MONDAY 30 MARCH 2009
LIKE A DUCK TO WATER AROUND THE PARK
Having had to sit out this years opening round of the Australian GT Championship because of a silly rule suddenly introduced about limiting the number of seeded drivers to three, Allan Simonsen could bear it no longer.

With the demise of the Carrera Cup Champioship there had been a huge push to get some of the refugees into OZ GT.
It was amusing that up until now the Porsche 997 was ineligible. Suddenly it was.
Funny how politics can make a car valid!

And so when the circus moved from Clipsal 500 land to the Formula 1 GP opener at Melbourne's Albert Park circuit, Allan was getting very uppity.

"I can't be coming here and not driving at all. It's just not right. We have to do something. Find me a drive!" he pleaded to me, his trusty PR hack, who was suddeny going to pluck a car out of thin air.


So I had a think to myself. What can we put Allan in, at short notice, that will give him some fresh experience and be fun at the same time. It wasn't that hard to see the best option – an Aussie Racing Car – a very well sorted pocket rocket category with potent 1200cc Yamaha engines and a squential shifter. Big fields, four wide in corners and late braking.
I got the series boss on the phone – Phil Ward – and he was delighted to have Allan interested in the category.

A deal was struck and there was Allan, circulating Albert Park.

Within 8 laps of Simonsen was 2nd (!) fastest which goes a long way to show just how versatile a driver he is – one who can exploit the limits of adhesion very quickly.

He would go on to qualify 4th out of 31 cars surrounded by regular series race winners.

Simonsen did not put a wheel wrong all weekend with a 5th in race 1, a 3rd in R2 and 5th in the final setting the fastest lap by 0.3 seconds
In between races, Allan had been helping his unseeded Coopers Racing substitute, Nick O'Halloran, come to grips with the Ferrari 430 GT3 in OZ GT. That's obviously where the frustration had stemmed from!

"I'd like to thank Phil Ward for the opportunity to sample an Aussie Racing Car. It was a neat experience for sure. Also to Unique Cars for helping to sweeten the deal. I'll definitely have another go!"