Symmons Plains: Dodo Racing Friday report

Richards ninth in opening practice at Symmons Plains Dodo Racing's Jason Richards has put his Commodore into the top 10 in practice for this weekend's penultimate round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Symmons Plains in ...

Richards ninth in opening practice at Symmons Plains

Dodo Racing's Jason Richards has put his Commodore into the top 10 in practice for this weekend's penultimate round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Symmons Plains in Tasmania.

The Kiwi ace was ninth fastest in today's two-hour practice session on the 2.41-kilometre circuit and one of eight Holdens in the top 10 positions.

Rain began to fall in the final six minutes, meaning drivers headed to the garage unable to improve on their times.

With a track that has now been fully resurfaced as opposed to last year when half of the track had a new surface, grip levels are up this year and the times have tumbled.

The fastest driver, Steven Richards, was 0.5s under the qualifying record set last year by Todd Kelly, with Dodo Racing's Richards only three- thousandths of a second from breaking the mark.

"We're right up there and went faster each time we made a change and went back out onto the track," said Richards, who this week re-signed to remain with the team for 2006.

"Initially we went in the wrong direction with our work on the setup of the car but we got back to where we needed to be as the session went by.

"There's a bit of fine tuning to do but the re-surfacing has actually taken away a bit of the challenge of the track.

"We had no dramas and it's yet another practice session where we're in the top 10, which is a good way to start the weekend."

Teammate Jamie Whincup was 20th fastest in his first hit-out on the circuit. A Symmons Plains rookie, Whincup didn't have a full-time drive in the series last year and, thus, missed the corresponding round in 2004.

"It probably took me 25 laps to really find my groove," said Whincup.

"Late in the session I bumped the wall on the exit of turn three and that damaged the Watts Linkage in the rear of the car. But it was very late in the session so we'd already had plenty of running.

"I think we can make a few small changes tonight and we can expect some more pace with new tyres tomorrow."

Qualifying, a Top 10 Shootout and the first 42-lap race will be run tomorrow before two 42-lap events on Sunday.

-dr-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Jason Richards , Jamie Whincup , Todd Kelly , Steven Richards