ASTC: AMP Bathurst 1000 Race Report

AMP BATHURST 1000 SUPER TOURING ENDURANCE MOTOR RACE MOUNT PANORAMA, BATHURST: Race Report, Sunday, October 4 VOLVO WINS AMP BATHURST 1000 Swedish car manufacturer Volvo broke through for its first victory in the 36-year history of the AMP ...

AMP BATHURST 1000 SUPER TOURING ENDURANCE MOTOR RACE MOUNT PANORAMA, BATHURST: Race Report, Sunday, October 4

VOLVO WINS AMP BATHURST 1000

Swedish car manufacturer Volvo broke through for its first victory in the 36-year history of the AMP Bathurst 1000 touring car motor race when Jim Richards and Rickard Rydell narrowly fought off a strong challenge from Nissan at Mount Panorama today.

Melbourne-based New Zealander Richards and Swede Rydell completed the 161-lap race in 6-hrs 54- mins 23.47-secs in a front-drive works Volvo S40, prepared by Formula One team operators Tom Walkinshaw Racing. They finished 2.0-secs clear of the second-placed Nissan Primera raced by Richards' 26-year-old British-based son Steven and England's Matt Neal. Rydell clocked the fastest race lap, 2-mins 17.95-secs.

Albury's Brad Jones, the 1998 Australian Super Touring Champion, and Victorian team-mate Cameron McConville were third in an ORIX Audi A4, 25.75-secs behind the winning Volvo. Queenslanders Cameron McLean and Tony Scott finished fourth, two laps behind the winners, and were the leading Independents team. Dominic Beninca was the 'Rookie of the Year' after teaming with fellow-NSW driver Peter Hills in sixth place in a Knight Racing Ford Mondeo.

Jim Richards' sixth Bathurst 1000 victory left him second on the all-time winner's list behind nine-times champion Peter Brock. The 51-year-old Richards previously won the event with Brock in 1978-79-80 in Holdens, and in 1991-92 with Mark Skaife for Nissan. Rydell's win was his first in two starts in the Bathurst 1000, and followed a fourth place with Richards in a Volvo 850 in 1997. Volvo's result at Bathurst was its second major international success in the past two weeks, and came just two weeks after Rydell clinched this year's British Touring Car Championship title at Silverstone.

Steven Richards, who started second on the grid, led the opening 34 laps of the Bathurst 1000 until making his team's first pit-stop and driver change. Rydell replaced Jim Richards behind the wheel of the Volvo soon after. The teams were rarely separated by more than 5-secs for the remainder of the race.

New Zealand's Greg Murphy and Russell Ingall, driving a Holden Vectra, led briefly and were always in the top five until being eliminated on lap 83 as part of a four-car accident. The incident was triggered by the Nissan Sentra driven by New Zealand's Ian Spurle, which crashed in a concrete barrier across the top of Mount Panorama. Queenslander Paul Morris, racing an ORIX Audi A4, then suffered engine damage when he drove over debris from Spurle's car on the track. Morris was able to park his car, but the fast following Ingall, and Englishman Tim Harvey, driving a Volvo S40, slid off the track and crashed into barriers. All four cars involved in the incidents were forced out of the race.

On lap 126 the pacesetting Volvo and Nissan made their final pitstops and driver changes, and Rydell and Neal battled for the chequered flag until the finish. There were two safety car periods in the closing 30 laps. Neal was baulked by a slower car, the Honda Integra of New Zealanders Wayne Johnson and Maurice O'Reilly on the penultimate lap.

DRIVER QUOTES:

JIM RICHARDS (Volvo S40 Racing): "Volvo have been in Super Touring in Australia for four years and this win is a good reward for their commitment and effort. This feels the best of my six Bathurst wins. The Nissan team did a great job, but there can only be one winner, and I'm happy it was us. Rickard (Rydell) had plenty of speed all week and things came together for us on the day. I'm also proud of the way Steven (Richards) drove."

