Brad RankinAfter taking the chequered flag in two-thirds of the races held so far on interstate race tracks, you can understand why the Queensland-based competitors in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series are salivating at the opportunity to perform on their home track at Morgan Park.

After all, representatives from Queensland have been in crushing form this season, winning every round with one particular driver holding a very handy – though not yet unassailable – point’s lead going into round 5 of the 6 round series.

Now able to have their own home round for the first time since the series formation two years ago, the ultra-strong Sunshine state GT3 Cup contingent will look to further their 2009 domination when the series heads to Warwick’s Morgan Park Raceway next week, racing with the Shannons Nationals.

Local drivers set to race at Morgan Park make up five of the top ten positions in the competition standings, topped by Gold Coaster Matthew Kingsley who has won the last three rounds held at Phillip Island, Mallala and more recently Eastern Creek.

Brisbane’s Roger Lago leads the 997 Trophy class ‘race within a race’ to further continue the Queensland monopoly.

Brisbane builder, Brad Rankin currently sits well inside the top ten after several strong runs behind the wheel of his Mdev Property Group Porsche 996 GT3 Cup Car and, after an ordinary Eastern Creek round by his own standards, is one local looking to use his local knowledge to his advantage.

Rankin has plenty of kilometres at Morgan Park in state-level race meetings and Porsche Club sprints and said that the circuit would prove unlike anything else the all-Porsche series had ever visited.

“You can’t compare it to anywhere the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge has ever raced,” Rankin said.

“It will be a completely new challenge which should make things very interesting. As a circuit it’s quite short, very technical and completely unique.

“Morgan Park is a very tight circuit that I think rewards a more aggressive driving style. You need to really hustle the car to get a quick lap time. Turn three, a left hand sweeper over a blind crest, is probably the one place where the most time can be found or lost during a lap so that will be a corner to watch. It’s the best part of the track for spectators too.

“The best passing opportunities would be turns four and six; however qualifying will be vital as it’s a hard track to overtake on, particularly with such evenly matched machinery.”

Whilst a majority of the Queensland contingent have had plenty of seat time at Morgan Park, those from the southern states will face a steep learning curve when they arrive into the city of approximately 13,000 people on the Thursday prior to the event.

The Warwick round will be critical to the hopes of several ‘southerners’ who need a strong weekend to keep in touch with those leading their respective classes.

In the outright GT3 Cup Challenge standings Melbournian Sven Burchartz lost further ground to Kingsley at Eastern Creek and will need a big weekend should he wish to defend his title at the 2009 season finale, to be held at Sandown in November.

In the 997 Trophy Class, strong recent form by South Australian Mark Krashos has lifted him to second place and the Adelaide pharmacist makes the long trek up through the Australian outback keen to close the gap to Roger Lago who has been Mr. Consistent in maintaining the class lead.

After completing its first race meeting in South Australia last year, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series has since visited Victoria (Phillip Island), New South Wales (Mt. Panorama, Oran Park and Eastern Creek) and Tasmania (Symmons Plains) with next week’s event the first ever in Queensland.

Morgan Park’s Shannons Nationals round will also be notable for the series continued efforts to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

This year almost $20,000 has been raised and it is hoped that a passenger ride day to be held at the circuit on Wednesday, August 5, will add another $10,000 to that total.

The money raised will go towards construction of a new Ronald McDonald House on the Gold Coast, which would help the children’s charity provide additional support to families of seriously ill children in South-Eastern Queensland, including Warwick.

Taking place next Wednesday afternoon, all rides are tax deductable, full safety equipment is provided and a barbeque lunch at the circuit is included.

For further details or to book a ride and get behind Ronald McDonald House Charities, please contact Alex Zylstra on 1300 855 956 or by Tuesday 4 August.

The Morgan Park round of the 2009 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series will be held on August 8-9.

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Photo by Dirk Klynsmith / GT3 Cup Challenge