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Category: Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia

Matt KingsleyMatt Kingsley has ensured that the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia Series status quo was maintained at Warwick’s Morgan Park Raceway, after a competitive weekend of racing saw him extend his already substantial series lead with one round to go.

The Action Tyres & More Porsche 996 GT3 Cup Car driver now heads defending title winner Sven Burchartz by 68 points after Queenslanders dominated proceedings on the all-Porsche series’ visit to the 2.2km circuit two hours inland from Brisbane.

The debut at Morgan Park by the GT3 Cup Challenge was judged a success with competitive racing, lap records and plenty of enjoyment from the racy grid entered this weekend.

Sven Burchartz finished second for the round whilst local Ray Angus scored his career first Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series round podium with a terrific third outright. Roger Lago, another of the local contingent, won the 997 Trophy Class round to further extend his class points lead.

“We came into this weekend hoping to build a comfortable buffer ahead of the final round,” Kingsley said on the podium.

“Having said that it’s not over yet. There’s still a lot of racing to go and as we all know in Motorsport anything can happen – and it usually does.

“It’s been a great weekend. We were able to put ourselves in a good position at the front which is so much easier than having to fight our way though the field like we have had to do at times this year. The car was absolutely perfect all weekend and when we had new tyres on in the second race we gave it a real go, as the times show.”

Burchartz’ consistent run this weekend keeps him in the championship hunt, whilst Ray Angus’ stunning performances have seen him close to within one race win of the top five outright.

“I’m over the moon,” beamed Angus.

“It’s a great feeling to come and race with great friends and great competition and I’ve had a terrific weekend. I’ve driven the car harder than I ever have and it’s very rewarding.”

After dominating yesterday Kingsley continued his strong form today, though Lago showed some fight with a stunning drive in race two, held earlier this morning.

The Falcon Property Group 997 GT3 Cup Car got a perfect start and then spent the next 12 laps fending off Kingsley. Pushing hard, both broke the lap record with Lago resetting his rival’s Saturday mark by a few tenths as he ran home the outright winner for the first time this season.

In race three normality was returned when Kingsley passed his weekend-long rival on lap two before streaking away to win the race comfortably.

After bolting new rear Michelin tyres on the car, the Southport (Gold Coast) local further re-set the GT3 Cup Challenge lap record leaving the benchmark – set or re-set three times this weekend – at 1m02.8414s.

Victorian Jeff Bobik had a consistent weekend behind the wheel of his Creative Colour 996 GT3 Cup car to finish the round fourth overall, his trouble-free weekend only threatened by a near-miss in race two when Bob Thorn spun his 997 GT3 in front of him on the first lap of the race.

Sydneysider Shane Smollen proved his round four pace at Eastern Creek was no fluke with fifth overall.

Teammates Terry Knight and Brad Rankin had weekends that didn’t quite live up to their lofty expectations, Knight enduring a spin and a near-miss in race two before recovering to finish the final race in seventh.

South Australian driver Mark Krashos was awarded the Racer Industries Sportsmanship round after making the long trek, solo, from Adelaide to compete at Morgan Park before enduring an horrific weekend with three DNFs.

Behind class winner Roger Lago, Bob Thorn and Jan Jinadasa completed the 997 Trophy Class Podium.

With one round to go there is plenty up for grabs aside from the second Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia Series title crown. The battle for third in the series, between Jeff Bobik and Terry Knight, sees the pair split by less than 40 points, whilst one slip up from second-placed Burchartz could see either driver snare second overall.

Meanwhile three drivers, from fifth-placed Bolinowsky to seventh Ray Angus, will fight to score the final top five position at the final round.

The final round of the 2009 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia Series will be held at Melbourne’s Sandown Raceway between November 28 – 29, with the Shannons Nationals.

Action from this weekend will be broadcast on SBS Speedweek at 1PM, next Sunday – be sure to check it out.

