Bryce WashingtonSouth Australia’s Bryce Washington lead’s the way at Mallala raceway following opening practice for this weekend’s fifth round of the 2006 Speed Energy Drink Australian GT Championship.

Washington, driving his ADRAD Racing Porsche GT3 Cup Car, set a best time of 1m10.59 in the second session today to top a strong field including cars from Porsche, Ferrari, Dodge and Lotus.

After a tough round at Phillip Island recently, Washington conducted an engine change on his Porsche between events and heads into his hometown event looking to make up over 50 points on current championship leader Greg Crick, who was 7th today.

“We’ll take that for this stage in the weekend,” Washington said this afternoon.

“The car is good. I’ve done a few laps around here in the past so it will be good to race here in this car. Cricky didn’t do too many laps but I think we will be strong here.”

Second overall was the Dare Coffee Shots Porsche GT3 Cup Car of James Koundouris, the Canberra-based driver making it a Porsche 1-2 at the top of the charts today after posting a time just three tenths behind Washington.

James’ brother Theo survived an early morning spin to post the sixth fastest time today, both looking strong in their bid to break through for an elusive first round win this weekend.

Ferrari F430 driver David Stevens underlined the strength of his new car by posting third-fastest time today, the New South Welshman just one 10th behind James Koundouris with a 1m10.80 second time.

“The car was really good,” enthused Stevens.

“It’s got a heap of straight line speed and it’s great under brakes. This is a really good circuit and I think it suits the car.”

Victorian Max Twigg continued his impressive rise towards the top of Australian GT Racing by posting the fourth quickest lap of the day, his best time of 1m11.03s well within striking distance of the leaders.

“Absolutely no complaints whatsoever,” said Twigg.

“We have a new gearbox and some other new parts in the car since Phillip Island and it’s just about perfect to drive. This is about the strongest we’ve been in relation to the other cars. I just need to make sure I get the most out of qualifying tomorrow which will be a key factor towards us having a good weekend.”

David Wall (5th), Crick (7th), John Teulan (8th) and local driver Graeme Cook completed the top runners today, less than two seconds covering the top ten in this early stage of the weekend.

Two further practice sessions and a 20-minute qualifying session will be held tomorrow, before three 20-lap races Sunday to conclude the final sprint race event of the year.

The Speed Energy Drink Australian GT Championship is proudly supported by Speed Energy Drink, Drivetravel.com, Stand 21 Race wear and Michelin Tyres.

For more information head to www.gtchampionship.com.au