UTE: Phillip Island Friday notes

Ferrari driver John Bowe has signalled his intention to fight all the way for the Donut King Australian Nations Cup Championship, topping the official practice session for round six at Victoria's Phillip Island grand prix circuit today while his...

Ferrari driver John Bowe has signalled his intention to fight all the way for the Donut King Australian Nations Cup Championship, topping the official practice session for round six at Victoria's Phillip Island grand prix circuit today while his Lamborghini rival Paul Stokell had to watch from the sidelines.

Stokell, leader of the Meguiar's Drivers Championship after a clean-sweep in round five, completed only two laps this morning before a transmission failure put his Italian V12 out for the day.

Driving without the aid of anti-lock brakes following a recent technical rule change, Bowe's fastest lap time of 1 minute 35.07 seconds was almost 0.2 sec. inside his own race lap record for the category, set at last year's round.

Only four points separate Stokell and Bowe, but they in turn are well clear of the rest of the field. This weekend's round has been billed as a classic racing showdown -- the country's two leading GT sports car drivers, two exotic Italian coupes together worth almost $1.5 million and the ultra-fast oceanside grand prix circuit.

Earlier this week Bowe said he feared Stokell would run away with the eight-round championship from this point, but today he proved emphatically that he and the V8 Ferrari 360GT will be a potent combination when the real competition starts in qualifying tomorrow.

The surprise of practice on day one of the PROCAR Champ Series event was touring car legend Peter Brock.

He put his 7.0 litre Holden Monaro into second place with a time only one-hundredth of a second short of the lap record and 0.4 sec. better than his young teammate Nathan Pretty.

"I've always liked Phillip Island. I haven't been here since 1997, but it didn't take long to work out which way it went," said Brock, who ended his five-year retirement by signing for the Nations Cup this season.

Like Brock, Porsche RS driver Martin Wagg secured his best start to a round this season.

He finished the day in fourth position, just ahead of talented young Danish driver Alan Simonsen, who also topped the Group Two class in a Ferrari 360 Challenge.

In practice for round six of the Australian GT Performance Championship, five different makes -- Mazda, Volkswagen, Holden HSV, Mitsubishi and Subaru, respectively -- topped the timesheets.

Sydney's Bob Pearson was fastest with a lap of 1:45.91 in a Mazda RX-7, while Stewart McColl was second in the best performance yet for the factory-run Volkswagen Golf R32.

A record entry of around 170 cars is contesting rounds of seven national championships this weekend.

Qualifying for six categories plus two Porsche races are on tomorrow's timetable.

Attractions on Sunday will include 15 races, autograph sessions with drivers and a ute muster, which is expected to attract several hundred roadgoing utes in support of the Poolrite V8 BRutes Series races.

Further information about the PROCAR Champ Series meeting, including ticket prices, entry lists and race times, is available on www.procar.com.au

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Nathan Pretty , John Bowe , Peter Brock , Paul Stokell , Bob Pearson , Phillip Island
Tags AUSUTE