Clutch problem fails to slow Richards Veteran scores pole; Leahey, Fitzgerald and Marshall within striking distance Seven-time Bathurst champion Jim Richards has scored pole position for round seven of the Carrera Cup at Mount Panorama, ...
Clutch problem fails to slow Richards
Veteran scores pole; Leahey, Fitzgerald and Marshall within striking distance
Seven-time Bathurst champion Jim Richards has scored pole position for round seven of the Carrera Cup at Mount Panorama, Bathurst, however it wasn't all smooth-sailing for the championship leader.
Richards, who topped the morning practice session earlier today, only completed three laps in the 20-minute session before heading to the pits with a clutch failure.
The OAMPS/Greenfield Mowers driver had lapped in 2m16.1277s before the problem, but the time was still good enough for him to score his sixth pole position of the season.
A red flag with one minute and 45 seconds to run in the session meant that drivers were unable to improve their times in a last-minute dash, after Queenslander Charlie O'Brien hit the wall at Caltex Chase.
Tim Leahey, from nearby Orange, was second fastest in one of three Greg Murphy Racing machines, just three-tenths of a second slower than Richards.
"That last flying lap of mine I'd started well but I'd only made it through the first turn and then the red flag came out," he said.
Veteran Peter Fitzgerald was third quickest, perfectly within striking distance of the lead duo. Sitting third in the championship, the former Australian Production Car Champion felt he was losing time to his rivals on the climb up the Mountain but gaining it back coming back down.
Marcus Marshall was fourth fastest in the #31 VIP Petfoods Porsche, the Queenslander complaining of a lack of heat in his tyres. He will start from fourth in tomorrow's first race at 11.05am.
Kiwi Kevin Bell was fifth fastest, clear of Jonathon Webb (Tekno Autosport), who is coming off his best result of the season at Sandown, and 21-year-old Klark Quinn.
Webb (at age 19) and Quinn (21) are the two youngest drivers in the field, and out-paced Paul Pedersen, Tony Quinn and Matt Coleman to fill competitive positions in the top 10 places.
Coleman's result of a top 10 qualifying effort is a miraculous fight back after he was forced to build up a new car over the last four weeks to replace the car that was crashed in the last round at Sandown.
The Carrera Cup cars will be back in action at Bathurst tomorrow, with race one starting at 11.05am. Races two and three on Saturday and Sunday will be telecast live on Network Ten's telecast of the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 over the weekend.
<pre> Top 10 Positions - Qualifying
Pos No Driver Car/Team Time 1 5 Jim Richards OAMPS/Greenfield Mowers 2:16.1277 2 55 Tim Leahey Greg Murphy Racing -- Team Braun 2:16.4161 3 33 Peter Fitzgerald ENJO/Fitzgerald Racing 2:16.7847 4 31 Marcus Marshall VIP Petfoods Racing 2:16.9414 5 86 Kevin Bell Gtech Bellmor/Int' Motorsport NZ 2:17.0962 6 22 Jonathon Webb Tekno Autosports 2:18.1790 7 23 Klark Quinn Pioneer/RT Motorsport 2:18.3175 8 96 Paul Pedersen LakeSawn Lumber/Int' Motorsport NZ 2:18.8686 9 32 Tony Quinn VIP Petfoods Racing 2:19.0669 10 62 Matt Coleman Matt Coleman Racing 2:19.0691