AUS: Series Sandown preview
TITLE CONTENDERS READY FOR PORSCHE SANDOWN SHOWDOWN THE MOST OPEN title fight in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia Series Presented by Mission Foods history has the Porsche fraternity talking ahead of this weekend's season finale' at Sandown ...
TITLE CONTENDERS READY FOR PORSCHE SANDOWN SHOWDOWN
THE MOST OPEN title fight in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia Series Presented by Mission Foods history has the Porsche fraternity talking ahead of this weekend's season finale' at Sandown Raceway.
After five rounds contested from Bathurst to Eastern Creek, Morgan Park to Mallala and even a quick trip to Tasmania, just 22 points separate the in form Roger Lago from defending champion Matt Kingsley.
Lago clawed back his fellow Queenslander's lead at Eastern Creek in September, positioning himself for a run at the title after Kingsley's streak of nine consecutive race wins came to an inauspicious end.
Meanwhile, a 19-car field hungry to end the year on the best possible note will be out to make as much trouble as possible for the title contenders as they seek race wins of their own.
Of the pair battling for the title, the Action Tyres-sponsored, 996 GT3 Cup Car driving Matt Kingsley is perhaps best positioned to make the most of the Sandown weekend, with a small points buffer giving him some breathing room in his quest for back-to-back titles.
"I'm pretty relaxed and feeling good about the weekend," Kingsley said.
"I've got a bit of a buffer and that places the pressure on Roger to get to the pointy end. I can potter around and enjoy myself. That will take the pressure off me and transfer squarely on Roger's shoulders so it's up to him!"
Kingsley battled long-time rival Sven Burchartz for the GT3 Cup Challenge crown last year and believes the experience learned in that fight places him in a good position for the bout with Lago, despite this year having a substantially smaller margin to his rival.
"Being in the same position again helps, I've done it all before," he explained.
"In 2009 I didn't have any experience to draw on and there was a lot of pressure, to the point where it almost went wrong for us.
"I can draw on that this year and to be honest I'm completely relaxed. The car is perfect and we're ready."
Despite performing better than ever, fellow Queenslander Lago is playing down his title hopes', having only ever been a spectator at Melbourne's high-speed and demanding Sandown Raceway prior to this weekend.
The Lago Coldstores / Falcon Property Group 997 GT3 Cup Car driver says he's going to take the weekend 'as it comes'.
"I've not been there so I want to go out and learn the track as quickly as possible and see how things go from there," he said.
"Matt is probably in the better position to dictate the terms but I'm going there to do my best. Looking at last year's results showed that Matt had some issues and the 997 car was the one to have, so that does give me some confidence that we're in the right machinery.
"The Victorians, like Burchartz, Trende and Bobik, will all be pretty keen to knock me off on their home turf so it's probably going to be a pretty competitive weekend.
"I copped a lot of flak from everyone after talking up my chances at Morgan Park earlier this year, so I'm playing this one down!"
The 19-car field is one of the most competitive of the season, with a host of drivers reaching peak form as the season comes to a close.
Former champion Sven Burchartz won his first race of the year at Eastern Creek recently whilst Jon Trende continued to show his speed in the second car from Melbourne's renowned Sonic Motor Racing workshop.
Defending round winner Jeff Bobik will be another looking to end his season strongly, the Creative Colour 997 GT3 Cup Car driver having gone winless this season after winning at least one round in each of the last two years.
The battle for third in the series standings is just as intense as the one for first, with less than 40 points covering Bobik (3rd), Burchartz (4th) and 996 class frontrunner Terry Knight, an outstanding 5th.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia Series Presented by Mission Foods is proudly supported by Mission Foods, Michelin Tyres, Racer Industries, Performance Friction Brakes and Xtreme Industries.
The final round will be contested alongside the finale of the Shannons Nationals at Sandown this weekend, October 23-24, with Sunday's racing streamed live on the internet.
EU-GT4: Series Magny Cours summary
Asia: Lamborghini Autopolis summary