Commodore Cup Graduates Conquer Sandown
6/06/2008 at 4:30:02 AM:

The Commodore Cup national series will be represented this weekend in Round Five of the 2008 V8 Supercar Championship at Sandown by a total of six former Commodore Cup racers. Marcus Zukanovic, Geoff Emery, Tony Bates, Paul Dumbrell, Brett and Lee Holdsworth will all race this weekend in either the V8 Supercar Championship or the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series.

Five-time Commodore Cup champion Geoff Emery is looking to move further up the Fujitsu Series pecking-order this weekend, after he and his team-mate Tony Bates took a plunge at the beginning of the season by upgrading their Commodore Cup team, TAG Motorsport, to a Fujitsu Series team. Emery and Bates both showed plenty of potential at Wakefield Park and had a productive test at Winton last week, and will be aiming to finish in the top-10 or 15.

The 2006 Commodore Cup champion, Marcus Zukanovic, has had a consistent start to the season in his ex-Garth Tander Commodore. The collapse of his major sponsor, Opes Prime, in April was a setback, but Zukanovic and his team have the talent and resources to recover. Zukanovic will be aiming for his maiden Fujitsu Series podium-finish at Sandown.

Brett Holdsworth is another driver to have graduated from Commodore Cup to the Fujitsu Series this season, and like Emery and Bates, is taking time to learn the handling characteristics of a V8 Supercar. However, Holdsworth has a huge advantage in being able to tap into the knowledge of his V8 Supercar round-winning brother Lee Holdsworth, who is also a former Commodore Cup racer. Lee will be aiming for a top-five finish after a disastrous previous round at Barbagallo.

Paul Dumbrell is the least recent of the Commodore Cup graduates, last contesting the national series in 1998. Dumbrell has had some strong qualifying performances in his Autobarn HSV Dealer Team Commodore this season, but incidents in the races have left him a lowly 23rd on the points-table.

Nevertheless, the strong representation from former Commodore Cup drivers is a clear indication that the Commodore Cup national series is continuing its growth as one of the most affordable feeder categories into the premier levels of Australian motorsport.
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