Jim Richards has inched closer to claiming the inaugural 2003 Carrera Cup title with a strong victory in today's second race of round eight at the Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of the Gold Coast. The OAMPS Insurance/Greenfield Mowers driver...
Jim Richards has inched closer to claiming the inaugural 2003 Carrera Cup title with a strong victory in today's second race of round eight at the Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of the Gold Coast.
The OAMPS Insurance/Greenfield Mowers driver had to hold off a fast-finishing Marcus Marshall to claim another race victory and is well poised to win the round, a result which would clinch the championship for him.
In the early stages of the seven lapper, Richards cleared away to lead, while Gold Coaster Charlie O'Brien, who started alongside Richards on the front row, led the chasing pack in second spot.
It quickly became apparent that he was holding up a train of cars, which included Marshall and Peter Fitzgerald, though it would all come to nothing for him when he clipped the wall and damaged his machine, forcing him to retire.
That elevated Marshall to second place and he immediately set about closing the massive seven second gap to Richards. By the end of the race it was 1.6-seconds.
"I was looking in the mirror seeing that they were holding one another up," said Richards of the early laps.
Marshall reported that his car was suffering from a touch too much understeer and that his VIP Petfoods team would make changes to his #31 Porsche in time for tomorrow's final race, which will be run at 8.40am.
Fitzgerald finished third, the result solidifying his hold on third place in the overall championship.
"Charlie was holding us up a lot in the first few laps and that let Jim get away," said the ENJO-backed driver.
"As soon as we got past, the times went down, which indicated that fact."
The race was relatively free of the controversy that marred yesterday's opening seven-lapper, with Gold Coast racer Klark Quinn taking a well fought fourth.
The 21-year-old pulled away from a pack that included Rodney Jane and Tim Leahey and will start from the second row in tomorrow's race.
Leahey finished sixth, unable to make much more forward progress after charging from 26th to eighth in yesterday's event, while Matt Coleman took his #62 Lexmark machine to seventh place.
Tony Quinn was the hard charger of the race, moving up from 16th on the grid to finish eighth in the #32 VIP Petfoods Porsche. He finished clear of Dean Cook (Izod Sportswear) and Scott Shearman (Natural Blonde).
Among the retirements in race two was James Dutton, who had a radiator hose burst, which resulted in a spin for the #26 Porsche at he Bartercard Esses and another spin a lap later.
Greg Keene hit the dropped coolant from the radiator and spun. He recovered after watching the field drive by to finish 20th. It was of particular disappointment to the Adelaide-based surgeon, who was having his strongest round of 2003.
Race three will be held tomorrow morning at 8.40am. Victory for Richards would mean that he cannot be beaten by nearest rival Marshall for the Carrera Cup championship, while Marshall needs to win and Richards retire or score very poorly to force the championship into an Eastern Creek decider.
Carrera Cup, Round 8, Race 2 Results (7 laps):
1. Jim Richards, 2. Marcus Marshall, 3. Peter Fitzgerald, 4. Klark Quinn, 5. Rodney Jane, 6. Tim Leahey, 7. Matt Coleman, 8. Tony Quinn, 9. Dean Cook, 10. Scott Shearman, 11. Jack Crocker, 12. John Teulan, 13. Russell Wright, 14. Roger Oakeshott, 15. Marc Cini, 16. Jonathon Webb, 17. Andrew Taplin, 18. Chris Seidler, 19. Peter Hill, 20. Greg Keene, 21. Dean Grant, DNF. James Dutton, DNF. Charlie O'Brien, DNF. Stephen Borness, DNS. Kevin Bell, DNS. Paul Pedersen.
Fastest Lap -- Peter Fitzgerald, 1m58.4802s on lap 4.