ASTC: Eastern Creek race report

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 4 EASTERN CREEK, NSW: Race Report, Sunday, June 7 JONES & RICHARDS TAKE CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD Volvo create history - Troy Searle on podium for first time Rival works drivers Jim Richards...

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 4 EASTERN CREEK, NSW: Race Report, Sunday, June 7

JONES & RICHARDS TAKE CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD

Volvo create history - Troy Searle on podium for first time

Rival works drivers Jim Richards and Brad Jones are the new joint leaders in the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship after sharing the honours in round four at Eastern Creek on Sunday (June 7).

Volvo Dealer Team S40 racer Richards and Audi Sport Australia driver Jones went into the Eastern Creek round equal second in the championship and emerged on top, while previous leader Cameron McConville slipped to third place. It is the first time Volvo has held a share of the championship lead since the Swedish manufacturer entered the series in 1995.

Richards and Jones both scored 28 points at Eastern Creek, with one pole position each, and a first and a second in the two races. They now share the championship lead with 95 points. Jones' team-mate McConville boosted his series tally by 10 points and is now third on 87. Queensland's Greenfield Mowers Racing BMW 320 driver Cameron McLean is fourth on 58.

McLean dominated the opening race over 11 laps and held a decisive lead over Richards, Jones, and McConville until a Safety Car appeared on the circuit while the stricken Roadchill BMW 318 of Newcastle driver Troy Searle was removed. The caution period allowed Richards, Jones, and McConville to close the gap on McLean. Richards took the lead late in the race, and McLean spun on the final lap when attempting to regain first place. The Volvo driver took the chequered flag in 24-mins 41.58-secs, finishing 0.99-secs clear of Jones, who was followed by McConville and McLean. Jones was penalised for breaking the start and had to drive through pit lane at 60km/h during the race.

Jones and Richards dominated the second race over 21-laps, which featured a compulsory pit-stop for all cars, after McLean and McConville were forced to retire because of engine failures. The pit-stops influenced the result, with the Audi team changing two wheels on Jones' car in nine seconds, while the Volvo crew were five seconds slower. Jones won in 34-mins 9.06-secs, finishing 0.10-secs ahead of Richards. Searle, who does not participate in qualifying on Saturdays at each round because of religious beliefs, finished third, his first podium result in his debut year in the championship.

Audi retained the lead in the Manufacturers Championship with 114 points, with Volvo second on 102. McLean remained in first place in the Independents Cup with 98 points, and is followed by Mark Adderton on 80 in an Attitude Clothing Honda Accord, and fellow-NSW driver Peter Hills on 58 in a Knight Racing Ford Mondeo. Adderton was fifth in race one, but withdrew from the second heat because of a broken CV joint. Sydney's Adam Kaplan was ninth in heat one, despite a broken rear sway-bar, but improved to sixth in the second race in his Hunter Holden Nissan Primera. New Zealand's Dwayne Bewley, who qualified sixth for both races, broke the drive shaft on his Fastway Couriers Peugeot 405 on the warm-up lap before race one, and was forced out of the second heat because of engine problems.

DRIVER QUOTES:

JIM RICHARDS (Volvo Dealer Team S40): "It's wonderful to see Volvo's name at the top of the championship, even if we're sharing it with another team. Now we've got to see if we can get first place by ourselves. The championship is hotting up, and our team is enjoying getting into the wining habit. The second race with Brad (Jones) was hard, fair racing, and that's the way I like it."

BRAD JONES (Audi Sport Australia A4): "I didn't feel like I was creeping at the start of the first race, so I couldn't believe it when I saw the black flag and found out what was going on. After all that drama second was a good result, better than I could have expected. My team showed how pit-stops can win races today."

CAMERON McLEAN (Greenfield Mowers Racing BMW 320): "I thought I had a good shot at winning the first race until the Safety Car came out. After that I didn't have as much grip in my front tyres. Jim (Richards) passed me, and on the last lap I thought I'd have a go at getting him back. I got a good run on him into Turn Two, but it didn't work out. I wanted to win so I had a shot at it."

TROY SEARLE (Roadchill BMW 318): "To finish on the podium is unbelievable. A few of the others had problems and we just kept going. The guys on the radio didn't tell me what position I was in so I didn't know I was third until after the race. Our pit-stop wasn't the fastest, but it was good enough."

RESULTS - RACE 1 (11 Laps): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. J. Richards (Vic) Volvo Dealer Team S40 24:41.58 2. B. Jones (NSW) Audi Sport Australia A4 24:42.57 3. C. McConville (Vic) Audi Sport Australia A4 24:44.46 4. C. McLean (Qld) Greenfield Mowers Racing BMW 320 24:47.73 5. M. Adderton (NSW) Attitude Clothing Honda Accord 24:57.64 6. R. Searle (NSW) Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry 24:58.49 7. P. Hills (NSW) Knight Racing Ford Mondeo 25:07.61 8. J. Matthews (NSW) Faber-Castell Racing BMW 318 25:11.12 9. A. Kaplan (NSW) Hunter Holden Nissan Primera 25:17.33 10. B. Tweedie (NSW) IBC Vauxhall Cavalier 25:35.96

FASTEST LAP: McLean 1-min 33.86-secs

RESULTS - RACE 2 (21 Laps): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. B. Jones (NSW) Audi Sport Australia A4 34:09.06 2. J. Richards (Vic) Volvo Dealer Team S40 34:09.16 3. T. Searle (NSW) Roadchill Express BMW 318 Lap down 4. J. Matthews (NSW) Faber-Castell Racing BMW 318 Lap down 5. R. Searle (NSW) Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry Lap down 6. A. Kaplan (NSW) Hunter Hill Nissan Primera Lap down 7. P. Hills (NSW) Knight Racing Ford Mondeo 2 Laps down 8. A. McGill (NSW) Knight Racing Ford Mondeo 2 Laps down 9. B. Tweedie (NSW) IBC Vauxhall Cavalier 2 Laps down 10. D. Auger (Qld) Gun Racing Alfa Romeo 2 Laps down

FASTEST LAP: Richards 1-min 34.43

DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 4): Richards 95, Jones 95, McConville 87, McLean 58, Adderton 42, Hills 30, Holden-Sheumack-Matthews 23, Tweedie 22, T. Searle 21, R. Searle 21, Auger 11, Kaplan 11, Henderson 8, Pickett 6-Shaw 6, McGill 3, Robson-Bradshaw 2, Bewley 1

MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 4): Audi 114, Volvo 102

INDEPENDENTS CUP CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 4): McLean 98, Adderton 80, Hills 58, Tweedie 47, Holden-Sheumack-Matthews 47, R. Searle 40, T. Searle 38, Auger 26, Kaplan 23, Pickett-Shaw 20, Henderson 15, Robson-Bradshaw 8, McGill 7, Bewley 4, Newman 3, Rolfo 3

TEAMS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 4): Audi Sport Australia 96, Knight Racing 60

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Series General
Drivers Cameron McConville , Jim Richards , Brad Jones , Cameron McLean