Symmons Plains: Dodo Racing Sunday report

Another Top 10 for Richards at Symmons Plains Kiwi ace Jason Richards has clocked up his third top 10 round result of 2005 in the Ferodo Triple Challenge at Symmons Plains in Tasmania. The Dodo Racing driver finished eighth...

Another Top 10 for Richards at Symmons Plains

Kiwi ace Jason Richards has clocked up his third top 10 round result of 2005 in the Ferodo Triple Challenge at Symmons Plains in Tasmania.

The Dodo Racing driver finished eighth and 14th in today's two 42-lap races and remains in 18th place in the overall championship.

After yesterday's opening 42-lapper, today's second race for the weekend saw Richards work his way up to eighth spot in the #3 Dodo Commodore.

Starting from 11th, the Kiwi made a strong start but soon found himself bottled up behind the slower Falcon of Steven Johnson.

Unable to fully show his true car speed, he chipped away and made up positions when Steve Ellery ran off the road and a recovering Paul Dumbrell at the penultimate corner of the race slowed Russell Ingall.

That allowed Richards to blast past to grab eighth. In the final race he was hampered during his compulsory pit stop by the neighbouring Ford Performance Racing and Garry Rogers Motorsport crews pitting their cars at the same time.

A run off the road on lap 19 on part of the circuit where the surface was breaking up dropped him a few more positions, though he recovered to run home 14th and collect 132 points for the round.

Of contrasting fortunes was the day of his teammate Jamie Whincup. The 22- year-old's second race of the weekend was all over by the turn three hairpin.

Running on the outside of Todd Kelly down the straight, he was hit by the HRT driver when he pulled out to make a pass of his own.

It smashed Whincup's wheel and steering, sending him cannoning without control into the run-off sand trap at the end of the straight.

Dodo Racing mechanics repaired the #23 Commodore in time for the last race, where Whincup started from 32nd and last on the grid.

His luck didn't improve, a holed exhaust sapping the horsepower from his car in addition to being delayed after being spun out by Anthony Tratt.

Whincup eventually made it to the finish line in 30th to at least collect some championship points.

FROM INSIDE THE HELMET .

Jason Richards (#3 Dodo Commodore VZ)
"I had much more speed in Race 2 than Steven Johnson but he made no mistakes and I couldn't do anything to get by him. Steve Ellery ran off the road in front of us and I made up a spot there.

"It's a pretty hard track to pass on unless you have super horsepower. The car wasn't as good as in the first race on Saturday, but relative to the field it wasn't too bad.

"I held off on making my pit stop waiting to see how the balance would be and if we would have to make a setup change but in the end the car came good so we just changed the tyres.

"In the final race I tried to run down the outside into the first corner but there wasn't much grip there and I was out off the road fighting to get back on and lost a few spots.

"A top 10 result isn't bad. Our car speed was of top 10 quality and that's the result we got."

Jamie Whincup (#23 Dodo Commodore VZ)
"On the run down the straight to the hairpin I pulled out to pass Todd Kelly and he did the same to someone else without knowing I was there.

"The contact between us smashed the front left wheel rim and broke the steering arm so I was a passenger on the grass all the way down to the sandpit.

"We'd just hit fifth gear on the run down there so it's a pretty quick part of the track to have no control of the car!

"It's really bad in that I just wanted to finish off the year well. We need the points to do that and the accident put paid to that.

"In the last race I'd say it was a holed exhaust caused by stones in there from the incident earlier in the day. When they heat up they can cause that sort of damage.

"It's been my toughest weekend of 2005 and dropped me right back in the series. I was looking at making some spots in the last race but we'd lost a lot of power."

NEXT UP

The V8 Supercar Championship Series will now return to Victoria for the BigPond Grand Finale at Phillip Island in a fortnight's time. The venue has been absent from the V8 Supercar calendar since April 2003 and its sweeping layout is bound to be a test for the 34-car field. It is the home circuit of a handful of the top-running Holden teams. Dodo Racing uses the Winton circuit near Benalla in Victoria as its official test venue.

In its current guise the team hasn't raced at Phillip Island, given it was established as Tasman Motorsport at the beginning of the 2004 season.

-dodo-

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Steven Johnson , Russell Ingall , Jason Richards , Jamie Whincup , Todd Kelly , Anthony Tratt , Garry Rogers , Paul Dumbrell , Phillip Island
Teams Garry Rogers Motorsport