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Dual Production Car Champion Stuart Kostera will be striving for a hat-trick in 2012 by winning this year’s expanded Australian Manufacturers Championship, incorporating the Australian Endurance Championship, starting with round one this weekend.

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The first of six rounds is at Eastern Creek on the Shannons Nationals program and this year there is an addition round over the 2011 calendar. The round will be contested over two one-hour races on the Sydney circuit’s regular layout with the ensuing rounds on a variety of tracks and over various distances and will include twin 200 kilometre races and six and eight hour endurance events.

Kostera will again be at the helm of an all-conquering Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Lancer Evo X but he can expect the opposition to be much tougher this year. In the Class A Extreme Performance ranks Jim Pollicina is also entered in a TMR Evo X while the Evo 9s of Des Wall and Dylan and Dave Thomas have shown they can lap just as fast. Then there is Cam Wilson in the refreshed Subaru Impreza with some factory support.

Class B High Performance will be a three-way tussle between the BMWs of Peter O’Donnell in the proven 335i and the potent 135i of Grant Sherrin . . . plus the powerful HSV Clubsport of Steve Briffa making a welcome return. Meanwhile Class C Performance Touring is an all-Mazda affair with the Mazda 3 MPS team cars of Colin Osborne and Adam Dodd out to beat the class favourite Jake Camilleri in the newer model.

While Class E Compact Touring and Class I Mini Cup have single entries this time out for Grant Phillips (Proton Satria) and David Sherrin (Mini Cooper JCW) respectively, Class D Production Touring features six cars which are all of them capable of winning. Three Honda Integras (Steve Williams, Mark Eddy/Francois Jouy and Geoff Rands) will battle against a Renault Clio (Richard Gartner), a Mini Cooper S (Trevor Keene) and reigning class champs, Matt McGill and Geoff Brunsdon, sharing a Toyota Celica.

After practice outings on Friday and Saturday morning, there will be a single qualifying session at 1.15pm on Saturday March 10 with the first of two one-hour races scheduled to begin at 3.45pm. The second one-hour event is at 1.00pm on Sunday March 11.

All that action can be seen on Speedweek, screening at a time to be advised on both SBS and Speed TV on Fox. There is live streaming on ITVlive.com.au with updates on Facebook and Twitter (@2011_AMC) across the weekend.

AUSTRALIAN MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND ONE ENTRY

Class A – Extreme Performance

1    TMR Performance        Stuart Kostera (Vic)        Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10RS
7    Poll Perf/McDonalds    Jim Pollicina (NSW)        Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10RS
25    Go Karting Gold Coast    Cam Wilson (Qld)        Subaru Impreza WRX STI
38    Easts Holiday Parks    Des Wall (NSW)            Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GSR
68    CXC Global        Dylan Thomas (NSW)/David Thomas    Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9

Class B – High Performance
8    Briffa Smash/Holden MS    Steve Briffa (NSW)        HSV VE Clubsport R8
19    Sherrin Rentals        Grant Sherrin (Qld)        BMW 135i
28    GWS Personnel        Peter O'Donnell (NSW)        BMW 335i

Class C – Performance Touring
13    Osborne Motorsport    Colin Osborne (NSW)        Mazda 3 MPS
31    Osborne Motorsport    Adam Dodd (NSW)            Mazda 3 MPS
36    Grand Prix Mazda    Jake Camilleri (Qld)        Mazda 3 MPS

Class D – Production Touring
50    MidWest Multimedia    Trevor Keene (NSW)        Mini Cooper S
21    Disc Brakes Australia    Steven Williams (NSW)        Honda Integra S
51    Dentbuster        Mark Eddy (Vic)/ Francois Jouy (NSW)Honda Integra S
75    Weldmaster/Crown & MarksMatthew McGill (NSW)/ Geoff Brunsdon (NSW)Toyota Celica
97    Safe T Stop        Richard Gartner (NSW)        Renault Clio
TBA    concretereclaimer.com.auGeoff Rands (NSW)        Honda Integra R

Class E – Compact Touring
77    Pedders Racing        Grant Phillips (Vic)        Proton Satria GTi

Class I – Mini Cup
72    Sherrin Rentals        David Sherrin (Qld)        Mini Cooper JCW