ASTC: Calder Park Qualifying Report

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 8 CALDER PARK, VICTORIA: Qualifying Report, Saturday, August 28 Works Volvo driver Jim Richards today won pole position at Calder Park and closed to within 11 points of series leader Paul...

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 8 CALDER PARK, VICTORIA: Qualifying Report, Saturday, August 28

Works Volvo driver Jim Richards today won pole position at Calder Park and closed to within 11 points of series leader Paul Morris in their battle for the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship title.

Richards scored one crucial championship point when he emerged fastest in qualifying for tomorrow’s eighth and final round of the series. The six-times Bathurst 1000 champion clocked the best lap time of 59.29-secs on the 2km circuit in a front-drive Volvo S40 in cool and overcast conditions. For Richards, it was his sixth pole position of 1999 and the 16th of his career in the Super Touring category.

Morris could only manage the fifth fastest lap of 59.91-secs in his ex-works NEMO Racing BMW 320. The 31-year-old Gold Coast driver, whose car features a new $150,000 works engine from BMW Motorsport in Germany, will start from the third row of the grid as he chases his third title since 1995.

Defending champion Brad Jones will start alongside Richards on the front-row after qualifying second with 59.70-secs in an Audi Sport Australia A4. Jones spun during the session, but did not damage his car. Volvo team newcomer Cameron McLean assisted Richards’ title prospects when he qualified third, importantly ahead of Morris, while Jones’ Victorian team-mate Matthew Coleman was fourth.

The three races tomorrow will be over 14, 18, and 27 laps, and the final event includes a compulsory pit-stop for all cars to change two wheels. Morris leads the championship with 228 points, with Richards in second position on 217.

JIM RICHARDS (Volvo Racing S40): “My pole (position) lap was as fast as we could go. The championship point is valuable - it could make all the difference. Our car seems better in these cool conditions and it would suit us if the weather stays the same tomorrow. I don’t think we’re going to have any problems with tyres.”

PAUL MORRIS (NEMO Racing BMW 320): “I’m further back on the grid than usual, and it’s not going to be easy coming through from the third row. I’ll have to try and weave past the cars in front in the run to the first corner. We’re battling for front-end grip. We would like the weather to be warmer tomorrow because that’s when our car is at its best.”

CAMERON McLEAN (Volvo Racing S40): “This is the best front-wheel-drive car I’ve been in. We lost track-time over the past couple of days because of rain, so today was the first time I’ve been able to put a lot of laps together and get familiar with the car. My job is to help Volvo and Jim (Richards) win the championship, so it was important to qualify ahead of the BMW.”

QUALIFYING RESULTS (starting positions for race 1): POS DRIVER CAR TIME

1. Jim Richards (Vic)   Volvo Racing S40    59.29-secs
2. Brad Jones (NSW)   Audi Sport Australia A4   59.70
3. Cameron McLean (Qld)  Volvo Racing S40    59.85
4. Matthew Coleman (Vic)  Audi Sport Australia A4   59.86
5. Paul Morris (Qld)   NEMO Racing BMW 320   59.91
6. Dean Canto (NSW)   Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 60.52
7. John Henderson (NSW)  Henderson Racing Holden Vectra  60.58
8. Peter Hills (NSW)   Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 60.80
9. Mark Zonneveld (A.C.T.)  TC Motorsport Peugeot 405   61.33
10. David Auger (Qld)   Gun Racing Alfa Romeo   61.88
11. Anthony Robson (NSW)  Project Racing Honda Accord   62.17
12. Aaron McGill (NSW)   Trinovin Ford Mondeo   62.24
13. Milton Leslight (NSW)  All Auto Parts Toyota Carina   63.99
14. Luke Searle (NSW)   Roadchill-SAE College BMW 318  No time
15. Tony Newman (NZ)   TC Motorsport Peugeot 406   No time
16. Jim Cornish (NSW)   Visit Your Vet Nissan Primera  No time

Mike Porter mikep@qldnet.com.au

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Series General
Drivers Jim Richards , Brad Jones , Dean Canto , Paul Morris , Cameron McLean , Luke Searle , Aaron McGill , David Auger , Peter Hill , Anthony Robson