AMP BATHURST 1000 SUPER TOURING ENDURANCE RACE MOUNT PANORAMA, BATHURST: Qualifying Report, Saturday, October 3 SWEDE MOMENT FOR RYDELL & VOLVO Swede Rickard Rydell bettered the Super Touring race lap record by almost two seconds at Mount ...
AMP BATHURST 1000 SUPER TOURING ENDURANCE RACE MOUNT PANORAMA, BATHURST: Qualifying Report, Saturday, October 3
SWEDE MOMENT FOR RYDELL & VOLVO
Swede Rickard Rydell bettered the Super Touring race lap record by almost two seconds at Mount Panorama today to provide Volvo with its first pole position in the 36-year history of the AMP Bathurst 1000 motor race.
Rydell, who clinched this year's British Touring Car Championship title for the Swedish manufacturer two weeks ago, won pole position for tomorrow's Bathurst event with the fastest time in the one-lap dash between the top 10 qualifiers. The 31-year-old florist from Stockholm clocked 2-mins 14.92-secs around the 6.2km circuit in the works Volvo S40 he is driving with five-times Bathurst 1000 champion Jim Richards. Rydell's time, set in fine conditions, was 1.48-secs quicker than his closest rival, Australia's Steven Richards in a Nissan Primera, and 1.87-secs inside the race lap record set 12 months ago by England's Jason Plato in a Williams-Renault. Rydell said it had not been decided whether he or Jim Richards would drive the first stint in the pole position-winning car in the race. Steven Richards' team-mate Matthew Neal of Great Britain will start the race in the Nissan.
The second row of the grid will comprise Volvo S40 Racing team-mates Tim Harvey of Great Britain and Swede Jan Nilsson, who qualified third, and New Zealand's Greg Murphy and South Australian Russell Ingall in a British-sourced 888 Racing Holden Vectra. Harvey recorded a lap of 2-mins 16.46- secs in the top 10 qualifying, and Murphy, who had been fastest in qualifying yesterday, clocked 2-mins 16.77-secs. Harvey will start the race in the Volvo and Ingall will have the first stint in the Vectra.
Queensland's Paul Morris, who won pole position for the 1997 Bathurst 1000 in a works BMW Motorsport 320, qualified sixth in an ORIX Audi A4 quattro. Morris finished first in 'The Great Race' 12 months ago, but was disqualified after New Zealand team-mate Craig Baird exceeded the 3-hrs 30- mins continuous driving limit. Morris has raced in the PPG Indy-Lights Championship in the United States this year.
RICKARD RYDELL (Volvo S40 Racing): "We didn't use a qualifying engine for the top 10 - it was a race engine. We made some set-up changes with the car and that improved the performance. I was surprised at the (pole position) lap time, because it was much faster than we had gone in practice. The race is more important, and we need reliability to win."
STEVEN RICHARDS (Team Dynamics Nissan Primera): "My qualifying lap was good, but there were a couple of small mistakes. The Volvo is quicker, but the lap times in the race won't be as fast as they were in qualifying. We've been working our way forward in car speed all week and I think we're going to be dangerous in the race."
GREG MURPHY (888 Racing Holden Vectra): "We ran harder tyres than yesterday so we've slipped back in positions. I didn't want to do anything silly in the top 10 run-off. If our car lasts the distance we should be right up there amongst it."
PAUL MORRIS (ORIX Audi A4 quattro): "This is the first time I've been in a touring car for almost a year. I'm happy with sixth considering it's my first drive in the Audi. I'd like to win to make up for what happened last year."
QUALIFYING TIMES - TOP 10 (first driver named drove top 10 qualifying lap):
POS DRIVER CAR TIME
1. R.Rydell(Sweden)-J.Richards(Vic) Volvo S40 Racing 2:14.92 2. S.Richards(Vic)-M.Neal(GB) Team Dynamics Nissan Primera 2:16.41 3. T.Harvey(GB)-J.Nilsson(Sweden) Volvo S40 Racing 2:16.46 4. G.Murphy(NZ)-R.Ingall(SA) 888 Racing Holden Vectra 2:16.77 5. D.Warwick(GB)-J.Cleland(GB) 888 Racing Vauxhall Vectra 2:17.31 6. P.Morris(Qld)-P.Radisich(NZ) ORIX Audi A4 quattro 2:18.26 7. B.Jones(NSW)-C.McConville(Vic) ORIX Audi A4 quattro 2:18.36 8. L.Brookes(GB)-R.Gravett(GB) Brookes Motorsport Honda Accord 2:18.99 9. C.McLean(Qld)-T.Scott(Qld) Greenfield Mowers BMW 320 2:19.17 10. P.Hills(NSW)-D.Beninca(NSW) Knight Racing Ford Mondeo 2:22.94