional
1. Ric Shaw (Mazda RX-7)
2. Garry Holt (Mitsubishi Evo 8)
3. Mark King (Mitsubishi Evo 8)
4. Justin Hemmes (Subaru Impreza STi)
5. Gary Young (Mitsubishi Evo 8)
6. Steve Knight (Mitsubishi Evo 8)
Pole position -- Ric Shaw 1 min. 15.41 sec.
Championship standings -- 92 Justin Hemmes, 74 Mark King, 65 Paul Stokell, 56 equal Peter Floyd / Ross Almond, 55 Nathan Pilkington, 51 equal Barry Morcom / Gary Young.
V8 BRutes Series (Rd 2)
Race 1 (12 laps)
1. Charlie Kovacs (Holden SS)
2. Jack Elsegood (Ford Falcon XR8)
3. Benn Wilson (Holden)
4. Kim Jane (Holden)
5. Grant Denyer (Ford)
6. Chris Smerdon (Holden)
Pole position -- Damien White (Holden) 1 min. 22.75 sec.
Championship standings -- 89 Charlie Kovacs, 85 Jack Elsegood, 75 Dave Griffin, 63 Damien White, 61 Chris Smerdon, 58 Gary Baxter.
Australian Production Car Championship (Rd 2)
1. Chris Alajajian (Subaru Liberty GT) 1 min. 21.89sec.
2. Scott Loadsman (Holden Commodore SS) 1:21.92
3. Ian Luff (Honda Integra) 1:23.38
4. David Ratcliff (Toyota Celica) 1:23.72
5. David Ryan (Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo) 1:23.88
6. David Capraro (Alfa Romeo 156) 1:23.90
Class A -- Chris Alajajian
Class B -- Ian Luff
Class C -- Leanne Ferrier (Toyota Corolla) 1: 25.52
Class D -- David Russell (Proton Sartria) 1:25.59
TIMETABLE: Sunday -- from 9 am, total of 12 races for all categories.
TICKET PRICES: Weekend pass (Sat./Sun.) adult $35, concessions & children under 16 $10, children under 11 free, competitors' paddock $10. Free souvenir program for first 1500 patrons.