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Mar 28, 2015

V8 GRADUATES SET PACE AT SANDOWN

V8 graduates Ryan Simpson and Geoff Emery have quickly adapted to the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, taking the top two times of official practice at Sandown for the opening round of the 2015 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli series, while Jaxon Evans topped Class B.

Simpson, who moved from the V8 Touring Car Series, topped the times with a lap of 1:11.5126, half a second quicker than the next best time of former V8 Supercars Development Series regular Emery. In doing so, Simpson and Emery also headed their respective and newly re-established Professional and Elite Classes.

Simpson was pleased with his initial pace and looks forward to a strong season ahead.

"I haven't been to Sandown in the Porsche to test but there are definitely a few tweaks to be made to get the balance right. We're working on getting the balance right to make it more friendly to drive," said Simpson.

"Driving the Porsche is certainly something different and I like a little challenge here and there; it's a really fun car. We've got a strong field of 22 cars here this weekend and it will be a very competitive season. I'm looking forward to it."

The reigning series runner-up Jon McCorkindale posted the third quickest time from Elite Class quartet Tim Miles, John Karytinos, Scott Taylor, John Goodacre.

Former Aussie Racing Cars ace James Abela was eighth quickest from Jed Wallis, Simon Ellingham, Jono Taylor, Dylan O'Keefe and returning Elite Class racers Sam Shahin and Ross McGregor.

Class B was headed by young gun Jaxon Evans from Elite Class driver David Ryan and the remaining Class B racers Aaron Seton, Nick Cresswell, Brian Finn, Shane Barwood, Michael Tsigeridis and debutant Jim Campbell.

The Porsche series not only has strong racing talent on track, it also has high profile racers working behind the scenes. The 2015 Porsche Carrera Cup champion and runner-up, Steven Richards and Warren Luff, are both working as driver coaches for Porsche racers while Fraser Ross (2014 GT3 Cup Challenge champion), Matt Campbell (2014 GT3 Cup Challenge Class B champion) and reigning Australian GT champion Richard Muscat are all providing tuition at the opening round. Five-time Carrera Cup champion Craig Baird is also the series’ Driving Standards Adviser for the season.

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli will hold its qualifying and opening race on Saturday followed by race two and race three on Sunday.

Results - Official Practice
1. Ryan Simpson (Professional) 1:11.5126*
2. Geoff Emery (Elite) 01:12.0 (-00:00.5)
3. Jon McCorkindale (Professional) 01:12.5 (-00:00.9)
4. Tim Miles (Elite) 01:12.5 (-00:01.0)
5. John Karytinos (Elite) 01:12.6 (-00:01.1)
6. Scott Taylor (Elite) 01:12.7 (-00:01.2)
7. John Goodacre (Elite) 01:12.7 (-00:01.2)
8. James Abela (Professional) 01:12.8 (-00:01.3)
9. Jed Wallis (Elite) 01:13.1 (-00:01.6)
10. Simon Ellingham (Professional) 01:13.2 (-00:01.7)
11. Jono Taylor (Professional) 01:13.3 (-00:01.8)
12. Dylan O'Keefe (Professional) 01:13.4 (-00:01.9)
13. Sam Shahin (Elite) 01:13.5 (-00:01.9)
14. Ross McGregor (Elite) 01:13.5 (-00:02.0)
15. Jaxon Evans (Class B) 01:13.5 (-00:02.0)
16. David Ryan (Elite) 01:13.9 (-00:02.4)
17. Aaron Seton (Class B) 01:14.0 (-00:02.4)
18. Nick Cresswell (Class B) 01:15.8 (-00:04.2)
19. Brian Finn (Class B) 01:15.8 (-00:04.3)
20. Shane Barwood (Class B) 01:17.8 (-00:06.3)
21. Michael Tsigeridis (Class B) 01:18.4 (-00:06.9)
22. James Campbell (Class B) 01:19.2 (-00:07.7)