NEW CAR JUST THE TICKET FOR THORNTON

Thornton won both today's F5000 category races at Sydney Motorsport Park in his ex Stuart Lush McRae GM1 and reckons he couldn't be happier with his latest purchase.

"I'm over the moon, " he said after leading home fastest qualifier and Friday race winner Andrew Robson in the second of today's six-lap races at the Sydney Motorsport Park.

"I should have bought a Kiwi car years ago!"

Thornton owns several classic racing cars but was forced to look for a new MSC NZ F5000 series mount when the ex Peter Gethin Chevron B24 and ex Sam Posey Surtees TS8 he has previously raced here were badly damaged by fire earlier this year.

Both cars are being rebuilt but Thornton didn't want to rush the job so he bought the McRae, a car he is familiar with but only got to sit in for the first time on Thursday.

The GM1, designed and built by acclaimed New Zealand driver and car designer/constructor Graham McRae, has always been a popular choice amongst MSC NZ F5000 series drivers. And now that he has driven one Thornton says he understands why.

"It is very nimble, very responsive and talks to you as a driver in a way that other cars don't."

Though the weekend's races do not carry points for the 2012/13 MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series, the meeting attracted a 17-strong category entry with a fairly even split of drivers from Australia and New Zealand and the balance made up Thornton from Great Britain and Eric Haga and US-based Australian Bruce Lesson from the United States.

Top local driver Andrew Robson, driving the original ex Ken Smith Lola T332, was comfortably the quickest qualifier and went on to win the meeting's first F5000 category race on Friday from Thornton and giant-killing young Kiwi Alan Dunkley in one of the early high-wing Lola T140s, but Robson was forced to retire from the lead in the first of two races today (Saturday) with a flat rear tyre, meaning he had to start the second from P13 on the grid.

That he was able to work his way back up to second place behind Thornton in just six laps proved he had the pace, but to his credit Thornton set the fastest race lap, setting up a fascinating scenario for tomorrow's 12-lap F5000 category feature.

Behind Thornton and Robson the field was fairly evenly matched with young gun Dunkley duking it out for the final poridum place with Australian Paul Zazryn (Lola T332), expat Kiwi Chris Lambden (McRae GM1), and fellow Kiwis Ian Clements, Russell Greer (both Lola T332) and Stan Redmond (Lola T333CS).

Local category stalwart Aaron Lewis (Matich A50) was second quickest in qualifying but had throttle problems in the first two races. Eric Haga and Bruce Lesson also struggled with issues in the first two races but had them sorted for the third.

The crowd favourite though?

That had to be Alan Dunkley, the young Aucklander running where no Class A (for early model cars) have run before, despite damage caused by a spinning car on Thursday forcing he, his father Paul and a small group of helpers to miss the rest of the practice sessions as they repaired the nose cone and radiator.

Brushing aside the early setback Dunkley set the fourth quickest lap time in the qualifying session on Saturday morning before finishing third in the first race, runner-up to Thornton in the second and fifth in the third.

After this weekend's non-championship round in Sydney the MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Seires resumes in January at the two NZ Festival of Motor Racing - Denny Hulme meetings at Hampton Downs in January before heading south for the annual Skope Classic meeting at Christchurch's Powerbuilt Tools Raceway at Ruapuna Park in February.

The MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney's Specialized Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Avon Tyres and Exide.

Ends
Qualifying
1. Andrew Robson (Lola T332) 1:28.7553
2. Aaron Lewis (Matich A50) 1:31.1019
3. David Abbott (Lola T430) 1:31.6655
4. Alan Dunkley (Lola T140) 1:31.7864
5. Greg Thornton (McRae GM1)1:31.9738
6. Russell Greer (Lola T332) 1:32.2339
7. Ian Clements (Lola T332)1:32.7127
8. Chris Lambden (McRae GM1) 1:32.8759
9. Stan Redmond (Lola T333)1:33.3565
10. Bruce Leeson (McLaren M10B) 1:33.3621
11. Paul Zazryn (Lola T332) 1:33.3916
12. Bill Hemming (Elfin MR8) 1:36.1056
13. Lindsay O'Donnell (Begg FM5) 1:36.7656
14. Rod Carroll (Lola T140) 1:38.3343
15. Phil Mauger (McLaren M23 F1)1:39.5509
16. Eric Haga (Lola T190) 1:41.5843
17. Jay Bondini (Lola T332) 1:45.2756

Race 1 (Fri 6 laps)
1. Andrew Robson 9:08.9903

2. Greg Thornton 9:15.7314
3. Alan Dunkley 9:26.9447
4. Chris Lambden 9:30.4474
5. Paul Zazryn 9:30.6675
6. Russell Greer 9:31.9548
7. Ian Clements 9:33.5357
8. Bill Hemming 9:47.4462
9. Lindsay O'Donnell 9:48.6710
10. David Abbott 9:57.4721
11. Phil Mauger 9:59.5539
12. Rod Carroll 10:00.3112
13. Jay Bondini 10:25.1200
DNF. Eric Haga, Stan Redmond Aaron Lewis Bruce Leeson Fastest lap: Andrew Robson 1:30.1357*

Race 2 (Sat 6 laps)
1. Greg Thornton 9:16.5704
2. Alan Dunkley 9:20.5197
3. Chris Lambden 9:23.4111
4. Paul Zazryn 9:23.9656
5. Ian Clements 9:24.9776
6. Russell Greer 9:38.6667
7. Stan Redmond 9:38.8706
8. David Abbott 9:40.1687
9. Bill Hemming 9:47.4725
10. Rod Carroll 9:50.5962
11. Phil Mauger 9:58.6348
DNF. Aaron Lewis, Andrew Robson, Jay Bondini, Bruce Leeson, Eric Haga
Fastest lap Andrew Robson 1:30.8665

Race 3 (Sat 6 laps)
1. Greg Thornton 9:14.1892
2. Andrew Robson 9:23.2945
3. Paul Zazryn 9:26.3968
4. Chris Lambden 9:30.6910
5. Alan Dunkley 9:31.2898
6. Ian Clements 9:31.6323
7. Russell Greer 9:37.5090
8. Stan Redmond 9:37.8186
9. Aaron Lewis 9:39.9789
10. Bruce Leeson 9:43.8000
11. David Abbott 9:44.9173
12. Phil Mauger 9:48.5595
13. Bill Hemming 9:50.0953
14. Lindsay O'Donnell 9:50.3617
15. Eric Haga 10:34.1020
DNF Jay Bondini
Fastest lap: Greg Thornton 1:30.8805