Sandown: Tasman Motorsport Saturday notes

Richards & Murphy Start Sandown 500 Ninth Greg Murphy and Jason Richards will start tomorrow's Just Car Insurance Sandown 500 from ninth position following today's practice and qualifying sessions. The day started strongly for the lead ...

Richards & Murphy Start Sandown 500 Ninth

Greg Murphy and Jason Richards will start tomorrow's Just Car Insurance Sandown 500 from ninth position following today's practice and qualifying sessions.

The day started strongly for the lead Firepower/Tasman Motorsport pair with Murphy recording the second quickest time in the #51 Holden Commodore during today's first practice, but an engine drama restricted Richards to only six laps in the following session.

The Tasman team swapped engines prior to qualifying and after Murphy completed the initial qualifying laps, Richards jumped into the #51 and secured the final spot in the Top 10 Shootout.

Richards looked to be on his way to earning an even better starting position for the Tasman team, but lost vital time with a brake lock-up at the Dandenong Rd corner.

While disappointed with Dandy Rd again biting him during a shootout lap, Richards said he was looking forward to tomorrow's race, come rain or shine, and rates his and Murphy's chances highly.

"I think in the dry or the wet we've got a really good car and really good chance," said Richards.

"The wet car is legs above everybody else's and the dry car is really good, so given that I think we've got a really good chance."

Team-mate Murphy said the Firepower/Tasman Commodore presented a strong package for tomorrow's race.

"Our Commodore is definitely working better and I think it's going to be a consistent race car," said Murphy.

"I think we're going to be a good combo, we're definitely in the top 10 and I think we've got reasonable race pace. There might be a couple of cars that are quicker, but with strategy and Safety Cars the gaps can close very quickly.

"If it rains it'll be open slather, but I think we can be confident with our wet weather setup."

The second Firepower/Tasman Motorsport Commodore driven by Mark Noske and Sandown rookie Jay Verdnik will start from the last row of the grid, Noske surprised at the closeness of competition after recording a qualifying time just a lit tle over one second slower than pole.

"Our Commodore is good, but it's just getting more and more competitive out there - to be just over a second off pole and be second last is very hard to take," said Noske.

"Tomorrow's a long, long race so hopefully we can keep it clean, keep the car straight and make a lot of positions and earn ourselves a result."

-credit: tm

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