Surfers Paradise: Dodo Racing Friday report

Power steering seal stops Richards' charge for Gold Coast pole A blown power steering seal has stopped Kiwi ace Jason Richards from mounting a 100 percent assault on pole position in today's Top 10 Shootout at the Gillette V8 Supercar ...

Power steering seal stops Richards' charge for Gold Coast pole

A blown power steering seal has stopped Kiwi ace Jason Richards from mounting a 100 percent assault on pole position in today's Top 10 Shootout at the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge.

The Dodo Racing Commodore driver was a brilliant second fastest in qualifying to countryman Greg Murphy on the Gold Coast circuit, equalling his best-ever provisional qualifying effort from earlier this year at Oran Park.

Such was the pace of the team's car, the same chassis that finished third at Sandown and second at Bathurst, Richards was a mere 0.0011s slower than Murphy's quick time.

However, he set off on his Shootout lap only to have the seal cause an oil leak and he subsequently struggled for grip.

He manhandled the #3 car around the lap to record the 10th fastest time for tomorrow's 140-kilometre race, which will start at 3.35pm.

"It was the worst lap I've had for the weekend and at the worst time to have it happen!" said Richards.

"There was absolutely no grip and I had no clue why. I didn't see the smoke that started to come out at the start of the lap and only found out when we got the car back to the pits as to what had happened.

"It's such a shame because the car was working incredibly well in qualifying. I was on a lap that was faster than Greg's but I didn't quite get the last corner right and lost some time.

"Staying out of trouble at Indy is the key to a good weekend. We're not buried in the mid-pack where most of the carnage happens, but we had the chance to be further away from it."

Teammate Jamie Whincup ended up 20th fastest in the #23 Dodo Commodore. The Melbourne-based racer struggled for set-up in qualifying and was disappointed with his day.

"We just went the wrong way with the setup," he said.

"I actually got a good run and the car felt good. But a major amount of understeer was what hampered us with a qualifying setup that wasn't ideal.

"I'm really worried about being stuck in the mid-pack of the grid. We will just have to try and keep clean and chip away for tomorrow's race to get a good grid spot for Sunday."

In today's first of two 35-minute practice sessions, Whincup made contact with the wall at turn six with the rear of his #23 Commodore. Dodo Racing mechanics replaced the boot on the car for the next session, which was hit by a major downpour of rain.

Qualifying was initially a little damp but eventually dried, while the Top 10 Shootout was bathed in sunshine, a welcome sight after a few days of rain.

Conditions on the Gold Coast haven't been favourable all week, however weather predictions indicate that Saturday and Sunday will be sunny and approximately 28 degrees Celsius.

Tomorrow's race will be run at 3.35pm over 31 laps of the punishing 4.45- kilometre street circuit, which is laid out around Surfers Paradise.

Race organisers have improve the pit lane for this year's event and, for the first time on the Gold Coast, the V8 Supercars will have compulsory pit stops in each of their races.

Drivers will have to drive at 40km/h in the V8 Supercar section of the pits before being permitted to drive at 100km/h through the Champ Car designated- pits and rejoin the track.

-dodo-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Greg Murphy , Jason Richards , Jamie Whincup