Leahey scores breakthrough win for Greg Murphy Racing; jump-start robs Richards; Kiwi Bell wins first race. ORANGE-based driver Tim Leahey has broken through for his first round victory in the Carrera Cup at Hidden Valley Raceway despite not ...
Leahey scores breakthrough win for Greg Murphy Racing; jump-start robs Richards; Kiwi Bell wins first race.
ORANGE-based driver Tim Leahey has broken through for his first round victory in the Carrera Cup at Hidden Valley Raceway despite not winning one of the three races.
The 27-year-old, driving for Greg Murphy Racing, finished second in today's earlier race after running second in the opening race yesterday.
However, a jump start by Jim Richards in the third 15-lapper denied the championship leader his third win and the resultant drive-through penalty left Richards fighting to an eventual sixth place finish that netted him second for the round.
Kiwi Kevin Bell passed Leahey on a re-start to take the lead on lap six of the final race, going on to take his first race victory in the Carrera Cup, and third place for the round.
But the victory laurels went to Leahey, who actually was going to skip the round before last minute funding was sourced to get him to Darwin.
"I couldn't believe it about the Safety Car," said Leahey.
"We had a fuel pressure problem that made the engine cut out on the restart. But still, it's great to win the round. We probably didn't deserve to win the round without winning that last race, but we got it. A win is a win and I'll take it for sure.
"I really wanted to win a race desperately, but I'll take the round win for sure!"
Equally thrilled was Bell, the Christchurch-based Kiwi happy with his win.
"I was kicking myself after I spun out of the first race yesterday so I owed this one to our hard-working crew. I was really pushing on that restart to make up for it."
Richards retains his title lead as the series heads to Queensland Raceway in July.
""When I selected first gear on the grid, I was trying to adjust my foot on the clutch peal and it just slipped off enough to make the car move forward," said Richards.
Earlier today, Richards won race two comfortably, extending his pointscore lead over VIP Pet Foods driver Marcus Marshall, who was a retirement from race two due to a heater hose that had become disconnected while the Queenslander ran in third place.
Marshall, who won the last round at Winton, was in sparkling form in the final race, carving his way through the field to pick up important championship points in third place.
The VIP team were forced to work hard between today's races, team manager Donald Kingdon and his crew changing the clutch in the #32 car of Tony Quinn at breakneck speed as well as repairing Marshall's #31 Porsche.
The final 15-lapper was an exciting contest, with plenty of action for the large Northern Territory crowd, who were seeing the Carrera Cup for the first time.
Bell's team-mate, Kiwi Paul Pedersen, had a fifth and sixth place in today's two races to make it a strong weekend for the International Motorsport NZ team, while 2002 Porsche Cup champ Matt Coleman fought back from a disastrous first race yesterday to take fourth in the final race.
ENJO driver Peter Fitzgerald was on target for a podium result for the round in race three, though he was involved with a collision with Geoff Morgan at turn one that forced Fitzgerald to pit with a rubbing tyre after the ENJO car spun in turn one. Morgan's suspension damage was too severe for him to continue and prompted the only Safety Car period of the race.
"We changed the car for today's first race and it was ordinary so we changed the setup back for the final race and the car was really good, which makes it all the more a shame," said Fitzgerald.
Among those to perform strongly over the round were Becks-backed driver Dean Grant, Coleman's team-mate James Dutton (who finished with a pair of eighths in today's two races), and Jonathon Webb, who all moved forward through the field over the course of the weekend after qualifying a bit further back in the field.
It was an up-and-down day for the Greg Murphy Racing outfit though, with clutch problems sidelining both Peter Hill and Roger Oakeshott for the final race, the team electing to save the cars rather than risk any more damage. Another to miss the last race was Andrew Taplin.
After finishing fifth in yesterday's race, the Adelaide-based driver had a door which wouldn't close as well as having no neutral in his gearbox.
Round five of the series will be at Queensland Raceway on July 18-20.
Championship Points after round four: Richards 639, Marshall 576, Fitzgerald 483, Leahey 447, Bell 360, Coleman 285, Pedersen 276, Miedecke 245, Cook 216, Grant 198.