Phillip Island: Tasman Motorsport preview

Tasman farewell 2006 at Phillip Island Tasman Motorsport will farewell what has been an up and down year for the third-year team this weekend in the Grand Finale at Phillip Island Raceway in Victoria. The sweeping Grand Prix circuit is a ...

Tasman farewell 2006 at Phillip Island

Tasman Motorsport will farewell what has been an up and down year for the third-year team this weekend in the Grand Finale at Phillip Island Raceway in Victoria.

The sweeping Grand Prix circuit is a favourite among the drivers and will play host to what is shaping up as an epic final round with Rick Kelly and Craig Lowndes fighting for the title.

While Tasman will simply focus on its own program for the weekend, lead driver Jason Richards said that the final round will very much have an 'end of year' feel to it after a long grind since the opening event in Adelaide in March.

"Sometimes it feels like the last round is a dead rubber when you're not in the fight for a championship," Richards said.

"Naturally enough, you still want the best result that is possible, but you don't really have to worry about losing points or playing it safe. So you can have a really big go at the round and not worry about any other circumstances.

"You're also looking at the round from next year's point of view as well. While it may not have a bearing on 2006, you are still developing with an eye towards 2007.

"With the championship fight going on between Rick Kelly and Craig Lowndes, we will race as we do normally. I don't want to get involved in either of their championship quests and it would be nice to think the two of them could race against each other rather than have third parties being involved.

"The smart money is on Rick - he's driving a Commodore after all!

"It will be our last round with the VZ model Commodore and it would be nice to send it out with a good result, because it's been a very successful car for Holden.

"The platform of the car, which dates back to the VT in 1998, has been fantastic and, given we have the newest 'old' car in the field which is only a few races old, it would be nice to have a good run."

Team-mate Andrew Jones hasn't raced a V8 Supercar at Phillip Island since his days in the Fujitsu V8 Development Series in 2003.

"It's been thr ee years since I've raced there but I had pole back in the Formula Ford days there, so it's a place with good memories," said Jones, who will drive the #23 Superservice Menus Commodore.

"It's one of those circuits that you just love to drive on. It's fast and flowing which is a rarity in this country. We have so many tracks with stop and start corners that it feels like we've been unshackled and can get up some speed on the flowing, constant radius corners.

"The last corner onto the Gardner Straight and turn one are really quick, so you can push hard around there and really enjoy yourself."

Practice for the Grand Finale begins on Friday with one race on Saturday and two on Sunday.

-credit: tasman motorsport

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Andrew Jones , Rick Kelly , Craig Lowndes , Jason Richards , Phillip Island