Allan SimonsenA completely unpredictable day at Victoria’s Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit has seen Allan Simonsen become the first multiple round winner of the 2006 Speed Energy Drink Australian GT Championship.

Three different drivers scored race wins in this weekend’s fourth championship round, three races held in difficult and changeable wet / dry conditions and producing some scintillating racing amongst a competitive field.

Simonsen, series stalwart John Teulan and D’Arcy Russell shared the wins today, Russell tasting his first success since Phillip Island last August, whilst Teulan’s win in race two was his first ever in Australian GT Racing after five years of trying.

The day’s drama started early, defending champion Bryce Washington’s ADRAD Racing Porsche needing a replacement engine following a failure at the end of Saturday’s qualifying session.

A replacement power plant was sourced from Porsche Australia’s office in Melbourne, the team working right through the night to have the car race-ready by approximately 4am Sunday morning to ensure the South Australian’s title hopes remained alive.

Simonsen scored a win, fifth and second-place results respectively today to win the round; his race two result thanks to a drive through penalty after the Danish superstar was judged to have jumped the re-start following a safety car period.

The locally-based Ferrari led a majority of the final race before being overhauled by the Dodge Viper GTS ACR of D’Arcy Russell with a few laps remaining.

“It is satisfying to come back and win,” Simonsen said following the third race today.

“Conditions were very tricky today because it was changing between being wet and dry for a lot of the day. I drove to the conditions and what the car was capable of in its state this weekend so it was good to get this result.”

Teulan’s win in race two came on the Australian debut of the Ferrari F430 Challenge, the Queenslander leading home Stuart Kostera (driving Maher Algadri’s Porsche GT3 Cup Car) following a close race long duel.

Teulan had also been under pressure from Championship leader Greg Crick, who was holding second until a final lap spin cost him a podium finish.

“It’s just fantastic, really brilliant,” Teulan enthused.

“I actually thought that I was second and that Allan was miles down the road until well after the race. Considering that the car is missing the GT3 Aerodynamics, and we haven’t been able to adjust the suspension this weekend it is an awesome result.

“The car was fantastic in the rain and I’m over the moon!” he said.

It was a strong weekend for the brand new Ferrari’s, David Stevens taking his similar F430 to some equally strong performances today, his best result coming in the second race when he charged his way through the pack to finish third.

“The car is just so strong and I’m ecstatic with the way it’s performed this weekend,” the Brennan IT supported driver said.

“I’m really excited about it’s potential and to come out of the box like we have today is just brilliant. It’ll be even better with the new body kit and some more development.”

D’Arcy Russell’s win in the third race came after a storming drive from the back of the grid, Fuel pick up problems leaving the local’s Viper stranded in the second race today.

Russell stormed to an eight-second win and has provisionally become the sixth different race winner from eleven races held to date.

Although the final results of the final race are dependent on the outcome of a stewards hearing to be held at Mallala next month, Russell was delighted to come through with the win.

“I passed I don’t know how many cars so I’m delighted, really delighted,” he said.

“I couldn’t hear the crew on the radio properly so I wasn’t sure where I was running, so I just kept at it – to come away with a race win is great.”

Porsche ace James Koundouris consolidated his position as a top three regular this season with a consistent performance this weekend, a competitive performance notching him two thirds and a fourth in the three races respectively.

Impressively, Koundouris improved on his third overall performance he scored two weeks ago at Oran Park by scoring second overall this weekend.

Greg Crick was able to build his championship lead despite dramas this weekend, uncharacteristic spins in the second and third races relegating him to equal fourth for the round this weekend in his Speed Energy Drink supported Dodge Viper.

His cause was aided by a tough weekend for Washington, who’s Porsche was found to be a mere 3kg underweight, and then excluded, following the first race – thought to be a byproduct of the new engine installation.

Bryce scored consistent sixth and seventh-placed finishes in the final two races to keep his points tally ticking over.

Stuart Kostera impressed in his Porsche GT3, tying with Crick for fourth overall in his championship debut thanks to a trio of strong performances, whilst local Sven Burchartz stormed to fourth in the final race – and a top eight round result – in his similar Porsche.

The next round of the championship will be held at Mallala Raceway, near Adelaide, in a month’s time.

For more information about the Speed Energy Drink Australian GT Championship please visit www.gtchampionship.com.au

Championship Points following Round 4 of 8.
1. Greg Crick 333
2. Bryce Washington 280
3. James Koundouris 254
4. John Teulan 216
5. Allan Simonsen 200

Round Results -Round 4, Phillip Island
(Please note, points and results are provisional at this time)

1. Allan Simonsen (Ferrari) 96
2. James Koundouris (Porsche) 81
3. John Teulan (Ferrari) 76
4. Greg Crick (Viper) 71
5. Stuart Kostera (Porsche) 71

Photo by Klynsmith Photo