John Bowe and Jim Richards are confident of a strong showing in tomorrow¹s inaugural Queensland 500, despite just missing the top ten in qualifying today.
Bowe was third fastest in the morning practice session, stopping the clocks at 1:10.223 - but a broken rear anti-roll bar hindered the team¹s efforts in the final 20 minute qualifying session.
The Cat machine¹s qualifying time of 1:10.885 had put the car into the top ten qualifying run-off until the final seconds of the session when Mark Larkham¹s Falcon and David Parson¹s Commodore improved to leave Bowe and Richards in 11th place.
"We were disappointed to miss the top ten, but slightly puzzled because the car developed a major understeer problem in the qualifying session," Bowe said.
"Our time in the morning session would have put us on pole position, but the warmer track conditions seems to play havoc with our set-up.
"We were pretty comfortable with the progress of the weekend, but the boys found the problem when we got back to the pits after the session."
Ford duo Jason Bright and Craig Baird will start from pole position after Bright headed the top ten run-off with a time of 1:10.295 - slower than Bowe¹s morning practice time.
Despite the disappointment, Richards believes he and Bowe are still in good shape for tomorrow¹s event.
"It is always nice to qualify well, but it really doesn¹t matter in endurance races," Richards said.
"History shows your tactics on race day are the key point to success and I am sure John¹s and my experience will stand us in good stead.
"Keeping the tyres alive will be critical because the left rear tyre cops a real pounding around this circuit.
"The ability to judge your stops to coincide with any safety car periods will also be important."
The Queensland 500 will be staged over 161 laps, starting at 12.30pm tomorrow.
TOP TEN RUN-OFF 1. - Bright/Baird (F) - 1:10.295 2. - Tander/Bargwana (H) - 1:10.754 3. - Skaife/Morris (H) - 1:10.821 4. - Radisich/Ellery (F) - 1:10.835 5. - Lowndes/McConville (H) - 1:11.010 6. - Ingall/Perkins (H) - 1:11.108 7. - Richards/Murphy (H) - 1:11.298 8. - D.Parsons/S.Parsons (H) - 1:11.468 9. - Larkham/B.Jones (F) - 1;11.486 10. - Longhurst/Macrow (F) - 1:11.778
QUALIFYING SESSION 11. - BOWE/RICHARDS (CAT FORD) - 1:10.885
(F)= Ford (H) = Holden
TIMETABLE: SUNDAY, 19th SEPTEMBER, 1999 9.30 - V8 Supercar Warm-up 12.30 - Qld 500 - 161 laps
"Paul Ryan" <email@example.com>