WINTON (Vic.) -- Holden Monaro driver Nathan Pretty boosted his chase for the Australian Nations Cup Championship with victory in round four at Winton Motor Raceway today. Pretty, driving for the Garry Rogers Motorsport team, won two of ...
WINTON (Vic.) -- Holden Monaro driver Nathan Pretty boosted his chase for the Australian Nations Cup Championship with victory in round four at Winton Motor Raceway today.
Pretty, driving for the Garry Rogers Motorsport team, won two of three races in cold and damp conditions to narrow the gap to series leader Paul Stokell to 34 points after four of eight rounds in the 2004 championship.
Stokell won pole position and today's first race, but Pretty was confident the Monaro would deliver the goods again after winning the round here last year.
"This is our second round win of the season and it's great to do it here on my home track," said Pretty, from Albury-Wodonga.
"We're now well and truly in with a chance to challenge Paul for the championship and I'm looking forward to the fifth round at Eastern Creek next month."
In other results at the PROCAR Champ Series meeting, Justin Hemmes retained his lead in the Australian GT Performance Championship with a win, a third and a fifth place in round four.
Jack Elsegood delivered Ford's first round win of the season in the Poolrite V8 BRutes Series and David Russell won the Australian Production Car Championship round in his giant-killing works Proton Satria.
While Stokell ran away with the first Nations Cup heat, the highlight was an eight-lap battle for third place between David Stevens (Porsche GT2) and a pursuing Peter Brock, in the first race for his new 7.0 litre Monaro.
Charging up from 10 th on the grid, Brock tried everything to pass the Porsche but was unsuccessful.
In race two, he made sure the Porsche was behind by the first corner and then focused his attack on Stokell in second spot, passing him briefly on the third lap.
Stokell had surrendered the lead to Pretty around the same time and appeared content to sit back until late in the race.
The pace built as Pretty, then Brock then Stokell recorded fastest lap times.
Three corners short of the flag, Stokell had the Lamborghini's low nose wedged literally under the the tail of the Pretty Monaro but he could not convert the move into a pass and the Holden scored the win.
Brock came home strongly in third and as a result would have been in a good position for race three, but for a wrong tyre choice.
The Monaro appeared to be the only car running dry tyres on a wet track and Brock worked hard to take fifth place.
Pretty won the race from Stokell by 15 seconds, with Allan Simonsen third in his Trophy class Ferrari Challenge and Ian Palmer fourth in Brock's previous Monaro.
Simonsen consistently raced among the outright cars throughout the weekend and wrapped up the class round win.
GT Performance featured some of the event's closest racing, with Ric Shaw (Mazda RX-7), Paul Stokell (Volkswagen Golf R32) and Justin Hemmes all taking wins.
Shaw was the round winner after also taking pole position yesterday. Stokell fell just one point short, and managed to close up slightly on Hemmes in the points standings.
Beric Lynton achieved the best results yet for a BMW M3 in the series, with two third places and a fifth.
Shaw took over third place in the drivers championship from Peter Floyd, whose promising-looking Holden GTS suffered a misfiring engine and then a tyre blowout.
GT Performance debutante Grant Park, 21, drove well for the Subaru Protecnica team, taking fourth place in race two and briefly leading the final heat before finishing a close second to teammate Hemmes.
Damien White's win for the Brock Holden team in the first of three V8 BRutes Series legs was his sixth in a row.
He also topped qualifying, set the lap record and kept his series points lead, but it was Jack Elsegood whose race two and three wins brought Ford an overdue round victory.
Proton works driver David Russell benefited from the combination of the handicap start system in the Australian Production Car Championship and Winton's tight layout to hold out series leader Chris Alajajian, in a Subaru Liberty GT, for two all-the-way wins.
Alajajian started with a 19 sec. handicap and in the second race failed by just 0.42 sec. to catch the Proton.
Steve Grocl (Volkswagen Beetle RSi) and Leanne Ferrier (Toyota Corolla Sportivo) won their classes.
Round five of the PROCAR Champ Series will be at Eastern Creek circuit, near Sydney, on 16-18 July.