Leahey and Marshall chase home 'Gentleman Jim' in Carrera Cup opener. The heat of Darwin wasn't enough to stop Jim Richards from taking his eighth race win of the season, as the expat Kiwi took race one of the Carrera Cup at Hidden Valley...
Leahey and Marshall chase home 'Gentleman Jim' in Carrera Cup opener.
The heat of Darwin wasn't enough to stop Jim Richards from taking his eighth race win of the season, as the expat Kiwi took race one of the Carrera Cup at Hidden Valley Raceway today.
Richards made a strong start and held out fellow front-row starter Tim Leahey into the first corner and was never headed over the 15-lap race distance. He now holds the lead in the championship over Marshall and Fitzgerald.
Leahey ran a lonely race to finish in second place, while Winton round winner Marcus Marshall finished third in his VIP Pet Foods car.
The race, the first of three for the weekend, was full of action, as plenty of drivers encountered dramas.
The first occurred on the run into the first corner, where Peter Hill (Greg Murphy Racing) and Andrew Miedecke (Miedecke Motorsport) made contact and both ran off the circuit. Hill pitted and finished a lap down while Miedecke eventually retired.
Also among the retirements were Scott Shearman and Jack Crocker, both due to clutch problems, while Kiwi Kevin Bell threw away a potential top-five result with a spin on the first lap at the CSR Hairpin. He recovered to finish 11th in the 22-car field.
"I spun on my own accord so all the hard work I did in qualifying went down the gurgler," said Bell.
Also in dramas were Victorian Rodney Jane and Matt Coleman. The former, running strongly in fifth, suffered a deflating tyre, which forced him off the road, only to make contact with the following Coleman when his #7 Porsche returned to the track surface.
Both were forced to pit to replace tyres, with Coleman now a possible non-starter in the final two races due to a tyre shortage after damaging tyres in practice and qualifying incidents.
While Peter Fitzgerald ran home to fourth spot, having closed on Marshall in the closing stages, the fight for fifth spot was the highlight of the race.
South Australian Andrew Taplin scored his best result of the season with fifth-spot, withstanding immense pressure from New Zealander Paul Pedersen, James Dutton, Geoff Morgan and Jonathon Webb. Tony Quinn finished 10th after struggling with a gearbox problem. "I had lost top gear which let Pedersen close up on me at the end of the straight, so that made it hard," said Taplin.
Webb was another form driver in the race, moving from 20th on the grid to finish ninth at race's end. He suffered a clutch failure during qualifying and had been struggling for pace in practice, so the performance was all the more impressive by the 19-year-old.
The Carrera Cup will return to the 2.9-kilometre Hidden Valley layout tomorrow, with two races to be run at 12.45pm and 3.40pm.