ASTC: Calder Park Practice Report

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 8 CALDER PARK, VICTORIA: Practice Report, Friday, August 27 MORRIS FASTEST WITH NEW WORKS BMW ENGINE Series leader Paul Morris proved the value of his new $150,000 BMW Motorsport works...

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 8 CALDER PARK, VICTORIA: Practice Report, Friday, August 27

MORRIS FASTEST WITH NEW WORKS BMW ENGINE

Series leader Paul Morris proved the value of his new $150,000 BMW Motorsport works engine when he clocked the fastest lap time in today’s rain-affected practice sessions for Sunday’s eighth and final round of the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship.

Morris, whose BMW 320 was fitted with a works engine rushed from Germany to Australia this week, recorded a lap time of 1-min 6.53-secs on a damp track surface in the first of three 30-mins sessions. The remaining two sessions on the 2km circuit were held in heavy rain, and the conditions did not allow any of Morris’ rivals to threaten the time clocked by the two-times Super Touring champion. In addition to the new engine, Morris’ car at Calder Park also features an updated differential from Germany.

Multiple Bathurst 1000 champion Jim Richards, who is second in the championship and 12 points behind Morris, was fourth quickest in practice in a factory front-drive Volvo S40. Richards set his best lap in the second session after conditions had worsened and his time was 5.16-secs slower than Morris. New works Volvo driver Cameron McLean was second fastest with 1-min 7.65-secs in the opening session, and New Zealander Tony Newman was third with 1-min 10.78-secs in a 1997-specification ex-works Peugeot 406 from Great Britain. McLean, a dual Super Touring Independents Cup winner, is making his comeback to the category at Calder Park after switching to V8 Supercars this year.

Morris leads the championship with 228 points, followed by Richards on 216, and Audi Sport Australia team-mates Brad Jones of Albury on 158 and Victorian Matthew Coleman on 140. Jones and Coleman elected not to practice today because of the conditions. Newly-crowned Independents Cup champion Peter Hills did not drive his Security Systems Ford Mondeo for the same reason. The three races on Sunday will be over 14, 18, and 27 laps, and the final event includes a compulsory pit-stop.

DRIVER QUOTES:

PAUL MORRIS (NEMO Racing BMW 320): “So far so good. We’ve done a thorough systems check on the new motor and ‘diff’ from Germany and everything seems in order. Even though the track was wet I put in a few quick laps to see what the car could do - the engine has plenty of low-down torque and it’s responsive right through the rev-range. I’d prefer the conditions to be dry on race-day, but I’m not worried too much by the rain. The last time we raced in the wet was at Mallala (round three of the championship in South Australia on May 30) and I had pole position and won all the races.”

JIM RICHARDS (Volvo Racing S40): “We had a day testing at Calder (Park) last week in the dry and I know the Volvo is quick around here in those conditions. There wasn’t much point in spending much time on the track today because of the rain. I’m sure we will close to the BMW when it counts.”

TONY NEWMAN (TC Motorsport Peugeot 406): “It’s hard to say how much better the new car (Peugeot 406) is going to be here until we get a chance to stretch its legs in the dry. We’ve tested the car in the dry at Oran Park and we know it’s an improvement on the Peugeot we’ve been running.”

KEITH McCORMACK (Yokohama Tyre Australia Motorsport Technician): “Our wet-weather control tyre will work best for everyone in medium rain, and drying weather. That’s what best suits the tread depth of the tyre. If it’s really wet we’re probably going to see cars aquaplaning in the puddles.”

PRACTICE TIMES (Friday): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) NEMO Racing BMW 320 1:06.53 2. Cameron McLean (Qld) Volvo Racing Australia S40 1:07.65 3. Tony Newman (NZ) TC Motorsport Peugeot 406 1:10.78 4. Jim Richards (Vic) Volvo Racing Australia S40 1:11.70 5. Aaron McGill (NSW) Trinovin Ford Mondeo 1:12.60 6. Luke Searle (NSW) Roadchill Express-SAE BMW 318 1:12.86 7. David Auger (Qld) Gun Racing Alfa Romeo 1:16.85 8. John Henderson (NSW) Henderson Racing Holden Vectra 1:19.15 9. Mark Zonneveld (A.C.T.) TC Motorsport Peugeot 405 1:20.41 10. Jim Cornish (NSW) Visit Your Vet Nissan Primera 1:42.12

Mike Porter mikep@qldnet.com.au

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Series General
Drivers Jim Richards , Brad Jones , Paul Morris , Cameron McLean , Luke Searle , Aaron McGill , David Auger , Peter Hill