CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP WINTON PREVIEW 14th AUGUST 1999 Peter Fitzgerald is set to continue his "comeback" drive to challenge for the title lead in the 1999 Century Batteries Australian GT Production ...
CENTURY BATTERIES AUSTRALIAN GT PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
WINTON PREVIEW 14th AUGUST 1999
Peter Fitzgerald is set to continue his "comeback" drive to challenge for the title lead in the 1999 Century Batteries Australian GT Production Car Championship when the series continues at Winton Motor Raceway on August 22.
"Fitzy" has overcome the round two dramas at Phillip Island where his Porsche 911 RSCS was severely damaged in a racing incident, to now be well within the championship grasp behind fellow Porsche driver Jim Richards.
Richards, whose run this year has been faultless, is currently leading the outright charge on 138.5 points to Fitzgerald on 121 with Domenic Beninca not far behind on 101.
Fitzgerald and Richards agree that winning the round at Winton Raceway will come down to luck on the day and to who ever wins the important race to the first corner.
"There¹s no doubt that there is a lot of luck that comes into play on race day, and seeing that the first couple of cars are all so close, whoever wins the race to the first corner undoubtedly has the upper hand," Fitzgerald said.
"Up until now Jim seems to have had all the luck and that has given him an edge over both Dom (Domenic Beninca) and I. My first couple of rounds were fairly average but we adopted a Œnever say die attitude¹ and pulled our socks up to get back in the points.
Over the last two rounds we¹ve found good form, and even though Jim is still the favourite for the championship, we¹re going to Winton confident of a good result."
FitzgeraldŒs Œnever say die attitude¹ could well be the edge that he has been searching for. With renewed enthusiasm on pursuing the championship, Fitzy has focused his efforts on mentally and physically preparing himself for what has become very tough racing in the championship.
"When all you¹re talking about is one tenth of a second, you really need to be as fit as possible. For me it¹s about getting to the end of the race and have the energy to get back in the car and race again. That sort of fitness can make such a huge difference to your mental approach to the race."
Richards feels that the Meguiar¹s Top Marques Class A victor at Winton could be any number of the top competitors, and like Fitzy, is aware of how the racing through the field can effect the outcome on the day.
Richards says he cannot discount the Ferrari and his Porsche rivals for honours at Winton but is still confident his Porsche will be more than up to the job.
"I haven¹t been testing in the Porsche at all between rounds but the beauty of the thing is that the car is still race ready from the last event. Last time Fitzy and I tested, it was at Winton and he was a couple of tenths faster around there than I was. In the big scheme of things I don¹t think we¹ll be far apart and we¹ll both have a couple of good clean tussles and then share a drink together when it¹s all over." said Richards.
Domenic Beninca will be hoping for a change of fortune after engine failure ruined his Calder round.
Autobarn Class B leader and Subaru Impreza WRX driver Geoff Full is unsure whether he will make it to round seven of the championship, due to personal commitments.
His absence could leave the door open for rival Mark King to make an impact on Full¹s lead in the championship. Full is not concerned if he cannot make it and feels that his commanding lead is enough to allow him to take it to round eight at Oran Park and still claim victory in the class.
Class C contender Mark Cohen is planning on a trouble free run after repairing damage to his Holden Commodore VS SS V8, after it caught on fire at the last round at Calder Park Raceway. He and Peter Phelan (Holden Commodore VT SS V8) will continue to battle it out for honours in the class.
Phil Kirkham will likely continue his commanding lead in Class D against the Holden Vectra duo of Sam Newman and Melinda Price. Newman leads Price on 48 to 46 points and the battle for second spot between the team mates will likely be close.
Class E leader Kosi Kalaitzidis (Proton M21 Coupe) will be watching his mirrors for the Suzuki Swift GTi of Sue Hughes who is just behind the Proton driver in points, followed by the fast, but unlucky, Nathan Thomas also in a Suzuki Swift GTi.
Local driver Darren Best is keen for a strong home-track result aboard his Hyundai Excel Sprint Twin Cam, while Warren Luff returns to the class aboard the Peugeot 306 Style.
Ric Shaw (Toyota MR2 Bathurst) and Wayne Russell (BMW 323i) will be the main protagonists in the Class S battle around Winton Raceway.
