TASMAN'S RICHARDS HELPS LEAD HOLDEN DEEP INTO ENEMY TERRITORY Just under twelve months ago, Kiwi V8 Supercar ace Jason Richards was nursing a broken rib and his Tasman Motorsport crew were hastily repairing his bashed and battered Commodore for...
TASMAN'S RICHARDS HELPS LEAD HOLDEN DEEP INTO ENEMY TERRITORY
Just under twelve months ago, Kiwi V8 Supercar ace Jason Richards was nursing a broken rib and his Tasman Motorsport crew were hastily repairing his bashed and battered Commodore for the next round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series.
A massive roll-over that virtually destroyed any and every working part on the car in a crash at Queensland Raceway had set the second-year team back on its heels.
But fast forward a full year and the 30-year-old heads back to the 3.1- kilometre flat track near Ipswich every inch a V8 Supercar contender, fresh from leading the final race in Darwin and finishing the round in fourth- place overall.
He will help lead Holden's charge into enemy territory for the BigPond 400 at Queensland Raceway this weekend, on a circuit used by five different Ford teams as their test track.
And the kerb that helped launch him into the massive roll-over last year has been removed, pleasing the Kiwi no end.
"From what I'm told the kerb is gone, so at least we know that something has come out of what happened last year," Richards said, fresh from a visit to his native New Zealand to race against and speak to young karting drivers in Christchurch about establishing a career in motorsport.
"It's now a removable kerb which they take out for races on the full circuit which was use, and put back when they use the link road section for racing.
"This time last year I was feeling pretty sore but this time around I'm very much firing on all eight cylinders.
"I have no dramas going back there this year. It's been a troublesome place for us and we haven't had a good run up there over the last two years.
"The crash won't be playing on my mind when we roll out onto the track for first practice on Friday.
"Without doubt it was the biggest crash of my career.
"But we have good car speed at the moment and I'm pretty keen to try our new style of setup and see if it reaps rewards at Queensland Raceway like it has in the last few rounds.
"For sure, it's the home track for plenty of Ford teams, but it's just the same as when they come south to Winton, where all of the Melbourne-based Holden teams test. It was hard for the majority of the Queensland teams two rounds ago.
"There are plenty of fast Holden teams at the moment so we'll have to dial out car in quickly and hope we can hang in there for a result."
HOLDEN MOTORSPORT QUOTEBOOK
Garth Tander (#16 Toll HSV Dealer Team Commodore VZ - 2nd in points)
"Nearly every time I have been up there, we have had a strong result, including in the old Queensland 500 days. For some reason, I seem go all right up there, although I don't particularly enjoy the circuit more than others. It is always difficult going to Queensland because there are so many teams based up there and they do a lot of testing on that track. Saying that, Craig Lowndes came down and beat us on our home circuit at Winton. So, we would like to return the favour."
Rick Kelly (#15 Toll HSV Dealer Team Commodore VZ - 3rd in points)
"Last year at Queensland Raceway, we had a bad braking drama that restricted us, but compared to the dramas we had prior to Queensland, it wasn't too bad. So, with the new cars and confidence we have so far this year, I am pretty damned happy to be going back there for another crack. We can't allow these Queensland teams to get a jump on us. They came to our home track and beat us, so we have to attempt to do the same."
Paul Dumbrell (#11 Jack Daniel's Racing Commodore VZ - 8th in points)
"Going from our form this year, we've been consistently stronger at each track than last year. QR is the home of the Queensland teams, and with Lowndes winning on our home track, we'd love nothing more than to head up there and show them a thing or two - but it will be tough! Previously it's been a longer, 280-kilometre race, so they become out and out sprint events this year, which should put a bit of excitement into the races."
Cameron McConville (#50 Supercheap Auto Racing Commodore VZ - 13th in
"There's no doubt about it, an upset win for Holden is possible, even though Queensland Raceway is the test track for so many Ford teams. But you only have to look to what happened at Winton; all the Victorian Holden teams tested there the week prior and set fast times, but when it came to the race the conditions were totally different and not many of us were on the pace - it bit us on the backside."