Graeme Cook sweeps Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia season opener on home turf
20/05/2008 at 1:33:04 AM:

South Australian driver Graeme Cook has helped usher in a new era for Porsche racing in Australia by winning all three races in the first round of the all-new Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge series, held in Adelaide at the weekend.

Cook, driving his #91 RACEMOVES / Containers in the City 996 GT3 RS, scored pole position and won all three races at his home circuit in a competitive first outing for the new series that kicked off with a strong debut field of 13 cars at Mallala Raceway.

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge was founded earlier this year with the stated aim of providing a place to race for Porsche enthusiasts who wish to step up from Club-level competition to a cost effective National Series with manufacturer support.

The field at Mallala featured cars racing in three classes, the parity ‘benchmark’ 996 GT3 Cup car making up the bulk of the grid, though Cook’s GT3 RS, the 996 GT3s of Graham Gorman and Anthony Skinner, Jordan Ormbsby’s 993-spec car and the classic 1978 3.8L RSR of South Australian Stuart Elshaw were also present and very much a factor.

The class format, matched with a parity system based on power to weight ratios, allows for a wide eligibility list – reflected in the Mallala grid.

Cooks’ impressive performance began when he withheld a charging pack of GT3 Cup cars in Saturday’s sole, 20-minute qualifying session to take pole position.

His 1m10.8892s lap was just 0.05s faster than fellow South Australian Mark Krashos, who was second, and just a few 10ths faster than third-placed Sven Burchartz (1m11.57s).

The top six cars in qualifying were covered by less than one second with four of the five South Australian drivers present featuring inside the top ten.

Cook led race one lights-to-flag, using his horsepower to slowly pull away from Krashos, Burchartz and Jon Trende in the first ten-lap race; eventually winning by a little under one second.

The leading four cars were never split by more than five or six seconds, making for an impressive battle for the lead for most of the race.

Wet conditions welcomed competitors to Sunday’s race two, all bar Krashos electing to start the race on wet tyres.

Cook was able to pull away in front to record a strong win, whilst Krashos (Glenelg East / Woodlakes Pharmacies 996 GT3 Cup Car) pitted on lap one after further showers ended any chance of the track drying during the 12-lap duration.

New South Wales driver Bill Pye (Auto Haus Hamilton 996 GT3 Cup Car) finished second after a race long duel with Burchartz (3rd), whilst Wollongong driver Anthony Kosseris (#77 Mr. Limousine 996 GT3 Cup Car) finished fourth after moving up from his 5th place finish in race one.

Jon Trende spun on the opening lap and slipped to the back of the field, recovering well to score 8th place, whilst a fine drive from Gold Coast Porsche Centre driver Terry Knight – who had worked his way from 8th on the grid to sit in 5th – ended in the turn seven sand trap just moments after taking the position.

Cook made it three from three by taking the final race of the weekend, leading home Burchartz and Kosseris.

Mark Krashos recovered from his race two non-finish by charging through the field to finish 4th, banking the races’ fastest lap in the process.

Cook won the weekend overall (90 Points), Sven Burchartz was second (69 points) and Anthony Kosseris (58 points) was third.

Anthony Skinner (#46 Travelplan 996 GT3) won Class A whilst South Aussie Jordan Ormsby (#6 Golf Car Solutions) won Class B.

”I’m very happy to have won the weekend; I’ve really enjoyed the racing,” round winner Graeme Cook said.

”The racing has been excellent and the camaraderie in the paddock really great. I can’t wait for Phillip Island.”

Series director Sven Burchartz – who also finished second overall – said that the initial round of the new series had exceeded his personal expectations.

”I’m a very, very satisfied man right now,” Burchartz enthused.

”The racing has been brilliant – close and fast but without any contact. If someone has the corner then people have been letting them go and trying to get back past in the next one. Everyone in the field are enthusiasts and whilst getting the ‘Tin Cup’ is always nice, we all want to take home straight race cars.

”The competitor feedback has been brilliant and there have been lots of smiling faces in the paddock. I’m very, very happy.”

The second round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge will be held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit between August 9 – 10.

The GT3 Cup Challenge is supported by Porsche cars Australia, Revolution Racegear and Michelin Tyres.

Action from the opening round of the championship can be viewed on SBS Speedweek on Sunday, May 24th, from 1:30 PM and on FOX Sports’ Inside Speed from 8:30PM on Wednesday, May 28th.

For more information about the series head to www.gt3cupchallenge.com.au
 
 
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