Mechanical failures halt Tasman at Sandown
Diff failure halted Tasman Motorsport's charge in today's Sandown 500 as Jason Richards and Andrew Jones were rued to wonder what may have been while their car was repaired.
After starting seventh on the grid, Jones drove the #3 Firepower Commodore and had settled into a position just outside the top 10 in the opening stint.
Unable to take advantage and pit under a Safety Car period early in the race, he pitted later to hand over to Richards and the car went a lap down.
With leader Garth Tander in sight on lap 74, the diff failed in the Kiwi's Commodore and he was forced to limp to the pits for it to be replaced.
The Tasman Motorsport crew replaced the broken diff and the #3 car at least resumed the race, having completed enough laps to be classified as the 30th and last finisher.
A mechanical problem also stopped the team's #23 Commodore driven by Mark Noske and Owen Kelly.
With Noske at the wheel in the opening stint, a loss of drive (later attributed to a clutch failure), also left the Victorian to limp back to the pits and have repairs made.
With many laps lost, the car resumed but didn't complete enough laps to be classified as a finisher.
Jason Richards (#3 Firepower/Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"It's disappointing, but what can you do? I radioed into the team about four or five laps before the diff failed because it was getting noisier and noisier. Then it let go. Normally the car would stop with such a failure but I managed to get it back to the pits and the Tasman crew jumped in to fix it. We lost a lap because we didn't pit under the yellows as Andrew hadn't done the minimum amount of laps and we would have needed a splash and dash fuel stop to get to the end from pitting at that early point."
Andrew Jones (#3 Firepower/Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"My start definitely wasn't one of my best ones. I had three rules today from the team and each of them said to stay out of trouble, which I managed to do. You've got to be there with 30 laps to go and we weren't. We pressed on once the car was fixed but it's a long day just to get 30 points for our troubles. But the car speed was very, very good which means we head to Bathurst without that as a problem."
Owen Kelly (#23 Firepower/Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"It was just a disappointing all day all round for the team. At least I could get a few laps done once the #23 car was fixed but it was then just a case of running some laps as a test session before Bathurst and staying out of the way of the leaders."
Mark Noske (#23 Firepower/Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"We were just settling into a good race and I was on the back straight and went for fifth gear and there was nothing there. I had a box full of neutrals and no drive at all. So we lost so much time it wasn't funny replacing the clutch and we couldn't even do enough laps to be classified as finishers."