For more information head to www.gt3cupchallenge.com.au

Photo by Dirk Klynsmith / GT3 Cup Challenge

Matt KingsleyGold Coaster Matt Kingsley has taken the first ever Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia Series race at Warwick’s Morgan Park raceway as locals dominated the lap charts today.

Kingsley, the series leader and winner of the past three straight rounds, topped qualifying by setting the fastest ever lap for a Porsche GT3 Cup Car around the 2.1km Morgan Park circuit, and then went on to dominate race one held later in the afternoon.

Kingsley was slower away from the line and settled in behind fellow local ace Roger Lago for the opening lap before making his move mid way though lap two – slipping up the inside of the Falcon Property Porsche at turn four to immediately dispel the myth that passing would be impossible in the tight confines of the Warwick track.

From there the Action Tyres and More sponsored driver drove away to take yet another commanding victory in perfect, warm and sunny conditions.

“I just waited for the right moment and then made my move,” Kingsley said after the race.

“I could see that Roger was a bit slower across the hill at turn three and I was able to get by and control the race. It’s a good feeling because wins like this don’t happen that often – so you have to make the most of it!”

Lago was second, whilst Ray Angus was a career-best third after showing impressive form throughout the weekend prior to the race start.

Angus qualified third with a lap that was 1.5 seconds faster than his previous best ever lap and withheld concerted pressure from defending series winner Sven Burchartz for most of the race in a close dice for third to score his career best result.

The 1-2-3 result locked out the race one podium to non-Queenslanders proving that there’s nothing like local knowledge and experience at the technical Morgan Park circuit.

Jeff Bobik completed the top five, finishing ahead of a massive battle that included sixth-placed Bob Thorn, Shane Smollen and a dicing pair of Brad Rankin and Terry Knight. After qualifying sixth, Knight was left out in the dust at turn one on the opening lap and was forced to work his way through the field after that.

One driver failed to finish – Mark Krashos’ 997 GT3 Cup Car dropping its coolant on lap six which caused the South Australian driver to spin on his own fluids, though he managed to move his car out of harms way.

Phil Holzberger failed to start the ten-lapper after a clutch thrust bearing failed before qualifying.

That qualifying session was one of the most competitive of the year, with less than a second covering the top four and 1.5 seconds covering a majority of the grid.

Tomorrow will feature two, 12-lap races that will complete the penultimate round of the 2009 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia Series.

You can stay up to date with all the action from round five of the 2009 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series this weekend on www.gt3cupchallenge.com.au and also the Shannons Nationals live Twitter feed, updated regularly on www.thenationals.com.au

Action from this weekend will be broadcast on SBS Speedweek at 1PM, next Sunday – be sure to check it out.

Photo by Dirk Klynsmith / GT3 Cup Challenge

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 alex@gt3cupchallenge.com.au by Tuesday 4 August.

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

For more information head to www.gt3cupchallenge.com.au

Photo by Dirk Klynsmith / GT3 Cup Challenge

Shaun Juniper leadsShaun Juniper and overall series points leader Matthew Kingsley have shared the spoils in an abbreviated round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series completed today at Eastern Creek Raceway.

Only one race was held today at the Sydney track after a turn two, lap one crash eliminated four cars from race two Sunday morning – the race eventually being called due to event time constraints and the time taken to clear the vehicles from the circuit.

The crash – declared a racing incident – mainly involved Jeff Bobik, Jan Jinadasa and Graham Gorman with Terry Knight and Brad Rankin also caught up in the dramas, and continued the weekend’s action that began when John Trende hit the turn five wall during Saturday’s first race.

Race one winner Shaun Juniper was leading when the race was stopped behind the safety car after just one completed lap, drivers’ gridding up for race three in the positions they started the cancelled heat, for which no points were given.

The final race was a much cleaner affair, Juniper and Kingsley running in close quarters for each of the ten laps with the Juniper Racing 997 GT3 Cup Car holding out to take the outright win.