RICKARD RYDELL (Volvo S40 Racing): "It feels good to come back to Bathurst for a second time and win. This is one of the hardest races, and the track is tough on the drivers and the cars. To win the British championship was fantastic, and this win gives me the same feeling."

STEVEN RICHARDS (Team Dynamics Nissan Primera): "We lost some time at the last pitstop when the window (safety) net got tangled up, but that's part of racing. Matt (Neal) drove well and we gave it our best shot. This race showed the Nissan Primera is reliable as well as fast."

BRAD JONES (ORIX Audi A4): "We didn't quite have the speed of the British cars, but we tried to hang onto the back of them. The slower cars were a problem for everyone. I thought this was going to be our year, but the British teams were better prepared than 12 months ago,"

PAUL MORRIS (ORIX Audi A4): "I hit a piston or something lying on the track and it blew a hole in the bottom of the engine. (Russell) Ingall and the second Volvo were just behind me. I guess when they hit the oil they had no steering and no traction. Paul (Radisich) and I had been consistent up to then and I thought we might have been a chance for the podium."

RUSSELL INGALL (888 Racing Holden Vectra): "The guy in the production car who crashed should have stopped straight away - instead he kept going and left debris all over the track. It was pretty stupid! I'm disappointed because we were competitive. Greg (Murphy) drove brilliantly and then it all came unstuck."

RACE RESULTS (161 Laps):

POS DRIVER                          CAR                              TIME
1.  J.Richards(Aust)-R.Rydell(Swed) Volvo S40 Racing                 6:54:23.47
2.  S.Richards(Aust)-M.Neal(GB)     Team Dynamics Nissan Primera     6:54:25.47
3.  B.Jones-C.McConville(Aust)      ORIX Audi A4 quattro             6:54.49.22
4.  C.McLean-T.Scott(Aust)          Greenfield Mowers BMW 320        2 laps
5.  J.Cleland-D.Warwick(GB)         888 Racing Vauxhall Vectra       4 laps
6.  P.Hills-D.Beninca(Aust)         Knight Racing Ford Mondeo        6 laps
7.  T.Searle-L.Searle(Aust)         Roadchill Express BMW 318        9 laps
8.  R.Wilson-R.Forbes(Aust)         Playboy Racing BMW 318           9 laps
9.  J.Matthews-P.Nelson(Aust)       Faber-Castell BMW 318            16 laps
10. K.Bell-R.Hicks(NZ)              International Motorsport BMW 320 17 laps
11. D.Chapman-B.Bradshaw(NZ)        Chapman BMW 318                  17 laps
12. A.Harris-M.Worsley(NZ)          International Motorsport BMW 325 20 laps
13. D.Auger-L.Kyte(Aust)            Gun Racing Alfa Romeo 155        24 laps
14. T.Watkinson-C.Gardiner(Aust)    Mazda 626                        25 laps
15. P.Kirkham-M.Lehmann(Aust)       Mazda 626                        26 laps
16. G.Short-G.Goudie(NZ)            Ford Telstar                     30 laps
17. K.Talbert-C.Rolfo(Aust)         Mazda 626                        31 laps
18. M.Newton-J.Millar(Aust)         Vauxhall Cavalier                33 laps
19. W.Johnson-M.O'Reilly            Honda Integra                    41 laps
FASTEST LAP:                        Rydell, 2-mins 17.95-secs
WINNERS' AVERAGE SPEED:             145km/h

NOTE: After the race the Team Dynamics Nissan Primera team protested against the Volvo S40 Racing car of Jim Richards and Rickard Rydell for allegedly passing under safety car conditions. CAMS Motorsport Manager Tim Schenken announced later that stewards dismissed the protest and results stood.

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Series General
Drivers Greg Murphy , Cameron McConville , Russell Ingall , Matt Neal , Jim Richards , Brad Jones , Mark Skaife , Paul Morris , Cameron McLean , Peter Brock , Rickard Rydell , Peter Hill , Maurice O'Reilly , Tim Schenken , Tom Walkinshaw , Wayne Johnson , Steven Richards