ASTC: Oran Park Race Report

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 5 ORAN PARK, NSW: Race Report, Sunday, July 18 MORRIS WINS AND TAKES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD Queensland’s Paul Morris today regained the lead in the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring ...

BOC GASES AUSTRALIAN SUPER TOURING CHAMPIONSHIP - ROUND 5 ORAN PARK, NSW: Race Report, Sunday, July 18

MORRIS WINS AND TAKES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD

Queensland’s Paul Morris today regained the lead in the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship after a controversial victory in round five at Oran Park in Sydney in fine conditions.

Morris led the championship after the opening round at Lakeside in Queensland in April, but then slipped to second behind works Volvo driver Jim Richards. The 31-year-old Gold Coast driver regained first place in the championship by winning all three races at Oran Park amid a controversial incident in the second event with Richards, which was investigated by Race Director Peter Wollerman. No action was taken against Morris, but Volvo Racing team manager George Shepheard later protested against the decision. The protest will be heard at the next round at Queensland Raceway on August 1.

The three race wins by Morris before a large crowd exceeding 8,000, plus his pole position, earned him 46 points at Oran Park, and boosted his championship tally to 152. Richards, who was unable to contest the third and final race because of an engine failure, scored 24 points for two second places and his championship total is now 131. Audi Sport Australia team-mates Brad Jones and Matthew Coleman are equal third in the championship on 103 points.

In the first race, over 16 laps, Morris led from start to finish in his NEMO Racing BMW 320 and took the chequered flag in 11-mins 47.97-secs. Richards was second, 3.17-secs behind Morris, followed by Audi Sport Australia team-mates Brad Jones of Albury and Victorian Matthew Coleman. Jones was second in the opening stages, before being passed by Richards.

Morris won the second race over 21 laps in 15-mins 45.28-secs, and when he took the chequered flag he had a margin of 0.36-secs from Richards. Jones and Coleman were again third and fourth. The incident between Morris and Richards occurred on lap 19. Their cars made contact when Richards made an attempt to pass the BMW through the right-left section known as the ‘Flip-Flop’. Morris was able to continue racing without losing significant momentum after the cars collided, but Richards was forced to over a kerb and onto dirt.

The incident damaged the engine casting on Richards’ car, and it could not be repaired before the third race. While Richards watched from pit-lane, Morris drove to victory in the 31-lap race in 23-mins 47.74-secs after a close battle with Jones. The works Audi spearhead led the race twice, but an engine failure forced him to retire on lap 28. Morris won by 20.20-secs ahead of Coleman, while Richards’ new team-mate Mark Adderton finished third, his best result since his championship debut in 1994. Independents Cup drivers Alan Letcher and Michael Downard, both driving BMWs, and David Auger in an Alfa Romeo were all forced to retire during the race after being involved in incidents.

Volvo retained the lead in the Manufacturers Championship with 159 points, followed by Audi on 153. Sydney’s Peter Hills was the leading Independents Cup driver in all three races in his Signature Security System Ford Mondeo. He leads the Independents Cup with 164 points.

DRIVER QUOTES:

PAUL MORRIS (NEMO Racing BMW 320): “The last time we were at Oran Park the Volvo blew us and everyone else away, but our team has closed the gap since then. These results are a plus as far as the championship is concerned, but there are still three rounds to go and we’re not getting carried away. The incident with Jim (Richards) happened when I got baulked by a slower car. Jim pulled alongside me as we came up to the kink. I was on the right as we turned right - the cars touched, but I didn’t try and drive anyone off the road. I tried to give the Volvo some room.”

JIM RICHARDS (Volvo Racing S40): “I was beside him (Paul Morris), or slightly in front. I expected Paul to give me some room, but he didn’t. I had nowhere to go except the dirt. Unfortunately the engine was damaged when I hit the kerb. I was able to finish, but I had to miss the last race.”

