ASTC: Lakeside Qualifying Report

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 1 LAKESIDE, QUEENSLAND: Qualifying Report, Saturday, April 17 WATTS & RICHARDS DOMINATE QUALIFYING British driver Patrick Watts today provided French car manufacturer Peugeot with its...

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 1 LAKESIDE, QUEENSLAND: Qualifying Report, Saturday, April 17

WATTS & RICHARDS DOMINATE QUALIFYING

British driver Patrick Watts today provided French car manufacturer Peugeot with its first pole position in the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship since the series began in 1994.

Watts, driving an ex-works Peugeot 406 imported from Great Britain earlier this year, won pole position for the first race in tomorrow's opening round of the 1999 championship at the Lakeside Raceway circuit near Brisbane.

The 42-year-old from Kent earned the right to start at the front of the grid in the 20-lap race by emerging fastest in the first qualifying session on the 2.4km track, held in dry conditions. Watts, who arrived in Australia from Great Britain earlier this week, clocked a lap time of 53.00-secs. During the session Watts' car made contact with the Toyota Carina of Queenslander Malcolm Rea and sustained wheel damage.

Joining Watts on the front row of the grid for race one tomorrow will be Queenslander Paul Morris in a NEMO Racing BMW 320. Morris was second fastest in the opening qualifying session with 53.15-secs. The second row comprises six-times Bathurst 1000 winner Jim Richards in a works Volvo Racing S40 and 1998 series champion Brad Jones in an Audi Sport Australia A4.

The second qualifying session, to determine starting positions for race two over 25 laps, began on a damp track. Richards recorded the fastest lap of 1-min 00.62-secs moments before heavy rain began to fall. The conditions did not allow any drivers to threaten Richards' time for the remainder of the session. Watts and Richards each scored a championship point for their pole positions and share the series lead.

DRIVER QUOTES:

PATRICK WATTS (Starion Team Peugeot 406): "I did my best time on my second 'flying' lap. There was more grip today . We've changed the settings and softened the car so it rides the camber changes better. I held Paul (Morris) up accidentally on his fast lap - if that hadn't happened he may have gone quicker than me."

JIM RICHARDS (Audi Sport Australia A4)): "The Yokohama control 'wet' tyres had good grip on the faster corners. We were out on the track at the right time just before the rain got heavier. It's going to tough out there tomorrow."

PAUL MORRIS (NEMO Racing BMW 320): "Even though my team isn't works backed I've decided to withdraw from the Independents Cup. I've probably got an advantage in technology over the other Independents drivers. My focus is on beating the works Volvo and Audi teams and winning the championship."

QUALIFYING - SESSION 1 (starting positions Race 1): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Patrick Watts (GB) Starion Team Peugeot 406 53.00 2. Paul Morris (Qld) NEMO Racing BMW 320 53.15 3. Jim Richards (Vic) Volvo Racing S40 53.35 4. Brad Jones (NSW) Audi Sport Australia A4 53.75 5. Matthew Coleman (Vic) Audi Sport Australia A4 54.16 6. John Henderson (NSW) Henderson Racing Opel Vectra 54.54 7. Peter Hills (NSW) Team Mondeo Ford 54.60 8. Mark Williamson (NSW) Volvo Racing S40 54.73 9. Dean Canto (NSW) Team Mondeo Ford 55.32 10. Jamie Wall (GB) CLS Motorsport Honda Accord 56.00

QUALIFYING - SESSION 2 (starting positions Race 2): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Jim Richards (Vic) Volvo Racing S40 1:00.62 2. Patrick Watts (GB) Starion Team Peugeot 406 1:00.66 3. Paul Morris (Qld) NEMO Racing BMW 320 1:01.18 4. Matthew Coleman (NSW) Audi Sport Australia A4 1:02.13 5. Brad Jones (NSW) Audi Sport Australia A4 1:03.39 6. Peter Hills (NSW) Team Mondeo Ford 1:04.44 7. John Henderson (NSW) Henderson Racing Opel Vectra 1:04.61 8. Jamie Wall (GB) CLS Motorsport Honda Accord 1:05.51 9. Mark Williamson (NSW) Volvo Racing S40 1:06.22 10. Malcolm Rea (Qld) Motorspt Concepts Toyota Carina 1:09.39

Mike Porter <mikep@qldnet.com.au>

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Series General
Drivers Jim Richards , Brad Jones , Dean Canto , Paul Morris , Mark Williamson , Peter Hill , Patrick Watts
Teams Williams