Greg Murphy and Jason Richards have set themselves up for strong results following Race 1 for the Jim Beam 400 at Oran Park Raceway in Sydney today. Having run as high as sixth, Murphy came home in the first 42-lap race in ninth in his ...
Greg Murphy and Jason Richards have set themselves up for strong results following Race 1 for the Jim Beam 400 at Oran Park Raceway in Sydney today.
Having run as high as sixth, Murphy came home in the first 42-lap race in ninth in his #51 Grove/Tasman Motorsport Holden Commodore, while Richards finished just two spots further back.
Earlier in the day Richards earned yet another top 10 starting position when he qualified the #3 Grove/Tasman Motorsport Commodore seventh, while Murphy drastically improved his pace from Friday to qualify 16th.
Murphy moved five spots forward on the first lap and then up to eighth prior to pit stops. He not only benefited from a quick stop, but also a break with an appearance of the Safety Car, moving to sixth when all the shuffling with stops had finished.
When the race resumed, Murphy headed a long battle with a group of five cars and held position until six laps before the finish when his car pushed wide, locked a brake and went off, losing three spots.
"That was way too hard, for most of the race it really was a battle . so ninth is a pretty good result," Murphy said.
"I had a good start and caught a few breaks with others going off and we were in a reasonable position running in sixth.
"But the car was a bit of a handful and not as fast as the guys following, and I was doing all I could to keep Davison and a bunch of others behind me for 15-20 laps. It caught up with me in the end when it pushed wide and I went off.
"It was disappointing to lose three spots, but we still finished in the top 10. We need to make it happen again tomorrow, and if we can improve we'll be able to come away with a reasonable result."
Richards' race was more the opposite of his team-mates, the #3 swamped in a dramatic start, coming together with Lee Holdsworth's Commodore, bending the steering and dropping back two spots.
A sticking left rear during the all-important pit stop didn't help, while Richards also locked a wheel late in t he race and lost position.
"Eleventh isn't too bad and gives us an opportunity for a good result tomorrow, but it is fair to say that qualifying was my highlight for today and I don't believe we maximised our opportunities there," Richards said.
"We struggled during the race and battled with bent steering, which made it more difficult.
"A top 10 for both Murph and me tomorrow is possible, so we need to make a few changes and maximise our effort tomorrow."
The Holden Racing Team's Mark Skaife won today's race ahead of Toll HSV Dealer Team's Rick Kelly, with Team Vodafone's Jamie Whincup third.
With his team-mate, Garth Tander, not finishing due to a suspension failure, Kelly resumes the championship lead.