Top 10 for Richards and new car in Tasmanian round Sunday, November 12, 2006 - Tasman Motorsport's brand new VZ Commodore has escaped the Ferodo Tasmania Challenge unscathed after Kiwi Jason Richards took the Firepower-backed machine to 10th...
Top 10 for Richards and new car in Tasmanian round
Sunday, November 12, 2006 - Tasman Motorsport's brand new VZ Commodore has escaped the Ferodo Tasmania Challenge unscathed after Kiwi Jason Richards took the Firepower-backed machine to 10th place in today's round at Symmons Plains.
With rain and wet weather tyres the order of the day for the opening 58-lapper, Richards started 12th and would spend much of the race running in the top 10.
However, being run out of road by Craig Lowndes exiting the hairpin dropped the Kiwi back four spots and plenty of actual time, meaning he was forced to fight on and finish 12th, albeit after contact with Lee Holdsworth's GRM Commodore.
Stewards investigated the incident but found no breach of the rules by the Tasman driver in the collision.
In the final race, Richards was settled comfortably in 10th spot before being punted into a spin on lap 44 by an errant Paul Morris.
The incident dropped the #3 Commodore back to a 14th place finish, which was still good enough for Richards to finish the round 10th - exactly the same spot where he finished in Tasmania last year.
Team-mate Andrew Jones had one of his best races of the year in today's opening race. The changeable conditions, where drivers started on wet weather tyres but moved to slicks come their pit stop when the track dried out, were to the liking of the #23 car and he would shadow Richards across the line in 13th spot.
However a yellow flag infringement meant Jones was hit with a 25-second penalty post-race, which only dropped him one spot to 14th behind James Courtney.
Things got worse at the beginning of race three when Jones was the innocent victim of a chain reaction accident, set off after contact between Falcon drivers Russell Ingall and Jason Bargwanna.
The damage to his car included a busted radiator and the car was an instant retirement.
Tasman Motorsport will now head to the penultimate round of the series in Bahrain in a fortnight's time.
Jason Richards (#3 Firepower/Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"In the first race today I dumped four spots and plenty of time after Craig (Lowndes) ran me out of road exiting the hairpin. It was a race full of moments. I was passing people, getting passed, getting knocked off thew track. But the conditions were the same for everyone. I had some contact with Lee Holdsworth as well. I had got into the mud a little bit and didn't want to cut back across to the racing line because Andrew was right behind me. I just couldn't stop and tapped Lee. I got paid back in the last race when Morris whacked into me. Overall, we had no niggles with the new car and it ran well, though not quite with the speed we needed to penetrate the top 10 a little more. A top 10 is a good result but not a glamorous one."
Andrew Jones (#23 Firepower/Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"The incident on the first lap of the last race was one that I couldn't really do a lot about. I was behind Jason and was on the brake when I got a touch from behind, from who I don't really know. I got squeezed between the back of Jason's car and the wall to the left and away it all went. We had some good pace in the early race in the wet/dry conditions, so that was a good improvement over qualifying. With the pace we had earlier in the day, I felt we would have had a solid run in the last race, but that's the way it is."