Tim Sugden and Jonathan Cocker took victory in round three of the British GT Championship at Mondello Park this afternoon (8 May), making it three different winners in as many races at the start of the 2004 season.

And, proving that a Porsche was the car to beat around the twisty Irish venue, Jonathan Rowland and Adam Sharpe took victory in the dailysportscar.com Cup class.

Polesitter Mike Jordan got a great start and led the field early on, before a safety car period meant that his hard work came undone. A gearbox problem just after the re-start failed to lighten the JWR team boss' mood, and meant his race was over.

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Jordan's misfortune gave youngster Cocker the lead, and the sometime Porsche Carrera Cup racer handed the advantage over to Sugden during the mandatory driver changes. However, what amounted to a huge lead for the former champion evaporated in the same way as Jordan's had early in the race, when the safety car was scrambled a second time for the damaged Eclipse TVR of Steve Hyde and Ferrari of Lourenco de Veiga to be moved to safety.

Confusion over who was leading then meant that the field was given the green flag while the safety car was still out on track, with the scorers reckoning that the second JWR Porsche of David and Godfrey Jones now led.

As the race got back underway, the silver-and-black machine held a 39-second lead over Sugden's similar Porsche, but a brilliant charge by the GruppeM Tech 9 man ensued, and he was able to pass the less experienced Jones with just two laps left to run.

"I didn't think I would be able to go as fast as that as the car was sliding around a lot," Sugden admitted, "but I just had to keep pushing right to the end. I seemed to catch the traffic in easier places than Godfrey did, which helped too. The team have done a brilliant job today."

The two Scuderia Ecosse Ferraris of Tim Mullen/Chris Niarchos and Nathan Kinch/Andrew Kirkaldy filled places three and four, with the RSR Racing TVR of Lawrence Tomlinson and Nigel Greensall rounding out the top five.

The dailysportscar.com Cup class went once again to Jonathan Rowland, this time with new team-mate Adam Sharpe co-driving instead of team boss Phil Hindley. Sharpe brought the car across the line after inheriting the lead when Barrie Whight spun his Lotus Elise at the head of the field.

"The car was really good through the race - but we nearly didn't make it to the grid, as we had to do some work on it after qualifying and almost didn't get finished," the victor revealed, "I then had to decide which way to go around the Lotus, as he was still moving when I got there - I thought I might hit him."

Simon Pullan and Fanny Duchateau drove a superb race to bring the Noble M12GTO3R home in second place, just ahead of Adam Wilcox and Ni Amorim in the DRM Ferrari 360.

The fan favourite Morgan claimed a welcome fourth in the hands of Keith Ahlers and Aaron Scott, with the luckless Lotus of Kershaw and Whight claiming an eventual fifth.

Race two of the Mondello double-header is scheduled to take place on Sunday (9 May).

Results - round three: Mondello Park

N-GT

1. Sugden/Cocker Porsche GT3-RSR 32 laps 1hr 01min 32.525secs
2. Jones/Jones Porsche GT3-RS 1hr 01min 37.396secs
3. Niarchos/Mullen Ferrari 360 Modena 1hr 01min 45.225secs
4. Kinch/Kirkaldy Ferrari 360 Modena 1hr 01min 47.593secs
5. Tomlinson/Greensall TVR T400R 1hr 02min 06.730secs
6. Cook/Cunningham Corvette C5R 1hr 02min 31.253secs

dailysportscar.com GT Cup

1. Rowland/Sharpe Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 32 laps 1hr 02min 52.973secs
2. Pullan/Duchateau Noble M12GTO3R 1hr 03min 15.108secs
3. Wilcox/Amorim Ferrari 360 1hr 03min 18.574secs
4. Ahlers/Scott Morgan Aero 8 1hr 03min 26.118secs
5. Kershaw/Whight Lotus Elise 31 laps
6. Broster/Mace Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 31 laps