Blitzing fightback ends in top 10 at the Island
A rocketing start coupled with strong car speed has catapulted Tasman Motorsport's Jason Richards into 10th place in the final round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Phillip Island.
Forced to start a lowly 22nd after being eliminated from contention in a first lap touch yesterday, Richards started his fight back by moving up to finish 12th in today's opening race.
A flying start in the final event had the #3 Superservice Menus Commodore fifth by the second corner, which became second when the Kelly brothers and Craig Lowndes were all involved in a multi-car collision on lap two at the hairpin.
Richards sailed through the drama and settled in behind race leader Mark Winterbottom, who came out in front of the Tasman Holden once the pit stops had been completed.
With a strong car, Richards would eventually fall to a charging Garth Tander in the race's dying laps.
However, his eventual third place finish was a sign that the team has rediscovered the sort of pace it has perhaps lacked in the last handful of rounds of the series.
Team-mate Andrew Jones had his final drive with the team and had an up and down day.
Starting from 30th in the first race he moved through to be 22nd by the end and backed it up by improving further in the last race to wind up 19th, one spot behind new V8 Supercar Series Champion Rick Kelly, despite a hit with a stricken Commodore earlier in the race that damaged his car.
The team will now focus on the build of its two new VE Commodores for the 2007 V8 Supercar Series and will announce its driving line-up for next year in due course.
Jason Richards (#3 Superservice Menus/Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"I still can't believe the start I made in the last race - I thought I'd been fired out of a rocket! I picked up more spots when the drama happened at the hairpin between Lowndes and the Kelly boys and from there I had similar pace to Winterbottom and really couldn't do too much other than hold the gap. Earlier in the other race we had a bit of a braking issue, which stopped me really attacking to make passes at the hairpin. We changed the brake discs for the last race and it was much better. We proved this weekend that we were a genuine top five car on pace. It's nice to round out the season on a positive note and find the sort of speed that we've showed at earlier events."
Andrew Jones (#23 Superservice Menus/Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"In the first race today we used the best of our 'worst' tyres that we had available because we were at the back anyway because of the drama yesterday. So that worked OK and we made up some spots. That left us with our best tyres for the last race and I got a blinder start and ended up about 15th once it had all settled down. Then Lee Holdsworth was turned around at the hairpin and I got involved in that, unfortunately. As I have lately, I picked the wrong way and made contact with him. It damaged the right front a little bit and made every lap for the rest of the race an adventure! Being my last race with Tasman I'd like to thank the whole team for their support in an up and down kind of year. They've been a great group and people and I wish them all the best for 2007."
-credit: tasman motorsport