Supercar stars battle in go karts


THE smart money could be on Jamie Whincup when the V8 supercar stars go head-to-head at the Gladstone Kart Club tomorrow.

Four races, featuring V8 supercar competitors Whincup, Steve Ellery, Will Davison, Garth Tander and Paul Weel, will be part of a full program of events, including a skydiving competition, to feature at tomorrow's APN Tsunami Appeal fundraiser.

Younger than his opponents this weekend, Whincup, who turns 22 on February 6, only left go-cart competition behind him a little over four years ago and still gets out to the track once a month.

'It's really good for your fitness and I find it helps your reflexes,' Whincup said yesterday.

'But I just hope it's a great day and everyone has fun.'

Whincup also wanted to make sure he didn't go into the race as favourite, pointing out that fellow V8 racer Garth Tander also had strong credentials.

"I haven't been to Gladstone before so I have no track knowledge unlike Garth who raced there in national titles in the late '90s so maybe he'll use that knowledge to his advantage.'

While he hoped it would be a fun day for spectators and competitors alike, Whincup stressed the importance of raising funds for victims of the Asian tsunami which struck on Boxing Day.

'It's a good opportunity to help the tsunami victims. I've been passing around the hat everywhere I've gone and raised about $500 but it will be good to do a little bit more,' Whincup said.

'I couldn't think of what it was like being in that type of situation and it's good that everyone has got behind (tomorrow's event) to help out.

'I think it's the responsibility of sportspeople to help and as a representative of the V8 series I was happy to do everything I can to help.'

A former Formula Ford rookie of the year, Whincup has had 17 supercar championship starts since his debut in 2002, his best finish coming when teaming up with Alex Davision to finish ninth in last year's Bathurst 1000.

With an improving Tasman Motorsport team behind him, he is aiming for bigger things in 2005.

A full program of kart events featuring many of Central Queensland's best drivers will also feature on the day with nominations closing at midday.

All competitors must be in the club grounds before the gates open to the public at midday.

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