AMP BATHURST 1000 SUPER TOURING ENDURANCE RACE MOUNT PANORAMA, BATHURST: Practice Report, Wednesday, September 30 RYDELL & VOLVO FASTEST AT BATHURST Newly-crowned British Touring Car Champion Rickard Rydell emerged fastest at Mount Panorama...
AMP BATHURST 1000 SUPER TOURING ENDURANCE RACE MOUNT PANORAMA, BATHURST: Practice Report, Wednesday, September 30
RYDELL & VOLVO FASTEST AT BATHURST
Newly-crowned British Touring Car Champion Rickard Rydell emerged fastest at Mount Panorama in today's opening two practice sessions for the AMP Bathurst 1000 Super Touring motor race on Sunday (October 4).
Rydell, who clinched the BTCC title for Swedish manufacturer Volvo in the final round at Silverstone on September 20, clocked the quickest practice lap of 2-mins 17.11-secs around the 6.2km track in fine conditions in a British-sourced works S40 built by Formula One team operators Tom Walkinshaw Racing. The 31-year-old from Stockholm, who is driving at Bathurst with five-times 'Great Race' winner Jim Richards, was 0.31-secs outside the race lap record set by Britain's Jason Plato in a Renault in 1997. Rydell drove the entire first session, and Richards was behind the wheel throughout the second session.
Albury's Brad Jones was the leading Australian and second fastest in the works ORIX Audi A4 quattro he is sharing with Victorian Cameron McConville. Jones, the 1998 Australian Super Touring Champion, recorded 2-mins 18.84-secs. He was followed by ex-Formula One driver Derek Warwick of Great Britain with 2-mins 19.37-secs in a 888 Racing Vectra. Warwick is racing with former BTCC winner John Cleland. The Vectra driven by Australia's Russell Ingall and Greg Murphy had an engine change between sessions. New Zealand's Grant Aitken was taken to Bathurst Hospital with suspected broken ribs after crashing his Suzuki Baleno at Murray's Corner in the second session.
RICKARD RYDELL (Volvo-TWR S40): "This is my second time at Bathurst - fourth last year wasn't a bad result, but we have come back to win. This will be a sprint race. If you only go at 90-percent it won't be fast enough. The track is still dirty if you go off the racing line, but it will get better as rubber goes down."
BRAD JONES (ORIX Audi A4 quattro): "So far so good. The car feels very stable across the top of the Mountain, but we're still searching for more speed to match the British cars on the straights. We've been playing around with springs and shock-absorbers and there's more work to do. The two Pauls (Radisich and Morris) in the team's other car are settling in well. It's their first time driving Audis."
DEREK WARWICK (888 Racing Vauxhall Vectra): "I've decided this will be my last touring car race. Bathurst captivated me when I raced here for the first time last year, and now I want to finish with a win."
GREG MURPHY (Team Holden Vectra): "This is my first race in a front-wheel-drive for four or five years so there's a lot to get used to. It stops and turns into corners as you'd expect with a works car, and I'm sure both Russell (Ingall) and I will improve our lap times as we get more familiar with the car."
PRACTICE TIMES (Wednesday): POS DRIVERS CAR TIME
1. R. Rydell (Sweden)-J. Richards (Vic) Volvo-TWR S40 2:17.11 2. B. Jones (NSW)-C. McConville (Vic) ORIX Audi A4 quattro 2:18.84 3. D. Warwick (GB)-J. Cleland (GB) 888 Racing Vauxhall Vectra 2:19.37 4. T. Harvey (GB)-J. Nilsson (Sweden) Volvo-TWR S40 2:19.50 5. P. Radisich (NZ)-P. Morris (Qld) ORIX Audi A4 quattro 2:19.68 6. R. Ingall (SA)-G. Murphy (NZ) Team Holden Vectra 2:19.85 7. C. McLean (Qld)-T. Scott (Qld) Greenfield Mowers BMW 320 2:20.01 8. M. Neal (GB)-S. Richards (Vic) Team Dynamics Nissan Primera 2:20.10 9. R. Gravett (GB)-L. Brookes (GB) Brookes Motorsport Honda Accord 2:25.25 10. T. Searle (NSW)-L. Searle (NSW) Roadchill Express BMW 318 2:26.18