Century 21 RacingAfter dominating the early stanza of the 2006 STS Turbo Australian Performance Car Championship, Century 21 Real Estate Racing faced a trying time last weekend at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in their quest for this year’s title.

The team – led by driver Gary Holt and their proven Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution – took a solid points lead into the round last weekend at a circuit that was expected to suit the plethora of V8-powered HSV and FPV entered vehicles in the Performance field.

Sydney based Holt, the proprietor of Eastern Creek International Karting Raceway, took the aim of scoring as many championship points as possible into the weekend, the fourth of seven scheduled rounds this year.

The weekend looked good early on, Holt placing the #21 car third on the grid in the sole, 30-minute qualifying session held Saturday morning. What was more promising for the team was both that Holt was significantly quicker than he qualified at the circuit last season, and less than one-tenth of a second from pole position.

Race one, a 10-lap sprint held Saturday afternoon, saw Holt bring the Century 21 car home third, less than two seconds behind the leaders James Phillip and Peter Floyd – Both driving V8-powered cars.

Holt was an astounding five positions higher at the finish than any other turbocharged, 4WD car proving the consistent pace shown from the team at all types of circuit.After running third for the early stages of Sunday’s first race – the second for the weekend – a damaged tyre dropped Holt down the order in the final four laps to an eventual seventh position at the line. The third-fastest race lap was a small consolation.

Holt was caught in the thick of the racing in the third and final race, recovering from his race two dramas to score seventh position and more points.

The combined results – a third and two seventh place finishes – saw the Century 21 Lancer placed fifth overall for the round, scoring 50 points.

“The weekend was what we expected with the parity in the series,” Holt said following the weekend – his toughest of the year to date.

“But to be honest the car went quicker than perhaps we expected. We were faster there than last season which is always a positive, but unfortunately the Tyres just couldn’t keep up with the pace and we struggled with that all weekend.

“We were also loosing six or more car lengths down the straight because of the parity situation.”

“To maintain a 43 point lead in the championship is very much a positive. The racing was very close and competitive at Phillip Island but to still be in front is good.”

The next round of the championship will be held at South Australia’s Mallala Raceway, a happy hunting ground for the Sydney team and driver in the past.

“We will be looking to go back to Mallala and do what we did a few years ago –score pole, a lap record and win the round.” Holt said.

“Our Century 21 Real Estate Lancer is very strong there and I think that we will be competitive once again.”

The fifth round of the STS Turbo Australian Performance Car Championship will be held on September 15 – 17.