Best of the best shoot for Nationals Glory at Phillip Island
7/08/2007 at 6:56:56 AM:

Quality is the byword when referring to this weekend’s sixth round of the 2007 Shannons Nationals, when the series returns to the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit in Victoria for the second time this season.

The most competitive fields yet assembled this season in both the Australian GT Championship and the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship headline a program featuring six of the very best Nationals categories.

The multimillion dollar GT field will be expanded and enhanced by some new metal and new stars at Phillip Island.

Dane Allan Simonsen – the championship leader – will get his hands on a brand new Ferrari F430 whilst John Bowe will join Ian Palmer and Bryce Washington in the Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 Ranks, a third car recently arrived in the country for the V8 Supercar star.

Adding some spice to the leading battle will be one of Bowe’s V8 rivals, Will Davison making his championship debut behind the wheel of an Aston Martin DBRS9. David Wall (Porsche GT3 RS) and Simon Middleton (Porsche RSR) also look to be front runners.

At the other end of the racing spectrum will be a intensely competitive battle within the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship.

As if a three-way championship battle between Charlie Hollings, Tim Macrow and Leanne Tander wasn’t enough, experienced competitors Ian Dyk, Barton Mawer and Chris Gilmour will throw their names into the ring during the high-speed Island F3 battle.

That super six will be joined by Marco Mapelli, James Winslow, Mathew Radisich and a group of other hopefuls in the battle for Australia’s highest Open Wheel honour – the Australian Drivers Championship.

A one point fight for the Empire Trade Exchange Commodore Cup series will be the focal point of a deep 20-car field entered for the fifth round of the one-make Holden championship.

Experienced campaigner Geoff Emery leads hotshot youngster Daniel Richert by the sole point after becoming the first driver to win multiple rounds this season after a win at Eastern Creek in July.

A two-way tie for third, between Geoff Fontaine and Michael Graham – with a hard charging Brett Holdsworth hot on their heels – looks to also ensure the stakes are high at the weekend.

BMW driver Garry Holt will look to consolidate his lead in the Shannons Australian Production Car Championship with another strong performance at Phillip Island, however he’ll have to hold off a pack of rampant Holdens before he can claim victory.

Both Leigh Mertens (Super Production Class HSV) and Steve Briffa (A-Class Commodore SS) challenged Holt at Eastern Creek and should be able to use the horsepower-friendly 4.48km circuit to further their advantage this weekend.

The usual big field of competitors in the Supaloc Australian Saloon Car Championship will return to do battle, most of the field looking to find away to stop the rampant Bruce Heinrich.

The 2006-champion is riding a wave of form at the moment and has won five of the last six races. He now leads the championship and it looks to be up to his nearest pursuer, Kris Walton, to challenge him in his quest for back-to-back titles in the Holden vs. Ford battle.

As usual the biggest field of the weekend will be provided by the HQ Holdens, with 26 of the 3.3-litre six-cylinder HQs entered for the continuation of the HQRA National Challenge.

Racing gets underway on Saturday, August 11th whilst a full day of racing across six categories gets underway just after 9am Sunday, August 12th.

Tickets cost $25 for a two day pass or $15 for a two-day concession pass. Kids under 16 will be admitted free.

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