ASTC: Oran Park Qualifying

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 2 ORAN PARK, SYDNEY: Qualifying Report, Saturday, May 1 RICHARDS DOMINATES ORAN PARK QUALIFYING Works Volvo driver Jim Richards will start from pole position in both races in the second...

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 2 ORAN PARK, SYDNEY: Qualifying Report, Saturday, May 1

RICHARDS DOMINATES ORAN PARK QUALIFYING

Works Volvo driver Jim Richards will start from pole position in both races in the second round of the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship at Oran Park in Sydney tomorrow.

The six-times Bathurst 1000 winner earned the right to start from the front of the grid in the first race over 21 laps when he emerged fastest in the opening qualifying session today with a time of 43.43-secs around the 1.9km South Circuit in a Volvo Racing S40.

He finished 0.04-secs clear of England's Patrick Watts, who qualified second in a Starion Team Peugeot 406. The second-row will comprise defending champion Brad Jones, who qualified third in an Audi Sport Australia A4, and championship leader Paul Morris of the Gold Coast in a NEMO Racing ex-works BMW 320.

Sydney's Aaron McGill will start from the rear of the grid after his Ford Mondeo failed to re-start under its own power at the weigh station.

In the second qualifying session, to determine starting positions for the second race over 34 laps, Richards was again fastest with 43.28-secs, followed by Watts with 43.49-secs. Morris secured third position on the grid, ahead of Jones. Victorian Matthew Coleman qualified fifth for both races in a works Audi A4, and Sydney policeman John henderson will start from sixth position in the two events. The second race will feature a compulsory pit-stop for all cars to change two wheels. Richards earned two championship points for his pole positions and is now just two points behind Morris. Morris leads with 27 points, followed by Richards on 25, Jones on 18, and Watts on 16.

DRIVER QUOTES:

JIM RICHARDS (Volvo Racing S40): "The two (championship) points for getting the two pole positions could make a difference at the end of the season. We've made the car better and better every session since we came to Oran Park, and I'm confident the Yokohama control tyres will go the distance on the Volvo."

PATRICK WATTS (Starion Team Peugeot 406): "You're never happy unless you get pole, but being on the front row is the next best thing. The Volvo was too quick today. Maybe Peugeot power will win tomorrow."

PAUL MORRIS (NEMO Racing BMW 320): "The front-drive cars have more straight-line speed. Hopefully I can beat the others off the start line - if I can get into the first corner ahead of the others I think I can win."

QUALIFYING - SESSION 1 (starting positions Race 1): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Jim Richards (Vic) Volvo Racing S40 43.43 2. Patrick Watts (GB) Starion Team Peugeot 406 43.47 3. Brad Jones (NSW) Audi Sport Australia A4 43.66 4. Paul Morris (Qld) NEMO Racing BMW 320 43.69 5. Matthew Coleman (Vic) Audi Sport Australia A4 44.04 6. John Henderson (NSW) Henderson Racing Holden Vectra 44.40 7. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 44.57 8. Mark Williamson (NSW) Volvo Racing S40 44.59 9. Dean Canto (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 44.87 10. David Auger (Qld) Gun Racing Alfa Romeo 45.06 11. Tony Newman (NZ) TC Motorsport Peugeot 406 45.11 12. Anthony Robson (NSW) Grid Motorsport BMW 318 45.77

QUALIFYING - SESSION 2 (starting positions Race 2): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Jim Richards (Vic) Volvo Racing S40 43.28 2. Patrick Watts (GB) Starion Team Peugeot 406 43.49 3. Paul Morris (Qld) NEMO Racing BMW 320 43.68 4. Brad Jones (NSW) Audi Sport Australia A4 43.73 5. Matthew Coleman (NSW) Audi Sport Australia A4 43.96 6. John Henderson (NSW) Henderson Racing Holden Vectra 44.48 7. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 44.48 8. Mark Williamson (NSW) Volvo Racing S40 44.58 9. Dean Canto (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 45.03 10. David Auger (Qld) Gun Racing Alfa Romeo 45.11 11. Roger Townshend (NZ) Project Racing Honda Accord 45.28 12. Jim Cornish (NSW) Project Racing Nissan Primera 45.53

Mike Porter <mikep@qldnet.com.au>

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Series General
Drivers Jim Richards , Brad Jones , Dean Canto , Paul Morris , Mark Williamson , Aaron McGill , David Auger , Peter Hill , Anthony Robson , Patrick Watts
Teams Williams