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Barbagallo Day One Glory to Local Hope, Turner - (Australia)

May 12th, 2008



 

After a glittering launch of Glory Team Racing’s stunning new United Industries supported MINI CHALLENGE racecar, Perth’s David Turner scorched around the Barbagallo Raceway to set the fastest lap of the first two practice sessions in MINI CHALLENGE today.

The experienced campaigner set the fastest lap in the cool temperatures of this morning’s first practice, ending the session one-tenth in front of UBER-STAR CAR competitor, Leanne Tander, having her first MINI CHALLENGE experience this weekend.

Neil McFadyen (Scope Signs & Graphics) backed up his third quickest time from session one by setting quickest time in the second practice session.

Tander’s fellow UBER-STAR CAR pilot, former Wallabies winger, Ben Tune impressed in practice two. Having never driven on slick tyres previously, Tune finished just 2.4 seconds below the quickest time set by McFadyen.

Local driver, Nathan Callaghan (Calmack Smash Repairs) used his experience at Barbagallo to his advantage, electrifying the big Friday crowd by setting the third quickest time in the second practice session.

The other local hopes, Paul and Todd Fiore had a tentative start to their respective weekends, Todd getting the bragging rights around the Fiore dinner table tonight, finishing both sessions in fifth. Paul finished P1 sixth and the second session ninth.

A last minute addition to the field – Perth’s Jim Sweeney – finished 12th in session two and is still finding his feet with the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE racecar.

With many of the experienced drivers in MINI CHALLENGE having never visited Barbagallo in the past, most are still finding their feet around the abrasive race circuit, one of those being last round winner, Nathan Geier. Having switched to the Sherrin Rentals team and carrying an additional 25kg in success ballast due to his win at Wakefield Park, Geier finished the sessions seventh and 11th respectively.

Geier’s sparring partner from Wakefield Park, Paul Stokell (DecoRug Motorsport) was instantly on the pace, setting second quickest time in the first session. Stokell’s team-mate and Series leader, Grant Denyer had intermittent problems with his DecoRug Motorsport car, however the team is working overtime to have the car in tune for Qualifying tomorrow.

Former V8 Ute combatants, Gary Young and Damien White have performed solidly considering both are new to the circuit and in White’s case, the car.

Young is anticipated to have a strong following from fans of the Fremantle Dockers Football Club in WA, with whom he conducts strength and conditioning programs and match strategy whilst they are on the East Coast.

Session two was red-flagged with just a couple of minutes left remaining when Todd Wanless (Motorline MINI Garage) speared off the end of the circuit and heavily damaged the car. The Motorline team are currently assessing the damage and attempting to get Todd back on track before tomorrow’s qualifying and race one.

Tomorrow, competitors will be on track for qualifying at 9:05am before race one is conducted at 3:45pm.

Sunday’s second race will be broadcast live around Australia as part of the V8 Supercars telecast on the Seven Network. MINI CHALLENGE is expected to air from approximately 3:10pm. A post-produced highlights package will air on Saturday May 31.

DAVID TURNER (Fastest – Session One): “It’s not too bad for an old bloke! I feel as though I still have a bit left in me, I didn’t want to show the East Coasters the way around and have kept some in reserve for tomorrow’s qualifying. It’s a fantastic weekend for Glory Team Racing with the launch of our team to the Perth public last night and to be here on our home circuit with such a big support network is huge for all of us, I’m certainly aiming to keep the momentum flowing.”

NEIL McFADYEN (Fastest – Session Two): “You don’t win the weekend in practice. It’s nice to be back on top of the timesheets after the last round where we were a little off the pace. The M3 Motorsport team have worked tirelessly on the car and the new livery we have from Scope Signs & Graphics looks brilliant. I’m in an unusual position as compared to most of the regulars in that I have raced here in the past. I raced at Barbagallo in Formula Ford, so know the track. I think it will be a good weekend for us.”

BEN TUNE (Former Wallabies Winger): “The car was great to drive. I was a little nervous before I went out there, but once I was on track and the tyres warmed up, it was a lot of fun. The slick tyres were a different experience, but having never sat in the car previously, I think tomorrow for qualifying, I should be a lot more relaxed. The car was much faster than I thought it would be and handled brilliantly, so all in all it was a good day’s work.”

2008 MINI CHALLENGE CALENDAR:

Round 1: March 7-9 – Eastern Creek, Sydney, NSW (Round Winner: Neil McFadyen)

Round 2: April 4-6 – Wakefield Park, Goulburn, NSW* (Round Winner: Nathan Geier)

Round 3: May 9-11 – Barbagallo, Perth, WA

Round 4: June 7-9 – Sandown, Melbourne, Vic

Round 5: September 12-14 – Phillip Island, Vic

Round 6: October 9-12 – Mount Panorama, Bathurst, NSW

Round 7: November 21-23 – Symmons Plains, Tasmania

Round 8: December 4-7 – Oran Park, Sydney, NSW

*Denotes V8 Supercar Development Series round

MINI CHALLENGE POINTS STANDINGS (Top 10 – after 2 of 8 rounds):

1 Grant Denyer 306

2 Neil McFadyen 294

3 Nathan Geier 282

4 Paul Stokell 270

5 Paul Fiore 252

6 Gary Young 174

7 Dave Turner 144

8 Iain Sherrin 117

9 Todd Fiore 105

10 Michael Stillwell 81

TV SCHEDULE:

Round 3 – Barbagallo Raceway – LIVE TV: Race Two, Sunday, May 11 (Seven Network)

Round 3 Highlights: Saturday, May 31 – 1:30pm (Nationally) (Seven Network)


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