UTE: Sandown Sunday report

Stokell on course for two titles after solid Sandown round MELBOURNE -- Paul Stokell could be on course to win two national motor racing championships this year, following a dominant performance in the PROCAR Champ Series meeting at Sandown ...

Stokell on course for two titles after solid Sandown round

MELBOURNE -- Paul Stokell could be on course to win two national motor racing championships this year, following a dominant performance in the PROCAR Champ Series meeting at Sandown International Motor Raceway today.

Stokell drove his Lamborghini Diablo to victory in the Australian Nations Cup Championship round for GT sports cars, boosting his points lead in the pursuit of a second straight title.

He backed up for two more races in a factory team Volkswagen Golf in the GT Performance touring car championship, with a second place yesterday and first today lifting him from sixth to second in the standings.

"I'm pretty happy with the weekend. There were a couple of little problems with the Lamborghini early on, but the crew did a fantastic job getting on top of them," Stokell said.

"The Golf was great all weekend. I was surprised how well it went at Sandown and it was a terrific effort by the team, considering they had a huge repair job to do after the last round.

"We're really on a roll at the moment. If we keep it going I definitely think we can be there at the end of the year for the championship."

Stokell's win in the first of two Nations Cup races today was his 40 th and a record tally in the series.

Nathan Pretty had a strong weekend in the Bathurst-winning 7.0 litre Holden Monaro, pulling out a win in the third Nations Cup race to cement his second position in the series.

Pretty has 214 points to Stokell's 251, while Allan Simonsen is third on 119 points after a weekend on which his Ferrari 550 Maranello failed to meet its potential.

Stokell won the day's first Nations Cup race by an easy margin after his main opposition fell apart.

As Stokell rocketed away from pole, Pretty lost two early laps replacing an engine drive belt and was the last runner at the finish, in 12 th.

Simonsen retired his Ferrari on lap four with drive-joint failure and two laps later the field was slowed behind the safety car as track workers removed Ian Palmer's Brabham-Honda, which had blown its ex-Formula 1Judd engine.

The safety car was brought in on lap nine but almost immediately deployed again when Peter Brock ran off the track with a flat front tyre on the 05 Monaro.

An off by David Stevens on the re-start lifted James Koundouris to second outright, his best result yet in his Trophy class Ferrari 360.

In the second race, Pretty beat Stokell to turn one after a safety car period ended on lap five.

The order remained until the finish, although Brock earned a drive-through penalty for jumping the re-start and was lucky to recover to fourth place.

Sydney Subaru driver Justin Hemmes still leads the GT Performance series despite being penalised 15 points by stewards for careless driving over a collision with Garry Holt which spun the Mitsubishi driver out of second place on the final lap of race two.

The penalty relegated Hemmes to third on the day, behind Holden's Peter Floyd. He now has 193 points and a lead of 33 over Stokell.

The 26-lap race featured plenty of action. A safety car period ended on lap 22 just as rain started and the final laps were an exciting scramble for position and track grip on slick tyres.

Ric Shaw (Mazda), Steve Cramp (Holden), Mark Cohen (Holden), Peter Boylan (BMW), Beric Lynton (BMW) and Gary Jackson (BMW) all ran off the circuit for various reasons -- Lynton suffered brake failure at the end of pit straight -- while Hemmes and Tim Leahey (Volkswagen) swapped places several times in their fight over third spot.

Hemmes eventually emerged in front and then picked up second after his last-lap contact with Garry Holt.

Damien White scored a hat-trick of V8 BRutes Series wins for Team Brock, while a second place and two third spots earned teammate Benn Wilson the runner-up trophy for the round.

Two handicap races for round three of the Australian Production Car Championship produced some of the day's most exciting competition -- and most interesting results.

Defending champion Scott Loadsman won the first race in a Holden Commodore SS and the second event went to Chris Alajajian, in a Subaru Liberty GT.

Alajajian, a 17-year-old Sydney school student, now holds the outright and Class A leads and is the youngest driver in these positions in the championship's history.

Another 17-year-old, Lauren Gray, from Melbourne, took her Proton Satria to the Class D lead while Lynne Champion became the second woman driver in the lead of a class championship, with her Class D Ford Falcon XR6.

Round four of the PROCAR Champ Series will be at Winton Motor Raceway in Victoria on 16-18 June.


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Series Supercars
Drivers Nathan Pretty , Tim Leahey , Allan Simonsen , Peter Brock , Peter Floyd , Peter Boylan , James Koundouris , Ric Shaw , Paul Stokell , Ian Palmer , Beric Lynton , Steve Cramp , Scott Loadsman , Garry Holt , Mark Cohen , Chris Alajajian , Damien White , Lauren Gray