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Tag: Brad Rankin

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

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.

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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.

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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.