Richards fights back to score top 10 finish in Adelaide from rear of field Jason Richards has mounted a strong comeback for Tasman Motorsport in the second leg of the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, taking his Sleepyhead Commodore to 10th place from a...
Richards fights back to score top 10 finish in Adelaide from rear of field
Jason Richards has mounted a strong comeback for Tasman Motorsport in the second leg of the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, taking his Sleepyhead Commodore to 10th place from a rear of grid start.
An engine problem in yesterday's opening 250-kilometre event sidelined Richards early, forcing him to start from 31st in today's race.
Making an early pit stop for a tyre change on lap six designed to allow him to lap on a clear track and not be stuck behind slower cars, Richards rose through the pack.
He made his stop for fuel on lap 22 and slowly clawed his way up the order to settle on the fringe of the top 10, setting a new lap record in the process.
Following a restart on lap 57, Richards was involved in a pile-up that eliminated top runners including Craig Lowndes, Cameron McConville and James Courtney.
His Sleepyhead car emerged unscathed, after Jose Fernandez's Falcon moved across into him to avoid a slow moving Mark Winterbottom.
Richards was called before the Stewards at the end of the day, though was found free of blame in what was declared a racing incident.
His team-mate Andrew Jones had an eventful day.
Starting from 15th on the grid, Jones had completed both pit stops by lap 25 and was poised to be able to use improved car pace to move back up the order as his rivals ahead made their second stop.
But contact with Marcus Marshall under brakes at the final corner on lap 29 damaged his bonnet, leaving it to flail up and smash the #23 car's windscreen.
It left Jones to drive a full lap at reduced speed to make it back to the pits.
He re-joined to press on and collect vital championship points, even despite a smashed windscreen that severely hampered his vision and was the cause of a collision that spun Fernandez later in the race.
Jones was handed drive-through penalties for both the incidents with Marshall and Fernandez, though pulled through to finish the race 21st and 16th for the weekend.
Jason Richards (#3 Sleepyhead/Tasman Motorsport Holden Commodore VZ) Started 31st, Finished 10th, Fastest Lap - 1m22.8244s (New Lap Record)
"Somehow I managed to get through the major accident at the Senna Chicane. We had a good race car and we were able to keep our pace up, even though we were right at the back of the field.
"Clearly we had a good car with the new lap record, and that was actually set in a period of the race where I was chasing down traffic. We were always going to make our pit stop early to get some clear track and punch out some solid laps.
"I lost a few spots with a fuel pump problem and then came the incident at the chicane. The Fujitsu car moved out across me to avoid a slowing Mark Winterbottom and I was there. It was as simple as that.
"For the remainder of the race I was stuck behind Steven Johnson and on old tyres that I'd run on since lap six.
"It was a great fight back by the team. They worked hard to change the engine yesterday and get us back out there. Now we'll head to the Grand Prix and then my home track at Pukekohe and get back among it."
Andrew Jones (#23 Sleepyhead/Tasman Motorsport Holden Commodore VZ) Started 15th, Finished 21st, Fastest Lap - 1m23.6766s
"I'm annoyed about being involved in incidents. I had more speed in today's race than anytime over the weekend.
"In the incident with Marshall, he just jumped on the brakes at the hairpin miles earlier than where you usually brake for that corner. Going down the pit straight after that happened the bonnet flew up.
"So I had to lean and look out to the left and drive a whole lap to make it to the pits. Because of the cracks in the windscreen I had to drive through what seemed like a kaleidoscope and that made judging things hard for the rest of the day, which is why I tagged Jose (Fernandez) and misjudged my braking.
"It meant I had to run with my visor down because there were fragments caving in at me as I went down the straights!"