MINI Challenge

Stokell wins Race 1 at Wakefield Park MINI Challenge

MINI Challenge at Wakefield Park

Paul Stokell has brought home a one-two for the DecoRug Motorsport team in the first race of the second round of MINI CHALLENGE at Wakefield Park Raceway today, leading home team-mate Grant Denyer.

Stokell staved off an early charge from Melbourne racer, Nathan Geier (Split Image Project Management). Geier, who has been the revelation of MINI CHALLENGE to date, put in a solid performance until a small mistake at turn nine on the eighth lap cost him significantly.

That allowed Grant Denyer to close up, and a lap and a half later, he advanced into second when Geier ran wide.

Denyer had been involved in an early fight with Neil McFadyen (Scope Signs & Graphics). That lasted until the end of lap one, when the Seven Network personality dived late under brakes at turn one and got through, with minimal room to spare.

McFadyen had a lonely race in fourth, but was able to close up on Geier on the final lap. The success ballast of 25kg from his round one victory seemed to have some effect on the Sydney-based racer.

Starting on pole for tomorrow’s race two will be Gary Young (Salta Constructions) when the top six finishers from today are reversed. The Melbournite was involved in a race long battle with Perth’s Paul Fiore (Shell Helix Ultra), a superior start by Fiore proving decisive.

Missing the top six inversion was Iain Sherrin (Sherrin Rentals). Sherrin spent much of the race alone. He was kept busy in the dying stages, though, when a charging Shaun Cleary – the MOTOR Magazine journalist piloting the UBER-STAR CAR – closed right up to the Brisbane-based Managing Director.

Rounding out the top 10 was Todd Fiore (Shell Helix Ultra) and Michael Stillwell (Bib Stillwell MINI Garage). Damien Flack (Ultimax Chemicals) advanced to 11th following yesterday’s qualifying, with David Turner (Glory Constructions) – who was running well in the top 10 for much of the race, Darren Berry (Clipper Motor Yachts) and Kevin Miller (Motorline MINI Garage) rounding out the field.

An unlucky Ricky Occhipinti endured a clutch issue with the Formula Uno Motors racecar, unable to complete a flying lap, which the team are working furiously to rectify ahead of tomorrow’s two races.

Race winner, Stokell walked away impressed with his day’s work, but warned Geier loomed as a threat:

Paul Stokell (1st): “Nathan had me under a lot of pressure throughout the early part of the race. It was shaping up to be a good race between the two of us, but when he dropped back, I definitely breathed a sigh of relief! I got a good start, but Nathan was right in there behind me and was pushing. I’m happy with first, there are some quick guys I have to get past tomorrow though and it’s definitely not going to be easy.”

Nathan Geier (3rd): “I got a good start and was following Paul (Stokell), we were staying right there with him. The car got away from me at turn nine and I lost momentum, then Grant was able to capitalise and get through on me. All isn’t lost though, starting off row two tomorrow will be interesting.”

Gary Young (6th): “Paul (Fiore) beat me off the start, but once the race settled down, I thought I might have had something for him. Although I didn’t get past at any stage, it was close! When it was just past half race distance, I started thinking about my position and realized that I was in sixth. Then I began weighing up whether I should get past Paul or not! Seriously though, off pole will be fun, but I’ll have to be on my game to keep those blue cars (DecoRug) behind me!”

Image caption: DecoRug Motorsport’s Paul Stokell leads Nathan Geier (Split Image Project Management) into turn one at Wakefield Park on his way to winning today’s first race of MINI CHALLENGE.

MINI CHALLENGE Round 2, Race 1, Top 10:

  1. Paul Stokell
  2. Grant Denyer
  3. Nathan Geier
  4. Neil McFadyen
  5. Paul Fiore
  6. Gary Young
  7. Iain Sherrin
  8. Shaun Cleary
  9. Todd Fiore
  10. Michael Stillwell

Sunday April 6, 2008

  • Race Two (reverse top six finishers from race one): 9:30am
  • Race Three: 1:45pm

Editor’s note: Usually I would like to add a bit more to the official press release from MINI Australia, but given the immediacy required with these results I have simply posted up their material as it was supplied. Thanks to MINI Australia for keeping me in the loop, so that I can do likewise with AUSmotive readers.