UTE: Symmons Plains Friday practice notes

Stokell tops Nations Cup timesheets on Tassie homecoming in Lamborghini. Tasmanian-born Paul Stokell enjoyed a happy homecoming when he steered his Lamborghini Diablo to the top of the timesheets in official practice for round two of the Donut...

Stokell tops Nations Cup timesheets on Tassie homecoming in Lamborghini.

Tasmanian-born Paul Stokell enjoyed a happy homecoming when he steered his Lamborghini Diablo to the top of the timesheets in official practice for round two of the Donut King Australian Nations Cup Championship at Symmons Plains, near Launceston, today.

Stokell set a time of 54.73 seconds on the 2.4 kilometre circuit, beating fellow Tasmanian and championship leader John Bowe, in a Ferrari 360GT, by just 0.13 sec.

While Stokell and Bowe, both now Melbourne residents, battled for the provisional pole position, all eyes were on the return to regular motor racing of touring car legend Peter Brock.

Although he sat in his new 7.0 litre Holden Monaro for the first time only this morning, Brock finished third today, just ahead of fellow Monaro driver Nathan Pretty.

After a breakdown prevented Stokell from scoring any championship points at last year's Tasmanian round, he said he was happy to be the early pace-setter for this weekend.

"The Lamborghini has a big V12 engine and it's obviously pretty good around here, but I wouldn't rule out a strong threat from Bowe, or either of the Monaros or Greg Crick in the Chrysler Viper," Stokell said.

"At this stage in the season it's important to put away some points and that will be my first job this weekend."

Brock, 58, who retired from racing in 1997, drove today like he had never been away.

"The car's fabulous. We might make a couple of changes for qualifying tomorrow, but I'm really happy," he said.

"I haven't been to Symmons since 1997, when Greg Murphy and I raced for the Holden Racing Team. It's a tricky track and the corners take a bit of finessing to be able to carry the speed through them.

"It's good to be back. The support for motorsport in Tasmania is incredible and I expect there will be a huge crowd this weekend, possibly the biggest in the PROCAR series."

The Nations Cup is one of six national motor racing championships being run at this weekend's PROCAR Champ Series event.

Drivers will contest qualifying tomorrow and a total of 15 races on Sunday for the Nations Cup, Strathfield Australian GT Performance Championship, Siemens Mobile Australian Production Car Championship, Australian Formula 3 Championship and Falken Tyres Mirage Cup.

In practice for round two of the GT Performance Championship for high-performance touring cars, Victorian Peter Floyd was fastest in a Holden HSV GTS in front a tightly-bunched field.

Only 1.5 seconds covered the first 13 cars, which represented Holden, Subaru, Mitsubishi, BMW and Nissan.

Floyd said: "The real stuff happens tomorrow in qualifying. We're all very close and the races will be no pushover. I think Boatwright and Bob Pearson in the Mazda RX-7 will give me a hard time."

Damien White, from Wollongong, claimed honours for Ford Falcon in practice for round two of the Poolrite V8 BRutes Series, beating defending champion Warren Luff, in another Falcon by almost 0.3 sec.

Steve Robinson, from the Gold Coast, was third fastest and the first Holden SS driver.

SPEED READ

Saturday (From 9 am) - Qualifying, Mirage race.

Sunday (From 9 am) - 15 races, all categories. Ute Muster display and competition for road utes. Driver autograph sessions at 11.15 am, 12 midday and 1.30 pm.

Categories - Donut King Nations Cup (Rd 2) supported by Meguiar's, Strathfield GT Performance (Rd 2), Siemens Mobile Australian Production Cars (Rd 2), Poolrite V8 BRutes (Rd 2) supported by Philmac, Formula 3 (Rd 2), Falken Tyres Mitsubishi Mirages (Rd 1).

* Tickets - On sale at all Autobarn stores in Tasmania or at the track. Adults $15 (Saturday), $30 (Sunday). Children 12-16 $10 (Saturday), $15 (Sunday). Children under 12 free. Ute drivers enter free on Sunday with paying adult passenger. Free entry to Paddock and autograph sessions. Information - Motorsports Tasmania (03) 6231 3536, or www.procar.com.au.

-www.procar.com.au

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Greg Murphy , Nathan Pretty , John Bowe , Peter Brock , Peter Floyd , Greg Crick , Paul Stokell , Warren Luff , Damien White
Teams Nissan Motorsport , Holden Racing Team
Tags AUSUTE