The 35th Sandown 500 (6-8 September, Sandown International Motor Raceway) Richards tops Sandown 500 practice, Lamborghini a smashing second. Porsche driver Jim Richards set the scene for a David and Goliath battle for the 35th Sandown 500...
The 35th Sandown 500
(6-8 September, Sandown International Motor Raceway)
Richards tops Sandown 500 practice, Lamborghini a smashing second.
Porsche driver Jim Richards set the scene for a David and Goliath battle for the 35th Sandown 500 race in Melbourne, today posting the fastest time in official practice while one of his fancied rivals ended the day with a spectacular crash into the fence.
Team Lamborghini Australia mechanics worked into tonight to repair rear-end damage to the the $700,000 Lamborghini Diablo of lead driver Paul Stokell, after co-driver Anthony Tratt spun it backwards into a steel safety barrier.
Richards' lap time of 1 minute 14.01 seconds in a Porsche GT3 Cup owned by co-driver Tony Quinn was an impressive three seconds faster than his mark set for pole position in last year's race.
Stokell managed to secure the provisional second grid spot beforeTratt's crash, while John Bowe, sharing a Ferrari 360GT with Steve Beards, was third fastest.
The Nations Cup and GTP cars will contest a general qualifying session tomorrow morning before a Top Gun Challenge between the 10 fastest runners in the afternoon.
Richards said he expected to go even faster in qualifying, but was concentrating on developing a reliable race pace.
"The Porsche should be very strong for the whole race and Tony is an excellent co-driver. I anticipate we'll need three pit stops during the race and possibly one last splash of fuel towards the end."
While the Lamborghini was being repaired, Stokell also req uired attention after a wheel was dropped on his foot during a practice pit stop. He spent the rest of the afternoon with his foot wrapped in ice.
Two-driver teams also were on track today practising for the Great Aussie Ute Race, which will be run over three legs on Sunday.
The Holden Commodore combination of Gary MacDonald and Rod Wilson set the fastest time of 1 minute 27.83 seconds, ahead of V8 BRute Series leader Warren Luff, in a Falcon.
James Brock and Gavin Harvey, the sons of touring car legends Peter Brock and Gavin Harvey, were third fastest in another Commodore.
Gearbox problems kept the high profile Falcon crews of Alan Grice/Alan Jones and Grant Denyer/Brad Jones in 11th and 12th places respectively, while former motorcycle ace Daryl Beattie was 14th with teammate and former Sydney Roosters player Jack Elsegood, in another Falcon.
As well as the 500 kilometre and BRute races, the Sandown weekend will include national championship rounds for GT Production Cars, Formula 3, Mitsubishi Mirage and V8 Future Tourers, with six races tomorrow and three on Sunday.
The BRutes will open a six-hour live telecast at 10 am, with an RAAF Roulette aerial display at 11.40 am before the Sandown 500 start at 12 midday.
1. J. Richards/T. Quinn (Porsche GT3 Cup) 1:14.01
2. P. Stokell/A. Tratt (Lamborghini Diablo GTR) 1:1407
3. J. Bowe/S. Beards (Ferrari 360GT) 1:14.49
4. D. Russell/D. Palmer (Chrysler Viper) 1:15.37
5. P. Fitzgerald/M. Coleman (Porsche GT3 Cup) 1:15.62
6. J. Teulan/P. Morris (Ferrari 360 Challenge) 1:16.54
Great Aussie Ute Race
1. G. MacDonald/R. Wilson (Commodore) 1:27.83
2. W. Luff/J. Dutton (Falcon) 1:28.19
3. J. Brock/G. Harvey (commodore) 1:28.25
4. C. Kovacs/D. Brede (Commodore) 1:28.53
5. S. Robinson/M. Porter (Commodore) 1:28.65
6. G. Young/P. Stokell (Commodore) 1:28.69