BRAD JONES (Audi Sport Australia A4): “We were closer to the BMW and the Volvo compared to last time we were at Oran Park. I thought I was going to win the last race - Paul (Morris) and I passed and re-passed each other a few times and then the engine let go in my car.”

RESULTS - RACE 1 (16 laps): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) NEMO Racing BMW 320 11:47.97 2. Jim Richards (Vic) Volvo Racing S40 11:51.14 3. Brad Jones (NSW) Audi Sport Australia A4 11:55.52 4. Matthew Coleman (Vic) Audi Sport Australia A4 12:00.92 5. Mark Adderton (NSW) Volvo Racing S40 12:05.42 6. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 12:12.80 7. Dean Canto (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 12:14.12 8. Tony Newman (NZ) TC Motorsport Peugeot 406 12:20.95 9. David Auger (Qld) Gun Racing Alfa Romeo 12:21.59 10. Luke Searle (NSW) Roadchill Express-SAE BMW 318 12:26.64 FASTEST LAP: Morris 43.39-secs

RESULTS - RACE 2 (21 laps): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) NEMO Racing BMW 320 15:45.28 2. Jim Richards (Vic) Volvo Racing S40 15:45.64 3. Brad Jones (NW) Audi Sport Australia A4 15:47.05 4. Matthew Coleman (Vic) Audi Sport Australia A4 15:54.39 5. Peter Hills (NSW) Team Mondeo Ford 16:02.17 6. David Auger (Qld) Gun Racing Alfa Romeo 16:11.89 7. Tony Newman (NZ) TC Motorsport Peugeot 406 16:14.28 8. Anthony Robson (NSW) Project Racing Honda Accord 16:14.43 9. Mark Adderton (NSW) Volvo Racing S40 16:16.29 10. Luke Searle (NSW) Roadchill-Express-SAE BMW 318 16:18.55 FASTEST LAP: Richards 43.54-secs

RESULTS - RACE 3 (31 laps): POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1. Paul Morris (Qld) NEMO Racing BMW 320 23:47.74 2. Matthew Coleman (Vic) Audi Sport Australia A4 24:07.94 3. Mark Adderton (NSW) Volvo Racing S40 24:14.27 4. Peter Hills (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 24:20.32 5. Dean Canto (NSW) Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 24:29.00 6. Anthony Robson (NSW) Project Racing Honda Accord Lap down 7. Tony Newman (NZ) TC Motorsport Peugeot 406 Lap down 8. Aaron McGill (NSW) Trinovin Ford Mondeo Lap down 9. Luke Searle (NSW) Roadchill Express-SAE BMW 318 Lap down 10. Jim Cornish (NSW) Visit Your Vet Nissan Primera 2 laps down FASTEST LAP: Jones 43.61-secs

DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 5): Morris 152, Richards 131, Jones 103, Coleman 103, Hills 70, Watts 40, Canto 33, Adderton 29, Henderson 23, Robson 22, Auger 21, Williamson 17, Newman 16, McGill 13, Wall 8, L. Searle 8, Townshend 3, Rea 3, Cornish 3, Elias 1, Leslight 1

MANUFACTURERS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 5): Volvo 159, Audi 153

TEAMS CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 5): Audi Sport Australia 261, Volvo Racing 208, Signature Security Systems Ford Mondeo 144, Project Racing 77, TC Motorsport 17

INDEPENDENTS CUP CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 5): Hills 164, Canto 87, Robson 71, Auger 70, Newman 56, Henderson 55, Watts 49, McGill 48, L. Searle 40, Cornish 28, Wall 22, Rea 19, Leslight 14, Elias 14, Stones 10, Townshend 8, T. Searle 7, Letcher 7, Zonneveld 5, Downard 4

Mike Porter mikep@qldnet.com.au

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Series General
Drivers Jim Richards , Brad Jones , Dean Canto , Paul Morris , Luke Searle , Aaron McGill , David Auger , Peter Hill , Anthony Robson , Alan Letcher
Teams Williams