Sandown: Tasman Motorsport Friday notes

The ...

The #51 Firepower/Tasman Motorsport Commodore of Greg Murphy and Jason Richards has finished today's practice for the Just Car Insurance Sandown 500 sixth quickest.

But the time sheets don't tell the entire story, with heavy rain falling halfway through the session and the #51 Firepower Commodore the quickest on track in the winter conditions by a considerable margin.

Richards, who didn't have a run in the dry, said the car was "fantastic" to drive.

"The car was, really, really strong in the wet and it felt like I was racing against rookies out there as we were nearly two seconds a lap faster than anyone else when it was raining," said Richards.

"As it dried out at the end the field closed up again and we were third quickest in the damp behind the two FPR cars, but if it rains Sunday we've got a great setup and we'll be in with a strong chance."

Team-mate Murphy set the sixth quickest time in the dry and was pleased with the performance although always looking for more.

"Today was one of those days where the weather halts your plans and interferes with what you want to do, but it hasn't been too bad," said Murphy.

"We were obviously going okay early on in the dry, but we couldn't get through everything we needed to because of the rain. The car was very good in the wet and if it rains we'll go real good!"

The #3 Firepower/Tasman Motorsport Commodore, driven by experienced campaigner Mark Noske and Sandown/Bathurst rookie Jay Verdnik, finished today 18th on the official time sheets.

Noske shook the car down before handing over to Richards, who checked the setup for a couple of laps, with Verdnik running the majority of laps in the session.

"Today was alright; I cleaned the track early on, and the car felt good," said Noske.

"I then went out in the wet and it was ok. We're probably lacking a little bit of power down, but we can make some changes and improve it. All-in-all it was a good day."

Debutant Verdnik said he was happy to sur vive his first Sandown session unscathed.

"Early on I spent my time just getting my bearings and getting used to the track," said Verdnik.

"Towards the end I did a run of over 10 laps in the wet and it was all pretty good, so I'm happy and looking forward to the rest of the weekend."

Practice for the Just Car Insurance Sandown 500 continues tomorrow morning, with qualifying last Saturday afternoon.

-credit: tm

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