AUSF3: UTE: Phillip Island, round six

The action will be on the track and in the sky when a record field of cars and drivers -- plus some pilots - heads to Victoria's Phillip Island circuit for round six of the PROCAR Champ Series on 8-10 August. While the elite Royal Australian Air ...

AUSF3: UTE: Phillip Island, round six

The action will be on the track and in the sky when a record field of cars and drivers -- plus some pilots - heads to Victoria's Phillip Island circuit for round six of the PROCAR Champ Series on 8-10 August.

While the elite Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes aerobatic team performs over the oceanside circuit on Saturday and Sunday, the focus on the ground will be on four-wheeled thoroughbreds and a battle for the Donut King Australian Nations Cup Championship between Lamborghini ace Paul Stokell and Ferrari-mounted John Bowe.

More than 170 cars have been entered for a total of 17 races covering seven major championship rounds, making Phillip Island the biggest PROCAR Champ Series event to date.

The Nations Cup has attracted 24 GT sports cars, its biggest field of the season, and promises a thrilling, high-speed spectacle on the 4.45 km grand prix circuit.

Stokell and Bowe may be the front-runners for the Meguiar's Drivers Championship, but strong showings are expected also from the Holden Monaros of Peter Brock and Nathan Pretty, the Porsches of Martin Wagg and Mark Eddy, Danish driver Alan Simonsen's Ferrari and the Ford Mustang Cobra RA of Rod Wilson.

With three rounds to go, the Nations Cup outright competition is a close two-horse race with Stokell, on 348 points and Bowe, on 345, comfortably ahead of third-placed Pretty.

Both have similar form at Phillip Island and have been the dominant cars at other rounds this season.

Last year, Bowe out-qualified Stokell and set the race lap record at 1 minute 35.22 seconds. However, Stokell finished ahead of Bowe in all three races.

"Everyone would be expecting the bigger cars like the Lamborghini to go well at Phillip Island, but they shouldn't discount the Ferrari," Stokell said.

"It has terrific corner speed and will come off the final fast sweeper on to the main straight absolutely flat out. Obviously, the Lamborghini has the horsepower, so it will be an interesting contest."

Stokell will be one of the weekend's busiest drivers, backing up for two races aboard a factory-run Volkswagen Golf R32 in round six of the Australian GT Performance Championship for touring cars.

He and teammate Stewart McColl are hoping recent development will lift the all-wheel drive Golfs further up the field, but they will be hard-pressed to catch series leader Mark King (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII), second-placed Wayne Boatwright (Subaru Impreza WRX STi), Bob Pearson (Mazda RX-7) and a squadron of Holden's most powerful road car, the HSV GTS sedan.

The 400 horsepower Holdens of drivers such as Peter Floyd and Barry Morcom are strong chances, as they are now equipped with wider 18 inch x 10 inch wheels which they were denied at Phillip Island last year, resulting in their withdrawal from the event.

King leads the GTP series with 271 points. Boatwright is second with 245 points, but goes to Phillip Island with a 57 kilogram"success handicap" after winning round five.

As well as Stokell, other new GTP entrants include the Gold Coast's Beric Lynton, who is returning in a BMW M3 coupe after several seasons away from regular racing.

Outright competition for the Australian Production Car Championship will be lifted by the entry of the first Australian racing appearance of the BA Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo.

Although too late to be a series contender, the six-cylinder Falcon to be driven by Benalla's John McIlroy is a potential race winner. It is more powerful than the 5.7 litre V8 Holden SS of pointscore leader Scott Loadsman, although also heavier.

A good results for Loadsman at Phillip Island would set him up to clinch the championship in the seventh and final round at Winton next month.

The Poolrite V8 BRutes Series has attracted 28 V8-powered Holden and Ford utes for the sixth round.

Ford driver Warren Luff, winner of the first race at last year's V8 BRutes round, is the defending champion and leads this year's series with a pointscore of 230.

James Brock, who won the other two races in his Holden, has 191.5 points for second place.

Only 86 points separate the first six drivers in the Poolrite series and, with up to 93 points on offer for any driver the race for the championship remains wide open.

Races for the Australian Formula 3 Championship, Australian Porsche Drivers Challenge and Falken Tyres Mirage Cup complete the PROCAR Champ Series program at Phillip Island.

With a strong Victorian base, the Porsches have mustered a substantial 37 entries for two races on Saturday, with six of their number also entered for Group Two of the Nations Cup on Sunday.

More information about the PROCAR Champ Series meeting, including entry lists and race times, is available on www.procar.com.au

SPEED READ -- PROCAR Champ Series (Round 6)

* Timetable. Track action starts daily at 9.05 am.Friday -- practice all categories. Saturday -- practice all categories plustwo races for Porsches, one race for Mirages. Sunday -- 15 races for allcategories except Porsches, plus ute muster and free autograph sessionswith drivers.

* RAAF Roulettes formation aerobatics team appearSaturday and Sunday -- times to be announced.

* Ticket prices. Friday -- free. Saturday - Adults$15, children 5-15 $10, under five free. Sunday -- Adults $30, children$10,under five free. Weekend -- Adults $40.

* Nations Cup pointscore (after Rd 5) -- 1 PaulStokell 348, 2 John Bowe 345, 3 Nathan Pretty 249, 4 Peter Brock 166, 5Greg Crick 148, 6 James Koundouris 98.

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