AMP BATHURST 1000 SUPER TOURING ENDURANCE RACE MOUNT PANORAMA, BATHURST: Qualifying Report, Thursday, October 1 JIM & STEVEN RICHARDS DOMINATE BATHURST Veteran driver Jim Richards and son Steven threaten to turn this Sunday's AMP Bathurst...
AMP BATHURST 1000 SUPER TOURING ENDURANCE RACE MOUNT PANORAMA, BATHURST: Qualifying Report, Thursday, October 1
JIM & STEVEN RICHARDS DOMINATE BATHURST
Veteran driver Jim Richards and son Steven threaten to turn this Sunday's AMP Bathurst 1000 Super Touring endurance motor race into a family battle after dominating today's opening two qualifying sessions.
Jim Richards, a five-times Bathurst 1000 champion, took advantage of fine conditions to qualify fastest with a lap of 2-mins 18.35-secs around the 6.2km Mount Panorama circuit in a works Volvo S40. The 51-year-old Melbourne-based New Zealander was followed by his 26-year-old son Steven Richards, who qualified second with 2-mins 18.46-secs in the factory Nissan Primera he is driving with Britain's Matthew Neal.
Steven Richards moved from Australia to England this year to take up a position as a works Nissan test driver. Jim Richards is driving at Bathurst with 1998 British Touring Car Champion Rickard Rydell.
The British combination of John Cleland and ex-Formula One driver Derek Warwick were third fastest in a Vauxhall Vectra, ahead of New Zealand's Greg Murphy and South Australian Russell Ingall in a Holden Vectra.
Brad Jones, the 1998 Australian Super Touring Champion, was second fastest in practice on Wednesday, but slipped to sixth in qualifying after his works Audi A4 quattro was baulked by slower cars. The team's other car, shared by Paul Morris and Paul Radisich, was off the track for much of the second session because of engine problems. Another top car forced out of the second session with engine problems was the Greenfield Mowers BMW 320 driven by Queenslanders Cameron McLean and Tony Scott.
JIM RICHARDS (Volvo S40 Racing): "Rickard (Rydell) did a race run in the first session to test tyres and fuel consumption. On my best lap I had to slow because another car was across the track in front of me, so the Volvo is capable of a better time than I did. I think Steven (Richards) has an excellent chance of winning when you consider the Nissans were the main opposition against the Volvos in Britain this year."
STEVEN RICHARDS (Team Dynamics Nissan Primera): "I did my quickest lap at the end of the first session on a new set of tyres. We wanted to see what time the car was capable of. We've made some small adjustments to the car and everything has had a positive result. I think we're capable of qualifying on the front row."
PAUL MORRIS (ORIX Audi A4 quattro): "I missed a gear and over-revved the engine on Conrod Straight. The car started to lose power so I pulled in. Apart from that I'm enjoying the chance to drive the Audi. It's very good under brakes, but not so different to the BMW I've raced the last few years."
CAMERON McLEAN (Greenfield Mowers BMW 320): "We're happy to be in the top 10. Most of the (lap) times were slower today and that's because it was hotter. Conditions will keep changing. We're still not sure what caused the engine problem in the second session when Tony (Scott) was driving the car." QUALIFYING TIMES (Thursday): POS DRIVERS CAR TIME
1. J. Richards (Vic)-R. Rydell (Sweden) Volvo S40 Racing 2:18.34 2. S. Richards (Vic)-M. Neal (GB) Team Dynamics Nissan Primera 2:18.46 3. J. Cleland (GB)-D. Warwick (GB) 888 Racing Vauxhall Vectra 2:18.84 4. G. Murphy (NZ)-R. Ingall (SA) 888 Racing Holden Vectra 2:19.11 5. T. Harvey (GB)-J. Nilsson (Sweden) Volvo S40 Racing 2:19.49 6. B. Jones (NSW)-C. McConville (Vic) ORIX Audi A4 quattro 2:19.77 7. P. Morris (Qld)-P. Radisich (NZ) ORIX Audi A4 quattro 2:20.36 8. R. Gravett (GB)-L. Brookes (GB) Brookes Motorsport Honda Accord 2:21.68 9. C. McLean (Qld)-T. Scott (Qld) Greenfield Mowers BMW 320 2:22.42 10. P. Hills (NSW)-D. Beninca (NSW) Knight Racing Ford Mondeo 2:25.28