ASTC: Oran Park Practice Report

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 2 ORAN PARK, SYDNEY: Qualifying Report, Friday, April 30 RICHARDS & VOLVO FASTEST IN SUPER TOURING Six-times Bathurst 1000 champion Jim Richards mastered variable weather conditions at...

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 2 ORAN PARK, SYDNEY: Qualifying Report, Friday, April 30

RICHARDS & VOLVO FASTEST IN SUPER TOURING

Six-times Bathurst 1000 champion Jim Richards mastered variable weather conditions at Oran Park today to emerge fastest in practice for the second round of the 1999 BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship on Sunday.

Richards, who is second in the championship behind Queensland's Paul Morris, clocked the quickest lap of 43.49-secs on the 1.9km Oran Park South Circuit in a works Volvo S40. He set the time in the third of the three 30-mins sessions before it was disrupted by rain. Session two was also rain-affected.

Defending Super Touring champion Brad Jones of Albury was second fastest in practice, 0.33-secs behind Richards, in an Audi Sport Australia A4, followed by Morris in a NEMO Racing BMW 320 and Englishman Patrick Watts in a Starion Team Peugeot 406.

Sydney policeman John Henderson completed the top five in the Holden Vectra which Queenslander Cameron McLean drove to victory in the Independents Cup in 1997. Henderson finished fourth in a championship race at Oran Park in 1998.

Briton Jamie Wall, who finished eighth in both races in the previous round at Lakeside in Queensland on April 18, was a late withdrawal from Oran Park. The Honda Accord he drove at Lakeside is being raced at Oran Park by New Zealander Roger Townshend, best known as a rally competitor. Townshend had never driven a Super Touring car before today and he finished 12th fastest in practice.

Morris currently leads the championship with 27 points, followed by Richards on 23, Jones on 18, and Watts 16. Jones has won the past four championship races at Oran Park.

DRIVER QUOTES:

JIM RICHARDS (Volvo Racing S40): "We spent most of the day tuning the car to suit this circuit. Unfortunately we lost dry-track time because of the rain, but it's the same for everyone. We're going quick, but there are three or four others who can win here."

BRAD JONES (Audi Sport Australia A4): "I'm happy with the car set-up so I didn't go out in the last session. I couldn't see the point of pounding around for the sake of it. We've tested here this year and that's been a help."

JOHN HENDERSON (Henderson Racing Holden Vectra): "This is my 'home' track so I'm hoping for a good result. I was fourth here in a race last year - if I could go one better and get on the podium this weekend it would be fantastic. I'm in front of two works cars at the moment and I'm keen to stay there."

QUALIFYING TIMES (Friday): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Jim Richards (Vic) Volvo Racing Australia S40 43.49-secs 2. Brad Jones (NSW) Audi Sport Australia A4 43.82 3. Paul Morris (Qld) NEMO Racing BMW 320 43.90 4. Patrick Watts (GB) Starion Team Peugeot 406 44.04 5. John Henderson (NSW) Henderson Racing Holden Vectra 44.66 6. Matthew Coleman (Vic) Audi Sport Australia A4 44.67 7. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 44.99 8. Mark Williamson (NSW) Volvo Racing Australia S40 45.13 9. Tony Newman (NZ) TC Motorsport Peugeot 406 45.21 10. Dean Canto (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 45.40 11. David Auger (Qld) Gun Racing Alfa Romeo 45.49 12. Roger Townshend (NZ) Project Racing Honda Accord 45.96 13. Troy Searle (NSW) Roadchill Express BMW 318 46.38 14. Jim Cornish (NSW) Project Racing Nissan Primera 46.71

NEW SPONSOR FOR TEAM MONDEO

Sydney-based Team Mondeo today announced it had secured Signature Security Systems as sponsor for the remainder of the 1999 BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship. The team's drivers are Sydney pair Peter Hills, who leads the Independents Cup, and Dean Canto.

Signature Security Systems is Australia's fastest growing electronic security monitoring company, and Chief Executive Officer James Covert said he expected the commitment to motor racing to be long-term.

"Team Mondeo is an Australian success story that racing fans can easily appreciate," said Covert. "Their story is like outs - start small, work hard, focus on what you do well, and you can be a success."

Hills said he was delighted with the backing for his steadily improving team.

"I believe that the major restructuring of the team in the off-season has made this possible," said Hills. The changes to our engineering and management staff have added new levels of professionalism as we strive to operate to the standard of a works team. We are also working very hard on a program of off-track activities to add marketing value for our corporate partners."

Mike Porter - mikep@qldnet.com.au

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