ASTC: Mallala Race Report

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 3 MALLALA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Race Report, Sunday, May 30 MORRIS CLOSES POINTS GAP ON RICHARDS Queensland's Paul Morris closed to within 10 points of works Volvo driver Jim Richards in the...

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 3 MALLALA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Race Report, Sunday, May 30

MORRIS CLOSES POINTS GAP ON RICHARDS

Queensland's Paul Morris closed to within 10 points of works Volvo driver Jim Richards in the battle for the lead in this year's BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship after dominating the third round at Mallala today.

Morris, champion in 1995 and again two years later, won both races on the 2.6km Mallala circuit in an ex-works NEMO Racing BMW 320, with Richards finishing second in both events. The wins by Morris were his first in the championship at Mallala. They boosted his championship tally of victories to a record 27 since 1994. The 31-year-old Gold Coast driver also ended a six-race winning streak at Mallala by German manufacturer Audi since 1996.

Morris earned the maximum 32 points for his results at Mallala, while Richards scored 24. Richards, who led the championship by 18 points before the Mallala round, now holds first position with a tally of 79 points, while Morris is second on 69.

Defending champion Brad Jones of Albury is third in the championship on 48 points, followed by Audi Sport Australia team-mate Matthew Coleman of Victoria on 47. Coleman was third in both races at Mallala. Great Britain's Patrick Watts did not drive at Mallala and slipped from second to fifth in the championship with an unchanged tally of 40 points.

The first race over 15 laps was held on a wet track after rain fell minutes before the start. Morris led the 15-lap event from start to finish and took the chequered flag in 21-mins 7.07-secs, finishing 7.55-secs clear of Richards. Little separated the pair for most of the event until the final lap when Richards slid off the track. He was able to resume racing and finish second, followed by Coleman and Sydney policeman John Henderson, who was the leading Independents Cup driver. NSW's Mark Adderton had a disappointing race debut for the works Volvo team and failed to finish after driving off the track.

Morris won the second race over 26-laps in 30-mins 30.97-secs, and was 0.45-secs clear of Richards at the finish after another close battle. They were never separated by more than 1-secs throughout the race. Coleman was again third, followed by Jones, Sydney's Peter Hills, who was the top Independents Cup driver in his Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo, and Adderton.

The fourth round of the championship is at Winton in Victoria on June 20.

DRIVER QUOTES:

PAUL MORRIS (NEMO Racing BMW 320): "I needed these points to get back into the championship. Winning the run to the first corner in both races was a big help. The Volvo was in my mirrors all the time, but fortunately I didn't make too many mistakes and I was able to keep it behind. I'd never won at Mallala before, and I couldn't have picked a better time to break the drought!"

JIM RICHARDS (Volvo Racing S40): "The second race was a lot of fun - one of the best races I've had. The pressure was on all the way and it was a pretty wide BMW sometimes. I would have done the same thing if I was in that position. I could have got past a couple of times, but Paul (Morris) drove an inside line to keep me behind and I had to back off."

MATTHEW COLEMAN (Audi Sport Australia A4): "That's the first time I've been on the podium in both races (in one round) since I joined the championship this year so I'm pleased. At the sane time we still have some work to do to match the speed of the BMW and Volvos - we will have to keep chipping away at it and I'm sure we can start winning soon. The track was very slippery in the first race and it was a fine line between being competitive and keeping the car pointed in the right direction."

RESULTS - RACE 1 (16 laps): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) NEMO Racing BMW 320 21:07.03 2. Jim Richards (Vic) Volvo Racing S40 21:14.58 3. Matthew Coleman (Vic) Audi Sport Australia A4 21:23.00 4. John Henderson (NSW) Henderson Racing Holden Vectra 21:31.94 5. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 21:38.55 6. David Auger (Qld) Gun Racing Alfa Romeo 155 21:56.43 7. Brad Jones (NSW) Audi Sport Australia A4 21:59.15 8. Aaron McGill (NSW) Dux Water Ford Mondeo 22:09.60 9. Tony Newman (NSW) TC Motorsport Peugeot 406 22:09.94 10. Milton Leslight (NSW) All Auto Parts Toyota Carina 21:13.43 FASTEST LAP: Richards 1-min 17.83-secs

RESULTS - RACE 2 (25 laps): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) NEMO Racing BMW 320 30:30.97 2. Jim Richards (Vic) Volvo Racing S40 30:31.42 3. Matthew Coleman (Vic) Audi Sport Australia A4 30:36.91 4. Brad Jones (NW) Audi Sport Australia A4 30:38.16 5. Peter Hills (NSW) Team Mondeo Ford 30:46.93 6. Mark Adderton (NSW) Volvo Racing S40 30:53.20 7. Dean Canto (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 30:59.10 8. Tony Newman (NZ) TC Motorsport Peugeot 406 30:59.86 9. David Auger (Qld) Gun Racing Alfa Romeo 31:40.93 10. Jim Cornish (NSW) Project Racing Nissan Primera 31:46.35 FASTEST LAP: Morris 1-in 12.45-secs

DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 3): Richards 79, Morris 69, Jones 48, Coleman 47, Watts 40, Hills 35, Williamson 17, Henderson 15, Auger 12, Canto 11, Wall 8, Newman 5, Adderton 5, McGill 3, Townshend 3, Cornish 2, Robson 1, L. Searle 1, Leslight 1

MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 3): Volvo 90, Audi 72

TEAMS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 3): Audi Sport Australia 128, Volvo Racing 119, Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 67, Project Racing 42

INDEPENDENTS CUP CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 3): Hills 79, Watts 49, Henderson 39, Auger 42, Canto 32, Newman 24, Cornish 23, Wall 22, Robson 21, McGill 16, Leslight 14, L. Searle 11, Townshend 8, T. Searle 7, Rea 6, Stones 1

Mike Porter, mikep@qldnet.com.au

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Series General
Drivers Jim Richards , Brad Jones , Dean Canto , Paul Morris , Aaron McGill , David Auger , Peter Hill , Patrick Watts
Teams Williams