Australia's Sandown qualifying notes

Leahey lands front row at Sandown Greg Murphy Racing ace and young guns push Richards all the way Orange-based racer Tim Leahey has given new backer Braun the perfect debut by planting his Greg Murphy Racing machine on the front row of the grid...

Leahey lands front row at Sandown
Greg Murphy Racing ace and young guns push Richards all the way

Orange-based racer Tim Leahey has given new backer Braun the perfect debut by planting his Greg Murphy Racing machine on the front row of the grid for round six of the Carrera Cup at Sandown International Motor Raceway in Melbourne.

Leahey was just 0.15s slower than pole-man Jim Richards, the latter taking his fifth pole position of the 2003 season with a 1m14.2031s lap.

Richards, driving the OAMPS/Greenfield Mowers Porsche, only ran 10 laps in the 30-minute session and elected to save his tyres for the three races this weekend.

"I didn't think Tim would go as fast as he did but we were ready to go back out onto the track if it had been necessary," said Richards.

Leahey, on the other hand, was happy to be back on the front row of the grid, a position he last held in round four at Hidden Valley, which he won.

""It would have been nice to have tried a few things in this session but we missed out on track time due to a clutch failure in the first practice session," said Leahey.

"I knew we could get into the 1m14s bracket, so the time wasn't too surprising."

Third-fastest was a Carrera Cup best for Matt Coleman, the 30-year-old still suffering clutch problems that he was plagued by in the first session.

"Hopefully we can have a problem-free run in the races tomorrow," reported Coleman.

Marcus Marshall qualified fourth, his worst performance since round one at Phillip Island, and believes that serious over-night changes need to be made to his VIP Pet Foods machine before the two races tomorrow.

"We just need to go away and think about it and come back tomorrow with some changes," said the Gold Coaster, who sits second in the championship to Richards.

The qualifying session began in slight drizzle, though the clouds disappeared in time for the session to be run on a dry track. Dropped coolant meant that the second half of the circuit proved tricky, but it didn't stop some strong performances.

Andrew Miedecke qualified fifth clear of Peter Fitzgerald, who simply didn't get his strategy right in the session.

"With five minutes to go I went back out but I simply couldn't get pressure or temperature into the tyres," said the ENJO-backed racer.

Dean Grant was a career-best seventh fastest in his #10 Becks/Coke machine ("I just got angry with it all and threw it around on a clean lap!"), clear of Jonathon Webb (Tekno Autosports) who also recorded his best qualifying performance of the season with eighth-fastest time.

"It's my first time at Sandown so we spent the first session just doing plenty of laps but then we had some fuel surge in the second part of qualifying so we have to sort that out," said Webb.

Rounding out the top 10 qualifiers was category debutante Klark Quinn, who bounced his Pioneer car into the top 10 on the last lap of qualifying.

The 21-year-old was just seven-tenths of a second off fourth-placed Marshall, and out-qualified his father Tony, who was 13th quickest.

The New Zealand contingent struggled, Paul Pedersen back in 15th and Kevin Bell in his worst qualifying spot of the year, 20th.

Twenty-eight cars are present for round six this weekend, the largest field of Carrera Cup cars in Australia in the inaugural season of the championship. The field is also the largest of any Carrera Cup in the world.

Races one and two will be run tomorrow at 12.05pm and 3.40pm. The third and final race will be on Sunday as a curtain-raiser to the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 at 10.25am.

<pre> Top 10 Positions - Qualifying

Pos   No    Driver              Car/Team   Time
1     5     Jim Richards        OAMPS/Greenfield Mowers                 1:14.2031
2     55    Tim Leahey          Greg Murphy Racing - Team Braun         1:14.3525
3     62    Matt Coleman        Matt Coleman Racing                     1:14.6949
4     31    Marcus Marshall     VIP Pet Foods Racing                    1:14.9400
5     35    Andrew Miedecke     Miedecke Motorsport                     1:15.1484
6     33    Peter Fitzgerald    ENJO/Fitzgerald Racing                  1:15.1501
7     10    Dean Grant          Team Becks Racing                       1:15.3616
8     22    Jonathon Webb       Tekno Autosports                        1:15.4171
9     15    Charlie O'Brien     WPS Financial Group/Int' Motorsport NZ  1:15.5380
10    23    Klark Quinn         Pioneer/RT Motorsport                   1:15.5911

-cca

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Greg Murphy , Tim Leahey , Marcus Marshall , Jim Richards , Klark Quinn , Peter Fitzgerald , Jonathon Webb , Dean Grant , Andrew Miedecke , Phillip Island
Teams Tekno Autosports