Kingsley finished second on the track and extended his outright lead in the series standings.

Mark Krashos, over from South Australia, finished third holding off a fast-finishing Sven Burchartz. 997-trophy leader Roger Lago was fifth ahead of his fellow 997 class runner Steve Kepper.

Behind them a ferocious dice was waged between Terry Knight and local ace Shane Smollen, whilst Ray Angus, Anthony Skinner and Phil Holzberger also staged an entertaining dice for the top ten finishing positions.

Action Tyres and More driver Matt Kingsley won the round – the fourth of 2009 – ahead of Burchartz and local surprise Shane Smollen, whilst Juniper’s convincing performances won him the 997 trophy ahead of Mark Krashos and Roger Lago.

Anthony Skinner – another of the local contingent – won class A.

Paul Bolinowsky – a podium finisher at Mallala recently – was an unfortunate non-starter this weekend. The local driver was forced to sit on the sidelines after his 996 GT3 Cup Car bent a valve earlier in the weekend.

Though reduced to two races – one of them with only four laps under green flag conditions – this weekend’s first visit by the GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series to Eastern Creek raceway produced an entertaining race and plenty of action, though some unfortunate incidents left some cars battered and bruised.

The series now heads for the historic first ever Shannons Nationals round at Morgan Park, near Warwick, in Queensland, on August 8 – 9.

The short and challenging Queensland circuit is the home track to nearly ten GT3 Cup Challenge competitors and a strong local contingent is assured when the series visits in three weeks.

For more information head to www.gt3cupchallenge.com.au

Photo: As he did in race one, Shaun Juniper (leading) led race three all the way to take another win. Kingsley was second. Image: by Dirk Klynsmith / GT3 Cup Challenge

Shaun JuniperThe Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge has proved just how much action one race can provide in just three laps of green-flag running today at Sydney’s Eastern Creek Raceway.

Championship leader Mat Kingsley stalled at the start of this afternoons 10-lap encounter, dropping to the back of the field and allowing fellow front-row starter Shaun Juniper (Juniper Property Group Type 997 GT3 Cup Car) to extend a substantial lead on the first lap.

Bob Thorne started third but was bottled up behind Kingsley as he stalled at the line, and he too slipped to the back of the pack.

As Kingsley began his charge though the field, Jon Trende had a substantial crash at turn five, impacting the wall hard with the right-front of his Berwick Insurance 996 GT3 Cup Car. The race was neutralized behind the safety car as medical teams attended to Trende, who although uninjured was taken to the medical centre for precautionary checks.

The race restarted with two laps remaining, Juniper extending a substantial lead on his first lap to eventually win by four seconds. Kingsley finished second after scything his way though from eighth position at the restart, whilst Sven Burchartz finished third in his Sonic Motor Racing 996 GT3 Cup car.

997 Trophy class frontrunner Mark Krashos continued his good run of form from his home round at Mallala recently to finish fourth, whilst Jeff Bobik finished fifth.

Bobik was one of the big movers though the field, despite the few competitive laps, leaping from an eleventh placed-qualifying effort to score his strong finish.

Brad Rankin moved from thirteenth on the grid to finish seventh, Terry Knight went from sixteenth to seventh whilst local driver Shane Smollen moved up three places to score a top-six finish on his series debut.

Earlier in qualifying, Kingsley and Juniper dominated the 20-minute session, the Action Tyres and More driver taking just four laps to take pole position. Shaun Juniper qualified second, but was just one-one hundredth of a second behind his fellow Queenslander.

On his series debut Bob Thorne qualified third in his 997 Trophy Class entry, ahead of Mark Krashos and teammates Sven Burchartz and Jon Trende.

Two races will conclude round four of the 2009 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series tomorrow, both 10-lap sprints.

For more information head to www.gt3cupchallenge.com.au

Photo: Shaun Juniper led the field today to win race one of the GT3 Cup Challenge at Eastern Creek. Photo by Dirk Klynsmith / GT3 Cup Challenge.

