Reverse grid front row only consolation for Tasman at Pukekohe Starting from the front row of the grid is a major positive, but it's the only one that Tasman Motorsport drivers Jason Richards and Andrew Jones have to take away from...
Reverse grid front row only consolation for Tasman at Pukekohe
Starting from the front row of the grid is a major positive, but it's the only one that Tasman Motorsport drivers Jason Richards and Andrew Jones have to take away from today's opening race of the Placemakers V8 International at Pukekohe in New Zealand.
Both drivers encountered different dramas in their Auto Trader Commodores and were delayed enough to finish 27th and 28th, the final two finishers in the 36-lap race.
The result means that Richards and Jones will start from the front row of the grid respectively in tomorrow's reverse-grid opening 50-lapper.
Richards had started from 12th in today's event and was sitting in the same spot upon the completion of his compulsory tyre change, though power steering problems meant smoke began emanating from the #3 Commodore.
Struggling to steer his 1355-kilogram machine, the Kiwi ran off the road through the high speed turn two, managing to re-join and finish the race after making a stop in pit lane to check the problem.
Jones was given a drive-through penalty for overlapping on the race's only restart, which was caused by a first corner crash that severely damaged Greg Murphy's Commodore.
A damaged header on the #23 car severely changed its engine note after Jones spun off the road entering turn two, leaving the 25-year-old to end up 27th.
Tomorrow's two races will both be run over 50 laps of the 2.8-kilometre Pukekohe circuit.
Jason Richards (#3 Auto Trader/Tasman Motorsport Holden Commodore VZ)
Qualified 12th (56.2498s), Finished 28th
"The car started smoking and it meant the steering was locking up intermittently and made it hard to drive. It finally stopped working entering turn two and I just went straight on and from there on I could barely steer the car to the finish of the race.
"Up until then the car's pace was OK but it had started to use up its rear tyres. Simply, we weren't quick enough though and we'll work on that for tomorrow."
Andrew Jones (#23 Auto Trader/Tasman Motorsport Holden Commodore VZ)
Qualified 25th (56.7314s), Finished 27th
"I made two critical mistakes today and they cost us massively. I over- lapped on a car at the restart and got a penalty - it was a stupid mistake. In the other one, I down changed too early entering the corner and locked the rears and around it went.
"Then after I got going again the header problem raised its head and we just had to soldier onto the finish. We probably had enough pace to run in the top 15 or thereabouts."