Barbagallo: Sunday race report

Steven Richards celebrates V8 Supercar Championship Series victory Team Perkins Racing's Steven Richards recorded his first victory in almost five years by taking the Perth V8 400 in a drama charged day where reigning champion Marcos Ambrose...

Steven Richards celebrates V8 Supercar Championship Series victory

Team Perkins Racing's Steven Richards recorded his first victory in almost five years by taking the Perth V8 400 in a drama charged day where reigning champion Marcos Ambrose was docked championship points for reckless driving.

Richards has been a consistent top five performer for several years but had not stood on the No.1 dias since 2000. He recorded victory in Perth today with a third in race one, victory in race two and then second in race three.

"Since I joined Larry's (Perkins) Team we have been so close to a result like today but just fallen short on numerous occasions," Richards said.

"After a slow start to the year we've now got to keep this up until Bathurst with the drop your worst round system in place until then. This is a great way to get started."

Ambrose' team-mate Russell Ingall finished second for the event with Ambrose third.

Mark Skaife's hopes of his first V8 Supercar Championship win in Perth nosedived within a few hundred metres of the start of race two when he and Ambrose came together on the first corner. Skaife ended up in the sand and Ambrose at the rear of the field.

It appeared that Ambrose had pushed up on Skaife's outside as they entered the opening corner but subsequent contact pushed them both off the track.

Ambrose was subsequently charged with reckless driving and docked 25 championship points, as well as having to complete a drive through penalty during the race. He later claimed not to have pleaded guilty but accepted the fine.

"I don't agree with either decision but for the sake of the Championship you've just got to forget about it -- that's the deal," Ambrose said.

"It's a tough sport for the adjudicators as well, they've got to make tough decisions. It's done, it's all over and you've got to move on."

Skaife didn't mince his words about the incident when he returned to pit lane, claiming that Ambrose was out of order in the incident.

"That was Championship deciding stuff," Skaife said.

"We were in a position to win this event and now we've got a car to fix. We were always going to be side by side from the start. In that situation there should be no crowding.

"The day he thinks I'm ever going to quit driving into the first corner and he can drive across and force me off the road ... he's kidding himself. It's very disappointing."

Ambrose received a black lag for the incident which pushed him back to last. But the reigning champion proved that despite the off track excursion and subsequent black flag that he can dominate in front or in traffic.

Ambrose still came from dead last to finish fifth for the race, keeping his championship lead. His team-mate finished second to Richards who had finished third in race one yesterday.

The wash up means that Ambrose' championship lead was reduced to 11 points from his team-mate Ingall. Ambrose leads on 519 points from Ingall (508), Richards (411), Paul Weel (403), Skaife (390) and Paul Radisich (365).

Super Cheap Auto Racing's Greg Murphy assumed the lead in the first race midway through and it appeared as if he had it sewn up. But a problem with his car forced him to retire on lap 40, giving Richards the lead and ultimately the victory in race two.

Team BOC's Brad Jones suffered his second successive rollover in the last race of the day when he ran into the sand with the side digging in, leaving the car to flip on its roof. Jones was also involved in a spectacular rollover in the last round in New Zealand.

Jones was unhurt in the crash.

-avesco-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Brad Jones , Mark Skaife , Paul Weel , Paul Radisich , Steven Richards