Three wins put Stokell back in Nations Cup fight. PAUL Stokell charged back into contention for the Australian Nations Cup Championship with three all-the-way wins from three starts aboard his Lamborghini Diablo in the fourth round at Victoria's...
Three wins put Stokell back in Nations Cup fight.
PAUL Stokell charged back into contention for the Australian Nations Cup Championship with three all-the-way wins from three starts aboard his Lamborghini Diablo in the fourth round at Victoria's Winton Motor Raceway today.
Stokell, who was runner-up in the 2001series but has suffered mishaps in the past two rounds, gave himself a 180-point boost to move from sixth to fourth in the current pointscore, with half the series still to run.
"Today was a great result for Team Lamborghini Australia. They worked hard to give me a good car all weekend and I can now say the fight for the championship is far from over," Stokell said.
Ferrari driver John Bowe retained the points lead, but defending champion Jim Richards took over second place after another consistent performance in his Porsche.
This included an outstanding drive in the last race from second-last to third.
Richards had been put off the track at the first corner after the start as a result of an over-ambitious move by Viper driver Geoff Morgan, who was fined $1000 later by stewards.
The Nations Cup was the highlight of a three-day PROCAR Champ Series meeting, which drew a total attendance of 10,000 and saw championship rounds also for GT Performance, GT Production, the V8 BRutes and Formula 3.
A trackside ute muster attracted owners of 260 utes to compete for prizes in several display categories and to watch the racing debut of country singer Adam Brand, in a Ford Falcon XR8.
Brand finished 18th, 14th and 22nd, successfully avoiding frequent clashes among more experienced drivers in the 25-car field that led stewards to call a meeting halfway through the day to order them to improve their on-track behaviour.
"I had a fantastic time and I can't wait for the next round. V8 Brute racing is ultra-competitive and the atmosphere and support among the fans in the ute muster today was great," Brand said.
While Stokell, Richards and Bowe shared the podium in the Nations Cup's Group One, the Group Two competition saw three different winners.
Ferrari teammates Sam Newman, John Teulan and Steve Beards each took a win and Newman retained his lead in the pointscore.
The GT Performance category for high performance sedans witnessed one of the year's most exciting races, between Geoff Full (Mitsubishi), defending series champion Brett Peters (Subaru) and David Wood (Subaru).
In race one, the three fought nose-to-tail and side-by-side for first place over seven laps.
Full narrowly won the race from Peters, but Wood picked up second place later when Peters' Subaru was excluded for an engine irregularity.
Wood won race two and Full race three, but the consistent Queenslander Peters managed to keep his lead in this year's pointscore.
This season's new class handicapping system in the GT Production Car Championship saw Sports Touring driver Colin Osborne (Toyota Celica) and 4-Cylinder Touring driver David Russell (Proton) each score exciting outright wins over rivals in V8-powered sedans, although Scott Loadsman, in a Commodore, still leads the championship.
Holden competitors in the V8 BRutes Series benefited from an extra horsepower allowance for round four, taking all three races - and the make's first wins over the Ford Falcon since round one in March.
In the V8 BRutes' first Winton appearance, Charlie Kovacs, from Adelaide, took race one and the others went to Sydney's Gary MacDonald.
Touring car legend Allan Grice was the most successful driver for Ford, with two second places and a sixth, and narrowed the points gap to series leader Warren Luff (Falcon).
The Formula 3 championship turned on more exciting racing, with young Queenslander Will Power taking two wins over Michael Caruso, from Sydney.
The Australian Formula 3 Association and PROCAR Australia today confirmed a three-year deal for the international single-seaters to stage their championship exclusively with the PROCAR Champ Series until the 2005 season.
Round five of the PROCAR Champ Series will be at Queensland Raceway, Ipswich, on 12-14 July.