Bathurst: Top ten shootout report

Richards sets up family V8 Supercar day at Bathurst 1000 Steven Richards will start the 2004 Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst 1000 from pole position after winning the Top 10 Shootout from Jason Bright by 1/1000th of a second. Richards, a...

Richards sets up family V8 Supercar day at Bathurst 1000

Steven Richards will start the 2004 Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst 1000 from pole position after winning the Top 10 Shootout from Jason Bright by 1/1000th of a second.

Richards, a two-time winner of the race, will share his Castrol Perkins Commodore tomorrow with his seven-time race winning father, Jim.

The team's second car piloted by Paul Dumbrell and Tony Longhurst, jumped into third spot after starting the Shootout in ninth, with last year's pole winner Greg Murphy complete an all Holden front two rows of the grid. Championship leader Marcos Ambrose again claimed top honours for Ford, taking fifth with a strong lap first up in the shootout.

This is Richards' first pole at Bathurst, and the second of his career.

"All the teams work hard, and we've been working to our game plan and it has all been going well," Richards said. "Paul (Dumbrell) put the pressure on early, and I knew his time was going to be hard to beat."

His co-driver and father Jim rated their chances highly.

"We are here to win this race," he said. "It is great to start in the front of the field. Steve did a great job, I'm very proud."

Richards said he was cautious during the opening part of his lap, but when the tyres came in he was able to press harder. His last sector was more than a quarter of a second better Dumbrell's allowing him to leap frog his teammate and settle in to watch Bright and Murphy try to knock him off.

Bright came close, and later said the narrow margin was disappointing.

"It was close, it was pretty disappointing," Bright said. "My guys came over the radio and said we were first, and then they said, 'hang on, we're second'. By the time I got into pitlane I knew I was second, I'll do better next year.

"We've known all weekend this car is good enough for 7.7 or 7.5, but you've still got to do it. The car has been a quick car all year and we're looking for a good day tomorrow."

Dumbrell was the second starter in the shootout and held onto the top spot of the grid until the last three runners went onto the track. In the end, only Richards and Bright were able to better his time as he went on to record his best ever qualifying position in the V8 Supercar Series.

"Up over the top it was a little hairy to say the least," Dumbrell said of his lap. "And I guess I was a little bit of a pansy at the end. But I didn't want to have to face Larry if I didn't bring it home.

"But today means nothing in terms of tomorrow, and we've just to make sure we go away tonight and do our homework and make sure we've got everything right for the race. Any time you've got two cars on the front row of the grid here is an amazing thing."

Murphy fancied his chances of a repeat of last year's pole position and was a little surprised with his time after the lap.

"It felt really great, it was tidy and clean and I expected a different a different time to come up on the dash," Murphy said. "Like last year I took a double take at the time, but it wasn't one I wanted to see."

Ambrose was again the fastest Ford, and he hinted at a deficiency in the Falcon package at Bathurst without going into significant detail.

"This weekend has been a difficult weekend for us," Ambrose said, talking about his Thursday crash and blown engine. "We've been chasing speed and you need as many laps around here as possible.

"But we've got a great race car and we're looking forward to the race. Today is all glory, when the Safety Car comes out on lap 13 and everyone pits it means nothing."

John Bowe was sixth in the OzEmail Falcon, with Paul Morris, Russell Ingall, Craig Lowndes and Jason Bargwanna round out the starters in the Shootout. Lowndes was near disaster on his run, leaping onto two wheels in the middle of the Chase and nearly spearing off into the sand.

The HRT cars are down in 18th and 26th after tough a day yesterday, but bounced back this morning with a time that would have been good enough for fourth on the grid in the Shootout.

Today's record crowd is expected to set-up a huge attendance for tomorrow for the race which starts at 10am.

<pre> SHOOTOUT -- TOP 10 1: Steve Richards Holden 2:07.9611 2: Jason Bright Holden 2:07.9623 3: Paul Dumbrell Holden 2:08.0360 4: Greg Murphy Holden 2:08.1177 5: Marcos Ambrose Ford 2:08.4490 6: John Bowe Ford 2:08.5537 7: Paul Morris Holden 2:08.6920 8: Russell Ingall Holden 2:08.9225 9: Craig Lowndes Ford 2:09.4096 10: Jason Bargwanna Ford 2:09.45231

-avesco-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Marcos Ambrose , Jason Bright , Greg Murphy , Russell Ingall , Craig Lowndes , Jason Bargwanna , Paul Morris , John Bowe , Tony Longhurst , Paul Dumbrell , Bob Jane , Steve Richards , Steven Richards