JASON RICHARDS FIFTH QUICKEST IN CLIPSAL 500 QUALIFYING
Greg Murphy 11th, just misses top 10 start

Tasman Motorsport's Jason Richards has qualified in fifth position for the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide with his brand new GMC VE Commodore, a car which had never turned a wheel until this morning's practice session.

Richards had set the first and second quickest times in the first two sessions of the new 'three tier' qualifying session where the field is progressively cut from 31 to 20 then 10 cars, but 'over cooked it a little' in the final 15 minute stint.

"Having been P1 after the first part of qualifying, then P2 after the second session while still using old tyres it was beginning to look good; then I tried a little too hard, had some brain fade, did all the things race drivers do, and then the car ran out of fuel with a couple of minutes to go and we ended up fifth! " Richards said.

"We were hoping for pretty much the same in the final session, and we were up in the first sector on a couple laps but I lost the rears a couple times and that's what let us down.

"All things considered - including the fact that this car had never turned a wheel until this morning's practice - fifth is a terrific result for Tasman Motorsport. Their efforts are 10 out of 10."

Richards' new Tasman Motorsport team-mate, four-time Bathurst winner Greg Murphy just missed the final qualifying cut and will start tomorrow's first 250km leg for the Clipsal 500 from 11th place on the grid.

"It would have been great to be in the top 10, but that's the way it is, you can't be too disappointed with 11th," Murphy said.

"The new qualifying system is exciting for everyone and works well.

"As a team we're rapt; to have two brand new cars in and around the top 10 as we have with Jason fifth and me in 11th is a fabulous reward for everyone at Tasman Motorsport, the guys should be happy with the job they've done."

Ex-F1 test driver James Courtney secured his first V8 Supercar pole posi tion, with defending Clipsal 500 champion Jamie Whincup qualifying second.

Series favourite Garth Tander was the quickest Holden driver and will start tomorrow's race from third in his Toll/HSV Dealer Team VE Commodore.

Tasman Motorsport's team effort of fifth and 11th on the grid places them as the fastest Holden team overall.

Leg 1 of the Clipsal 500, the opening round of the 2007 V8 Supercar Series, begins tomorrow at 2.30pm (local time).

-credit: hm