CLASS A - Meguiar¹s Top Marques
1 - Domenic Beninca - PORSCHE 911 RSCS 3 - Peter Fitzgerald - PORSCHE 911 RSCS 5 - Jim Richards - PORSCHE 911 RSCS 8 - Ed Aitken - PORSCHE 911 RSCS 9 - Ray Lintott - DODGE Viper GTS Coupe 12 - Geoff Morgan - PORSCHE 911 RSCS 18 - Murray Carter - CHEVROLET Corvette C5 V8 Coupe 27 - Wayne Park - FERRARI F355 Challenge 30 - Perry Spiridis - MASERATI Ghibli Cup Twin-Turbo 38 - Roderick Salmon - MITSUBISHI Lancer RS Turbo EVO V 45 - John Teulan - NISSAN Skyline GT-R Turbo 4WD 48 - Paul Freestone - LOTUS Esprit Sport 300 56 - Mike Kilpatrick - BMW M3-R Coupe 57 - Graham Alexander - MITSUBISHI Lancer RS Turbo EVO V 65 - Craig Dean - FORD Mustang Saleen
CLASS B - Autobarn
6 - Geoffery Full - SUBARU Impreza WRX Turbo 14 - Clyde Lawrence - SUBARU Impreza WRX Turbo 15 - Bob Hughes - MAZDA RX-7 Twin-Turbo 25 - Richard Davis - HSV VS GTS-R 215i 34 - Mark King - MITSUBISHI Lancer RS Turbo EVO III 40 - Dwayne Bewley - SUBARU Impreza WRX Turbo 66 - Paula Elstrek - MAZDA RX-7 Twin-Turbo 76 - Wayne Vinckx - NISSAN 200SX Sport Coupe Turbo 91 - Gary Deane - SUBARU Impreza WRX Turbo
CLASS C - Meguiar¹s Killer Shine
16 - Peter Phelan - HOLDEN Commodore VT SS V8 20 - Robert Chadwick - MITSUBISHI Magna TH Sports V6 3.5 33 - Denis Cribbin - HOLDEN Commodore VS Exec V8 46 - Ryan Mc Leod - FORD Falcon EL XR8 55 - Mark Cohen - HOLDEN Commodore VS SS V8 70 - Daryl Coon - FORD Falcon AU XR6 HP live-axle 4.0 88 - David Ratcliff - TOYOTA Camry CSi V6 95 - John McIIroy - FORD Falcon AU XR8
CLASS D - Poolrite Pool Equipment
17 - Sam Newman - HOLDEN Vectra GL 2.2 Sedan 28 - Melinda Price - HOLDEN Vectra GL 2.2 Sedan 71 - Phil Kirkham - MAZDA 626 V6 Sedan
CLASS E - Poolrite Pool Equipment
21 - Kosi Kalaitzidis - PROTON M21 Coupe 36 - Warren Luff - Peugeot 306 Style 37 - Nathan Thomas - SUZUKI Swift GTi 74 - Sue Hughes - SUZUKI Swift GTi 75 - Craig Dontas - SUZUKI Swift GTi 78 - Darren Best - HYUNDAI Excel Sprint Twin Cam
CLASS S - Hippies Bodywear
13 - Colin Osborne - TOYOTA MR2 Bathurst 26 - Wayne Russell - BMW 323i 35 - Ric Shaw - TOYOTA MR2 Bathurst 54 - Megan Kirkham - MAZDA MX-5 Sports
OUTRIGHT Richards, Jim - 138.5 Fitzgerald, Peter - 121 Beninca, Domenic - 101 Aitken, Ed - 68 Morgan, Geoff - 67 Park, Wayne - 57 Cartwright, Jamie - 32 Bosnjak, Terry - 27 Spiridis, Perry - 22 Salmon, Rod - 21 Dean, Craig - 17 Waldon, Garry - 17 Full, Geoff - 17 Carter, Murray - 13.5 Lynton, Beric - 12 Alexander, Graham - 10.5 King, Mark - 6 Lintott, Ray - 5 Palmer, Darren - 4 Teulan, John - 3 Boylan, Peter - 3 White, Damien - 3 Elstrek, Paula - 2 Cowley, John - 1 Shaw, Ric - 1 Hughes, Bob - 1 Simpson, Michael - 1 Vinckx, Wayne - 0.5
CLASS A Richards, Jim - 134.5 Fitzgerald, Peter - 117 Beninca, Domenic - 100 Aitken, Ed - 69 Morgan, Geoff - 68 Park, Wayne - 56 Cartwright, Jamie - 32 Bosnjak, Terry - 27 Spiridis, Perry - 22 Dean, Craig - 21 Salmon, Rod - 21 Carter, Murray - 15.5 Waldon, Garry - 15 Lynton, Beric - 12 Alexander, Graham - 11.5 Lintott, Ray - 5 Palmer, Darren - 4 Teulan, John - 3 White, Damien - 3
CLASS B Full, Geoff - 166.5 King, Mark - 114 Hughes, Bob - 53 Elstrek, Paula - 48 Boylan, Peter - 43 Vinckx, Wayne - 40 Jacob, Scott - 32 Cowley, John - 27 Davis, Richard - 22 Wilson, Rod - 16 Bewley, Dwayne - 14 Hing, Richard - 10 Mcknoulty, Jim - 5 Deane, Gary - 4
CLASS C Phelan, Peter - 133 Cohen, Mark - 116.5 Ratcliff, David - 102 Chadwick, Robert - 82 Mcleod, Ryan - 64 Cribbin, Denis - 24 Hill, Roland - 11 Carr, Brian - 9 Coon, Daryl - 8 Millett, Warren - 3
CLASS D Kirkham, Phil - 120 Newman, Sam - 68 Price, Melinda - 70 Kirkham, Megan - 30 Jackson, Carol - 22
CLASS E Kalaitzidis, Kosi - 116 Hughes, Sue - 96 Thomas, Nathan - 89 Dontas, Craig - 74 Best, Darren - 40 Mckay, Peter - 30 Luff, Warren - 22.5
CLASS S Shaw, Ric - 154 Russell, Wayne - 104.5 Osborne, Colin - 95 Kirkham, Megan - 44 Simpson, Michael - 30 Haynes, Clayton - 20 Wanless, Dean - 16 Kirkham, Phil - 12 Lehmann, Matt - 10 Lucas, Nicolas - 10
MANUFACTURERS Porsche - 476.5 Holden - 476.5 Toyota - 413.0 Mazda - 376.0 Subaru - 264.5 Suzuki - 259.0 Mitsubishi - 231.5 BMW - 146.5 Proton - 116.0 Ford - 102.0 Ferrari - 72.0 Peugeot - 52.5 Nissan - 53.0 Hyundai - 40.0 Maserati - 22.0 Honda - 22.0 Dodge - 20.0 Chevrolet - 15.5
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