Michael Patrizi enters this weekend’s Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia finale with confidence after topping times in Friday’s final practice session, while Elite Class ace Marc Cini and Guest driver Nick Foster also impressed.
Patrizi, who took round victory at Bathurst, posted the quickest time in Friday’s final practice session ahead of Sydney based Briton Ben Barker, series leader Craig Baird, Jonny Reid, Steven Richards, Daniel Gaunt and Max Twigg.
Baird topped the times earlier in the day in the opening practice session ahead of Gaunt, Richards, Reid, Barker, Patrizi and Twigg.
Baird entered the Sydney season finale with a lengthy 51 point leader over Gaunt in the Carrera Cup championship chase; something Patrizi suggests won’t slow the reigning champion Baird in his title defence.
“Today’s pace certainly gives me confidence going into tomorrow. I think I’ve got a little bit more pace left in me, but Baird is going to be strong this weekend. I don’t think the fact that he’s got to fight for a championship will mean anything; he’ll still be very hard to beat,” said Patrizi.
Meanwhile, Elite Class driver Cini showed that prior experience on the Sydney circuit was beneficial in the opening practice session, posting the second quickest time in the Elite Class with the eighth quickest outright lap.
“It’s good to have been here before back in 2009. I got into a rhythm, felt comfortable and the car was really good, so the lap times kept falling. It’s one of those tracks where you need rhythm, and if you get it, you’ll have a good run,” said Cini.
New addition to the Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia field, Nick Foster, took a conservative approach to Friday’s two practice sessions in his #60 Fujitsu ‘Cool’ Driver Program Porsche, with the 19-year-old finishing the day with an impressive eighth quickest time in the second session.
“I’m happy where we are at so far. I’m starting to be able to push the car a little bit more, so we’ll see what tomorrow holds,” said Foster.
“I thought by the end of today we would be ahead of some of the Elite Class drivers, but I didn’t think we would be this far up this soon. I’ll approach tomorrow the same way as we approached today: Go out there, go fast but keep the car off the walls.”
Since the past round at the Gold Coast, Jonny Reid has been deducted 15 championship points for causing contact between himself and Michael Patrizi at the Queensland event.
Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia will hold three races over the Sydney Telstra 500 event, which will be the seventh and final round of its 2011 season.