Bryce WashingtonSouth Australia’s Bryce Washington has taken pole position for tomorrow’s fifth round of the 2006 Speed Energy Drink Australian GT Championship following a stunning performance in today’s qualifying session at Mallala Raceway.

The 22-year-old defending series champion surprised even himself to set a benchmark time of 1m09.1454 late in the 20-minute session to snatch his second pole of the season and narrow the lead to Championship leader Greg Crick by a valuable three points.

“To be honest I really don’t know where the time came from, we’ve never been under a 1m09.9 here before this weekend,” Washington said.

“The key today was finding space on the track to put in a good lap. What was really great was that I was able to set the quick times immediately following a slow lap – that really helped.

“The car was fantastic and I think we have a good chance to peg back Greg in the championship standings if we get a good result tomorrow.”

A similarly strong performance today came from fellow Porsche GT3 Cup Car driver James Koundouris, who logged a 1m09.6340 to be well within striking distance of the leader for tomorrow’s opening 20-lap race.

Koundouris echoed Washington’s comments regarding traffic.

“I just couldn’t get a clear lap,” he explained.

“I thought that a 9-6 would have been about the benchmark so for Bryce to do what he did was awesome. As a driver you are never happy with second place but today was good. My hot lap had a couple of mistakes in it so there is certainly room for improvement.”

Porsche driver David Wall and point’s leader Greg Crick will complete the top four on tomorrow’s grid, Wall’s result coming despite holding first place for some time in the session.

Crick battled with a circuit not friendly towards his heavy Viper today, the experienced Tasmanian philosophical about his performances.

“Race day is another day. I like getting pole position but you can’t always have it,” he said.

“The problem we are having is slowing the car and putting the power down out of the corners. This circuit doesn’t have any of the nice flowing stuff that the car likes which certainly isn’t helping us.

“It’s great that it’s so competitive – I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it tomorrow in the races for a bit of competition.”

Ferrari driver David Stevens and Theo Koundouris made up the third row of the grid, whilst Max Twigg and Graeme Cook posted similarly strong performances to score 7th and 8th respectively. Matthew Turnbull and Ross Lilley rounded out the top ten.

Urban Arrangements supported driver Peter Lucas continued his development of his Lotus Elise GT3 today, the supercharged Honda-powered British Sportscar taking significant chunks of time out of his previous best laps to be closer to the front – at least in lap times if not overall position – than ever before.

“I said to the guy’s earlier that we improved by five seconds but we were still second last,” Lucas smiled this afternoon.

“We are trying to get the lotus’ key traits – power down and handling balance – back into it as they seem to be missing at the moment. It’s got plenty of power and as a result there is plenty of wheelspin but its good fun to drive.”

Tomorrows fifth round of the Speed Energy Drink Australian GT Championship will be contested over three, 20-lap races at Mallala tomorrow, as part of the CAMS Nationals meeting this weekend.

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