BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 8 ORAN PARK, NSW: Practice Report, Friday, August 28 JONES FASTEST - PROBLEMS FOR TITLE RIVALS Works Audi driver Brad Jones emerged fastest as title rivals Cameron McConville and Jim ...
BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 8 ORAN PARK, NSW: Practice Report, Friday, August 28
JONES FASTEST - PROBLEMS FOR TITLE RIVALS
Works Audi driver Brad Jones emerged fastest as title rivals Cameron McConville and Jim Richards had to contend with problems at Oran Park today in practice for Sunday's eighth and final round of the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship.
Championship leader Jones was fastest in all three practice sessions on the 2.6km circuit and clocked a best lap of 1-min 9.68-secs in an Audi Sport Australia A4 quattro. The Albury driver was followed by team-mate McConville, who recorded 1-min 9.69-secs, while five-times Bathurst 1000 winner Richards was third with 1-min 10.24-secs in a front-drive Volvo Dealer Team S40.
McConville was forced to withdraw from the final session early because of engine problems. Richards spun off the track at the end of the main straight at more than 200km/h in the first session, but did not damage the Volvo. In the third session the rear spoiler on the Volvo dislodged itself. Jones leads the championship with 162 points, followed by McConville 158, and Richards 155.
Newly-crowned Independents Cup champion Cameron McLean was fourth fastest in practice in a Greenfield Mowers BMW 320, with Michelin tyre technician Trevor Sheumack fifth in a 1996-specification Audi A4, and Sydney's Warren Luff a creditable sixth in a Knight Racing Ford Mondeo.
Sheumack is contesting a round of the championship for the first time since his Super Touring debut in the second round of the 1998 series at Oran Park. His Audi is being prepared and overseen at Oran Park by Jones' team. Luff is making his debut in this year's championship. The 22-year-old drove a Honda Accord in the final two rounds of the 1997 championship. Qualifying at Oran Park will be held tomorrow.
BRAD JONES (Audi Sport Australia A4): "Things are falling into place nicely, but some of the others are having problems - maybe it's an omen. At the same time we haven't seen the best of what Cameron (McConville) the Volvo, or Cameron McLean in the BMW can do. I'm happy with the balance of the car and we've gone for a safe option with tyres."
JIM RICHARDS (Volvo Dealer Team S40: "It was a day to forget. The rear of the car stepped out at the left-hander at the end of the straight in the first session and I went off. Later in the day the rear wing blew off on the straight."
TREVOR SHEUMACK (Audi A4): "I've improved my lap times by 2-seconds since I first got in the car. I'm still learning about the car so hopefully things will keep getting better as I do more laps. I'm not here to interfere with the championship or help Audi against the Volvo - my main aim is to get a good result which may help my driving career. It's good of Brad (Jones) and his team to let me drive their 'spare' car here."
WARREN LUFF (Knight Racing Ford Mondeo): "I'm very happy with sixth. The car has been raced by Peter Hills this year so it's fairly well sorted. The only problem has been brakes - it got exciting a few times when the pedal went to the floor. If I hold my position I'll qualify on the third row, which would be good for my first Super Touring drive of the year."
PRACTICE TIMES (Friday): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Brad Jones (NSW) Audi Sport Australia A4 quattro 1:09.68 2. Cameron McConville (Vic) Audi Sport Australia A4 quattro 1:09.69 3. Jim Richards (Vic) Volvo Dealer Team S40 1:10.24 4. Cameron McLean (Qld) Greenfield Mowers BMW 320 1:10.54 5. Trevor Sheumack (Vic) Audi A4 1:11.63 6. Warren Luff (NSW) Newington Real Estate Ford Mondeo 1:12.92 7. John Henderson (NSW)Henderson Racing Opel Vectra 1:13.09 8. Tony Newman (NZ) Fastway Couriers Peugeot 406 1:13.23 9. Mark Adderton (NSW) BOC Gases Honda Accord 1:13.58 10. Ron Searle (NSW) Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry 1:13.61