Darkness doesn't stop Richards in Queensland opener Marshall and Fitzgerald round out podium positions in first race Fading light at Queensland Raceway wasn't enough to stop Jim Richards from claiming victory in today's first race of round five...
Darkness doesn't stop Richards in Queensland opener
Marshall and Fitzgerald round out podium positions in first race
Fading light at Queensland Raceway wasn't enough to stop Jim Richards from claiming victory in today's first race of round five of the Carrera Cup.
The 55-year-old, who started from pole position, led from the beginning of the 14-lap event, and finished strong 1.8-seconds clear of VIP Pet Foods driver Marcus Marshall. The win gives Richards a 69-point advantage over Marshall in the championship pointscore.
"The sun wasn't that bad," said Richards, who will start from pole in race two at 10.00am tomorrow.
"I had dark sunglasses on, but overall it wasn't too bad. I looked in the mirror in the closing stages and backed off a little to conserve the tyres."
Marshall, who started third, overcame all sorts of clutch problems in practice and qualifying to pass Peter Fitzgerald on lap four and hold out the Victorian's ENJO car to take second.
The 25-year-old Queenslander passed Fitzgerald on the first lap though ran wide at turn three due to rear brake pads that were brand new and didn't have maximum stopping capability at the beginning of the race.
"I tried to pressure Jim once I got past Fitzy but we're on the front row for tomorrow's first race, so I'm happy with that after the weekend that we've had."
Fitzgerald was a consistent third, pressuring Marshall for the majority of the race, though unable to find a way past his rival.
"I could have had a go at him but the cars are so very even," he said.
"I left too big a hole and let him get past but we raced the whole race without a touch and that's what I like to see. We need to dial out some late race understeer for tomorrow, but we're pleased about being up front."
Tim Leahey ran a lonely race to take fourth spot for Greg Murphy Racing, while Kiwi Kevin Bell took fifth spot despite major concerns over the brakes in his #86 GTech Bellmor car.
"The pedal was hard as a rock!" exclaimed the Christchurch resident.
"It came right in the last few laps but I was a bit hesitant to push the car too hard. I don't know what the problem was."
He passed Matt Coleman for fifth position on lap two when the Victorian missed a gear in his #62 Fuchs-backed car, which left Coleman struggling to regain his rhythm. Coleman finished sixth.
"I just lost a bit of momentum when Bell got past me," said Coleman.
"We changed the car so it would suit warm conditions, but of course by the time the race had started the sun had gone down and we were almost racing in the dark! So that made our change the wrong one for the conditions."
Rodney Jane continued his strong weekend by taking seventh spot in the #7 Bob Jane T-Marts car, clear of Carrera Cup debutante Charlie O'Brien, who enjoyed a great dice with International Motorsport NZ team-mate Paul Pedersen.
Pedersen was delayed when he ran off the road, and wound up 10th behind O'Brien and 19-year-old Jonathon Webb.
Plenty of drivers made strong ground today, Dean Grant moving his Becks car up three spots to finish 12th. Kiwi Andrew Bagnall picked up four spots to finish 16th.
Retirements from the event were Tony Quinn (VIP Pet Foods Racing) and Geoff Morgan (Morgan & Banks/Mog Sport) after the two made contact on lap four.
Race two will be run at 10.00am tomorrow, with the third and final race at 12.40pm.
Carrera Cup, Round 5, Race 1 Results:
1. Jim Richards, 2. Marcus Marshall, 3.Peter Fitzgerald, 4. Tim Leahey, 5. Kevin Bell, 6. Matt Coleman, 7. Rodney Jane, 8. Charlie O'Brien, 9. Jonathon Webb, 10. Paul Pedersen, 11. Peter Hill, 12. Dean Grant, 13. David Scaysbrook, 14. James Dutton, 15. Andrew Taplin, 16. Andrew Bagnall, 17. Jack Crocker, 18. Greg Keene, 19. Roger Oakeshott, 20. Dean Cook, 21. John Teulan, 22. Chris Seidler, DNF. Geoff Morgan, DNF. Tony Quinn.