Richards tops practice at Bathurst Fitzgerald second; Coleman back on track in new Porsche He may have won the famous Bathurst 1000 seven times, but racing veteran Jim Richards is not taking it easy on his rivals, topping the times in opening ...
Richards tops practice at Bathurst
Fitzgerald second; Coleman back on track in new Porsche
He may have won the famous Bathurst 1000 seven times, but racing veteran Jim Richards is not taking it easy on his rivals, topping the times in opening practice for round seven of the Carrera Cup at Mount Panorama, Bathurst today.
Richards, who will drive for the Holden Racing Team this weekend in addition to his Porsche racing program, lapped the 6.213-kilometre circuit in 2m15.9504s, a full 1.34s faster than his nearest rival, Peter Fitzgerald.
Times are expected to continue to fall in this afternoon's qualifying session, which will be held at 3.35pm today before the first race is held tomorrow.
While it was Richards on top of the times at the end of the session, fittingly, it was Matt Coleman who led the cars out onto the circuit when qualifying commenced at 8.50am this morning.
Coleman, 30, has prepared a brand new Porsche GT3 Cup car body shell for this weekend's event after his previous chassis was heavily damaged in an accident in the last round at Sandown in Melbourne four weeks ago.
Taking his time with the new machine, the 2002 Australian Porsche Cup champion was 19th fastest in the 27-car field.
New Zealand drivers are strongly represented in the top 10, with Christchurch racer Kevin Bell third fastest and team-mates Paul Pedersen and Andrew Bagnall in ninth and 10th.
Bell, who won his class in a New Zealand touring car BMW in the 1998 AMP Bathurst 1000, was only tenths of a second ahead of Tim Leahey, whose Greg Murphy Racing team-mate Peter Hill was quickly on the pace in eighth.
Fifth-fastest is VIP Petfoods driver Marcus Marshall, who is making his first start at Bathurst in a sedan. He has raced Formula Fords at the Mountain, but this weekend is his first time at the Mountain in both his Porsche and the Team Brock Commodore he'll drive in the V8 event on Sunday with Greg Ritter.
Bathurst veteran Andrew Miedecke was sixth, ahead of the second VIP Petfoods car of Tony Quinn.
Qualifying will be held at 3.35pm this afternoon, with the first race to be run tomorrow at 11.05am. Race two will be on Saturday at 3.15pm, with the final race acting as the curtain-raiser to the V8 Supercar event at 7.50am.
<pre> Top 10 Positions - Practice
Pos No Driver Car/Team Time 1 5 Jim Richards OAMPS/Greenfield Mowers 2:15.9504 2 33 Peter Fitzgerald ENJO/Fitzgerald Racing 2:17.2875 3 86 Kevin Bell Gtech Bellmor/Int' Motorsport NZ 2:17.8691 4 55 Tim Leahey Greg Murphy Racing -- Team Braun 2:18.1198 5 31 Marcus Marshall VIP Pet Foods Racing 2:18.1575 6 35 Andrew Miedecke Miedecke Motorsport 2:19.1009 7 32 Tony Quinn VIP Pet Foods Racing 2:19.6401 8 66 Peter Hill Greg Murphy Racing -- Team Braun 2:19.8326 9 96 Paul Pedersen LakeSawn Lumber/Int' Motorsport NZ 2:20.7134 10 82 Andrew Bagnall Serco Online/Int' Motorsport NZ 2:20.8121