GT3 CupThe Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia Series will make its racing debut at Sydney’s Eastern Creek Raceway next week (July 17 – 19) with the points battle finely balanced at the front of the field.

A competitive 19-car Porsche Pack will head to the Western-Sydney circuit as Queenslander Matt Kingsley looks to firmly entrench himself at the top of the standings with another dominating performance.

Kinglsey, driving his distinctive blue, orange and black Action Tyres and More 996 GT3 Cup Car, dominated the most recent round at Mallala in South Australia and holds a 40-point lead over closest rival Sven Burchartz – a lead that could become almost insurmountable with another dominating performance in Sydney next week.

However, whilst Kingsley’s performance at the front of the field this year has been exceptional, it hasn’t stopped a group of keen protagonists lining up to try and beat the quietly spoken, laid back Gold Coaster.

In the outright stakes Burchartz has prior successful experience at the high-speed 3.9km track, whilst Terry Knight (McDonald’s / Porsche Centre Gold Coast), Jeff Bobik (Creative Colour) and Sydney driver Paul Bolinowsky (Bolin Racing) are all showing plenty of form.

Bolinowsky, from Linley Point in Sydney, is coming off the back of his first ever career GT3 Cup Challenge round podium at Mallala that lifted him to fourth in the championship standings.

WTF Motorsport driver Jon Trende could be another Eastern Creek dark horse after having surprised everyone by qualifying third at Mallala, though the Victorian’s race weekend didn’t quite go to plan after that.

Meanwhile the always-rapid Brad Rankin will return after a round on the sidelines behind the wheel of his regular, bright-green, Mdev Property Group 996 GT3 Cup Car.

A group of local drivers will also look to use home-town advantage to their benefit and upset the GT3 Cup applecart.

Travelplan-supported 996 GT3 Cup driver Anthony Skinner will return to the series for the first time since 2008, whilst series’ newcomers Shane Smollen, Indiran Padayachee and Bruce Hibbard will all make their respective GT3 Cup Challenge debuts.

Smollen, who hails from Lindfield, could be one to watch in his McGrath Lindfield 996 GT3 Cup Car after a strong ‘practice’ hit out last weekend during the NSW state series event, where he set times that should place him towards the front of the GT3 Cup Challenge pack.

Also making his series debut will be Bob Thorn, the well known former boss of SuperCheap Auto and a noted racer in V8 Supercars, amongst other categories, who will drive a 997 GT3 Cup Car.

Six cars make up the increasingly competitive 997 Trophy Class, which should have its most competitive round yet at Eastern Creek as its entrants look to mix it up with the outright series contenders – as well as vying for class points at the same time

Mark Krashos will make the 14-hour road trip from his Adelaide home fresh from scoring an outright pole position and race win at Mallala recently, his battles with Kingsley at the front of the field a highlight of the South Australian event.

Shaun Juniper – a winner at Phillip Island in May – will return to the series looking to pick up where he left off in Victoria.

Krashos and Juniper will be aiming to hunt down 997 Trophy points leader Roger Lago, whose Falcon Property Group 997 GT3 Cup Car has been the epitome of consistency this year and a standout performer as a newcomer to the ranks of Porsche racing.

Industrie-backed Victorian Steve Kepper returns to the track after showing plenty of pace at Phillip Island whilst fellow Victorian, rookie Jan Jinadasa, will continue his learning curve after a top-ten qualifying effort at Mallala.

Supported as always by McDonald’s, Michelin Tyres, Racer Industries, SMS Commander round four of the 2009 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series will feature three, 10-lap races as part of the Shannons Nationals’ round at Eastern Creek Raceway.

Championship Standings – after 3 of 6 rounds

Mat Kingsley 210
Sven Burchartz 168
Jeff Bobik 162
Paul Bolinowsky 134
Terry Knight 127

Photo by Phil Williams / GT3 Cup Challenge