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Jul 7, 2013

CHAMPION TO MAKE AMCHMAPS RETURN IN SYDNEY

ONE OF THE most decorated champions from the past three years of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals will return to the circuit at Sydney Motorsport Park this week.

Perth-based Stuart Kostera, a three-time Australian Manufacturers Championship (AMChamps) winner, will make his return to the series at the Sydney circuit alongside regular frontrunner, Dylan Thomas.

Kostera will drive familiar car, too – set to team with Thomas in his the CXC Global-sponsored Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X that was originally built by Kostera’s former team, the Allan Heaphy-led TMR Australia.

Kostera won three titles (2010, 11 and 2012) with TMR and had originally set to take this season off as TMR concentrated on supporting customer racing efforts.

However, with Thomas’ existing co-driver Ryan Simpson successfully moving to the Kumho V8 Touring Car series at Winton last month, Kostera firmed as a strong replacement that will result in the CXC team fronting with one of the strongest driver pairings on the grid.

The pair will tackle a field of production based cars in a three-hour enduro that concludes a monster fifth round of the 2013 Shannons Nationals on the July 12-14 weekend, the AMChamps race featuring alongside rounds of the Australian GT Championship, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, Radical Australia Cup, Swift Racing Series and Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship.

More than 120 cars will compete across the six classes in a massive weekend of racing.

“Stuart Kostera is a pretty handy replacement,” Team owner / driver Dylan Thomas said.

“With Ryan Simpson at the start of the year and with Stuart now, I think we have the best pairing on the grid. It’s all well and good to have one quick driver, but if the second driver isn’t doing the business then there isn’t much point.

“Stuart and I are very evenly matched and we’re hoping for a good weekend.

“My intention is purely to win; I have no intentions to come second and I think we have a combination that can allow us to do win races.”

To win, the Thomas / Kostera combination will have to beat local team Pro Duct Motorsport first – the experienced combination of Bob Pearson and two-time V8 Supercars / ATCC champion Glenn Seton having swept to the opening round of the championship at Phillip Island, in May.

The similarly locally-based and Mitsubishi-driving Eastern Creek Karting Raceway team of Garry Holt and Ryan McLeod should also offer a stern challenge on Holty’s home ground – his karting business based adjacent to the Sydney Motorsport Park layout.

The speedy BMW 1Ms of Beric Lynton / Tim Leahey and Tony Alford / Peter Leemhuis should also be well suited to the flowing corners in Sydney, as will the Class B 135i of Iain and Grant Sherrin – second outright to the Lancer at Phillip Island.

While the AMChamps cars battle the Sydney Motorsport Park round will also be something of a Sports Car showdown, with both the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Pirelli and Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli set for more Shannons Nationals action.

The GT battle is very much a case of ‘who can catch Jack LeBrocq’, after the current Formula Ford champion dominated proceedings at the series’ most recent round at Phillip Island.

The Erebus Motorsport SLS AMG driver will face challenges from several strong exotic brands, including reigning champion Klark Quinn (Porsche) and his father, stalwart Tony (Aston Martin Vantage GT3).

Lamborghini pilots Roger Lago and Justin McMillan and the Maranello Motorsport Ferrari squad of Peter Edwards and John Bowe are also likely contenders.

The 18-car GT Championship field also includes cars from Audi, Ginetta, Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Viper.

A stronger Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge field will race at Sydney Motorsport Park for the second time this season, having staged their own Porsche-only Rennsport event in May.

Speedy Victorian ace Richard Muscat has dominated proceedings of late and enters the series’ fourth round with a handy lead, though rivals like Michael Almond, Fraiser Ross, Phil Woodbury and Elite division driver John Goodacre should also challenge.

Whilst the GTs race in endurance mode with a pair of one-hour pit stop races, the Porsches will tackle three sprint races across Saturday and Sunday’s action.

Tickets for the fifth round of the 2013 Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals cost just $20 and will be available from the gate on race day – July 14.

Action commences with qualifying and initial races on Saturday.

Sunday’s action will be broadcast live and free on the internet via ‘Nationals TV’ – the series in-house live streaming product available via www.thenationals.com.au