UTE: Sandown: Saturday report/results

Sam Newman boots Ferrari into suprise pole position for Sandown 500. Football personality Sam Newman put the boot into his motor racing rivals with an upset pole position for the 35th Sandown 500 classic in the Top Gun qualifying session at ...

Sam Newman boots Ferrari into suprise pole position for Sandown 500.

Football personality Sam Newman put the boot into his motor racing rivals with an upset pole position for the 35th Sandown 500 classic in the Top Gun qualifying session at Sandown International Motor Raceway in Melbourne today.

Newman steered his $400,000 Ferrari 360 Challenge coupe around the 3.1 km suburban circuit in 1 minute 18.51 seconds, securing the first outright pole of his motor racing career - with a little help from the weather.

He was the first of 10 drivers due to take their turn at the qualifying run-off and the only one to enjoy a dry track. Rain began soon after he completed his flying lap and no other driver was able to match the time.

Jim Richards, who had set fastest time in an earlier general qualifying session and is a renowned wet weather expert, was second fastest in the Top Gun and will share the front row in a Porsche GT3 Cup.

V8 Supercar regulars Paul Morris, John Bowe and Brad Jones, also driving Ferraris for the same PHR Scuderia team as Newman, qualified third, fourth and fifth respectively, with Paul Stokell fifth in a Lamborghini Diablo.

Newman, who will share his car in the race with Scott Shearman, said he was delighted to have the advantage of a pole position start for the 500-kilometre enduro.

"I was very fortunate with the weather, but it doesn't get much better than this - I'm going to bolt the trophy to the roof of the car," he quipped.

Richards, pole winner in 2001, admitted he would not have been able to match Newman in the wetter conditions.

"I would have been faster if I'd had one more lap, but still nowhere near Sam," said Richards, who will co-drive the Porsche with owner Tony Quinn.

Tomorrow's race, starting at 12 midday and broadcast live on the SBS television network, will feature exotic cars from the Nations Cup Championship and popular high-performance sedans and coupes from the GTP series.

It promises an exciting battle, with Melbourne's fickle spring weather likely to be as much a factor as pit stop strategy during the 161 scheduled laps.

Bowe said: "We have no strategy yet. We'll have to see what the weather will do, but it's a long race and anything can happen - grid positions won't mean anything in the end."

The Sandown 500 winner last year and in 1994-95, Bowe will share the drive tomorrow with Steve Beards, from Melbourne, while his V8 Supercar teammate Brad Jones will co-drive with Indonesian Maher Algadri.

Paul Morris, who came fourth last year in a Ferrari, will share again with fellow Queenslander John Teulan, while Paul Stokell will have Anthony Tratt as back-up in the Lamborghini.

Any return of the wet weather tomorrow could favour GTP cars with all-wheel drive, such as the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII of Mark King and Geoff Full, which was ninth today.

Peter Floyd secured 10th grid spot without even starting in the Top Gun Challenge, but he later withdrew from the race after crashing his car.

Ninth-fastest in qualifying this morning ensured a Top Gun berth, but then he rolled his Holden Commodore GTS at Dandenong Road corner while trying for a better time.

Floyd was unhurt although taken to hospital for observation, but the car could not be repaired.

Famous names filled the top qualifying positions for the Great Aussie Ute Race.

Jamie Brock, son of Peter Brock, set the fastest time in a Holden Commodore SS he will share with Gavin Harvey, son of John Harvey, in tomorrow's three-leg event.

Second fastest was double Bathurst winner Alan Grice, who will share his Ford Falcon XR8 in the race with world champion Alan Jones.

However, pole position for race one went to Holden's Dennis Cribbin and Steve Cramp in a post-qualifying ballot for grid positions.

Retired 500 cc motorcycle ace Daryl Beattie will start his first-ever car race from 13th position, in a Falcon shared with former Sydney Roosters rugby league player Jack Elsegood. <pre> QUALIFYING RESULTS (qualifying driver underlined)

Sandown 500 1. S. Newman (Vic.)/S.Shearman (Vic.) Ferrari 360 Challenge 1 min. 18.51 sec. 2. J. Richards (Vic.)/T. Quinn (Qld) Porsche GT3 Cup 1:24.56 3. P. Morris (Qld)/J. Teulan (Qld) Ferrari 360 Challenge 1:25.65 4. J. Bowe (Vic.)/S. Beards (Vic.) Ferrari 360GT 1:26.38 5. B. Jones (NSW)/M. Algadri (Indon.) Ferrari 360GT 1:26.80 6. P. Stokell (Vic.)/A. Tratt (Vic.) Lamborghini Diablo GTR 1:27.28 7. P. Fitzgerald (Vic.)/M. Coleman (Vic.) Porsche GT3 Cup 1:28.06 8. D. Russell (Vic.)/D. Palmer (Qld) Chrysler Viper 1:34.18 9. M. King (Qld)/G. Full (NSW) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII 1:41.54 10. P. Floyd (Vic.)/R. Wilson (Vic.) Holden Commodore GTS no time set

Great Aussie Ute Race 1. J. Brock (Vic.)G. Harvey (Vic.) Commodore SS 1:28.54 2. A. Grice (Qld)/A. Jones (Qld) Falcon XR8 1:28.66 3. C. Kovacs (SA)/D. Brede (ACT) Commodore SS 1:29.124 4. G. Baxter (SA)/N.Edge (SA) Commodore SS 1:29.126 5. R. Wilson (Vic.)/G. MacDonald (NSW) Commodore SS 1:29.34 6. P. Stokell (Vic.)/G. Young (Vic.) Commodore SS 1:29.42


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Series Supercars
Drivers Alan Jones , Scott Shearman , Jim Richards , Brad Jones , Paul Morris , John Bowe , Anthony Tratt , Peter Brock , Tony Quinn , Peter Floyd , John Teulan , Paul Stokell , Geoff Full , Steve Cramp , Mark King , Jack Elsegood , Algadri Maher