D'Arcy Russell Sandown 500 race report

Sandown, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA Sunday, 16 September 2001.../ Melbourne driver D'Arcy Russell and new team mate Formula 3 star Darren Palmer survived a broken half shaft in their D'Arcy Russell Racing Dodge Viper to salvage a finish in Sunday's ...

D'Arcy Russell Sandown 500 race report

Sandown, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA Sunday, 16 September 2001.../ Melbourne driver D'Arcy Russell and new team mate Formula 3 star Darren Palmer survived a broken half shaft in their D'Arcy Russell Racing Dodge Viper to salvage a finish in Sunday's grueling 34th Clarion Sandown 500.

Starting from position 10 after a spin in Saturday's single lap qualifying shoot out, Russell used the power of the V10 Viper to blast his way into 4th before the car suddenly slowed at the exit of turn 3.

Russell managed to limp back to the pits where his small team managed to replace the broken axle with another lent to them by fellow competitor Geoff Morgan.

In its return to the track, the big American V10 set a new fastest lap for the race at 1.17.75 with Palmer at the wheel. The pair eventually finished in 19th spot despite losing 25 laps thanks to the breakage.

It was an emotional race for the Dodge team after the Viper and the other U.S.A built cars, the Chevrolet Corvette C5 of Murray Carter and the Ford Mustang of David Wood and Ross Palmer, led a pre-race parade lap flying U.S.A flags in memory of those lives tragically taken in Tuesday's terrorism attack on New York and Washington DC.

The race was won by the Ferrari pair of former winner and V8Supercar star John Bowe and Hong Kong banker Tom Warring in a Prancing Horse Racing Ferrari 360 despite a late race charge by local rally ace Neil Bates in the Porsche GT-3 shared with Sydney's Steve Webb.

The Ferrari finished just 3 seconds in front after 500 kms of spectacular but incident free racing. The Peter Fitzgerald and Geoff Morgan Porsche GT-3 was third ahead of another of the Prancing Horse Ferraris driven by Paul Morris and John Teulan.

Early pace setter the Lamborghini Diablo of Paul Stokell and Steven Johnson retired on lap 89 when it's front left hand side suspension collapsed while in a comfortable lead.

Despite a modest crowd, organisers PROCAR Australia were satisfied with the event's return after a two year break and will push for even more International participation in next years race.

-ppr

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