UTE: Sandown Saturday report

Stokell & Lamborghini romp to first-leg win in Nations Cup round MELBOURNE -- Defending Australian Nations Cup Champion Paul Stokell boosted his lead in the 2004 series with a flag-to-flag win in his Lamborghini Diablo in the opening race of...

Stokell & Lamborghini romp to first-leg win in Nations Cup round

MELBOURNE -- Defending Australian Nations Cup Champion Paul Stokell boosted his lead in the 2004 series with a flag-to-flag win in his Lamborghini Diablo in the opening race of round three at Sandown International Motor Raceway today.

Stokell led the field from pole position and was unchallenged in the 16-lap event, while Nathan Pretty, in a Holden Monaro, and Allan Simonsen, in a Ferrari 550 Maranello, battled each other for the entire distance.

Simonsen eventually beat Pretty to second place and Peter Brock came fourth in another Holden Monaro.

The Nations Cup was one of three races on day one of the PROCAR Champ Series program at the track in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs.

Holden GTS driver Peter Floyd won the Australian GT Performance race and Damien White, in a Holden SS utility, took the V8 BRutes Series race and the lead in the points table.

Tomorrow's program features a further 13 races for the Nations Cup, GT Performance, V8 BRutes, Production Cars, Porsches and Futureracers, plus a trackside Ute Muster.

Stokell last raced the Lamborghini at Sandown in 2002, when he won the Sandown 500 with co-driver Anthony Tratt.

Today he was equally dominant, pouring on the pace in the big black Italian coupe to slash 1.3 seconds from Jim Richards' two-year-old lap record.

Pretty, with the Bathurst 24-Hour Monaro in its best form so far this season, slotted close behind Stokell at the rolling start but soon was defending his position from Simonsen.

The young Dane squeezed his Ferrari past in a clean, copybook move on lap four but said later poor suspension set-up had hindered any pursuit of Stokell.

Stokell now has 197 championship points, Pretty is second with 164 and Simonsen third with 102.

Melbourne driver Peter Floyd scored Holden's first win of the GT Performance season, leading all the way from second on the starting grid.

In a field featuring nine different makes, Floyd's 400 horsepower Holden clearly had an advantage on Sandown's long straights, but there were close contests throughout the rest of the top 10.

Ric Shaw could not sustain his Mazda RX-7's pole-winning speed over the race distance and slipped gradually to seventh.

Justin Hemmes made the best of the start in his all-wheel drive Subaru Impreza, rocketing from fourth on the grid to second, but then lost his place first to Shaw and then Stokell.

Hemmes finished third and increased his lead in the points standings over Mitsubishi driver Garry Holt.

John Falk, in a Ford Falcon TE50, got the better of Holden GTS driver Steve Cramp from South Australia, after a close race-long contest.

Tomorrow, the GT Performance teams afce a 26-lap, double-points race with a compulsory pit stop.

Team Brock Holden drivers Damien White and Benn Wilson took an impressive 1-2 in the first V8 BRutes Series race of round three.

The pair had qualified second and third behind fellow Holden driver Gary Baxter, but started down the field after a ballot to decide grid order.

Pole winner in the ballot Matt O'Grady (Holden) was swamped at the start as South Australians Charlie Kovacs and Chris Smerdon swapped the lead over the first few corners.

However, the Holden-mounted pair collided just after Kovacs hit the front on lap two. Both ran off the track and Smerdon retired as White and Wilson surged past.

The Team Brock drivers ran in close formation for the rest of the 12-lap race, with Marcus Zukanovic third outright and the first of the Ford runners.

In qualifying for tomorrow's two Australian Production Car Championship races, defending Scott Loadsman in a Commodore SS took pole position.

However, his effort was overshadowed by Newcastle school student Drew Russell, who at only 15 years old set the second-fastest time in a Honda S2000.

-procup.au-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Nathan Pretty , Jim Richards , Anthony Tratt , Peter Brock , Peter Floyd , Ric Shaw , John Falk , Paul Stokell , Steve Cramp , Scott Loadsman , Charlie Kovacs , Garry Holt , Marcus Zukanovic , Damien White
Tags AUSUTE