Reverse grid win aids Richards' Winton weekend recovery Victory in today's reverse grid race at round four of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Winton and a strong drive through the field in the final race has helped salvage a...
Reverse grid win aids Richards' Winton weekend recovery
Victory in today's reverse grid race at round four of the V8 Supercar Championship Series at Winton and a strong drive through the field in the final race has helped salvage a decent result for Tasman Motorsport's Jason Richards.
The Kiwi, who started from the front row of the grid in today's opening 46- lapper, was untouchable in the reverse grid race and completed dominated it.
He snatched the lead on lap two from Marcus Marshall and charged into clear air, winning by 15 seconds over former team-mate Jamie Whincup.
However, his race one problems left him 17th on the grid for the final race, requiring a tough charge by the #3 SEW-Eurodrive Commodore driver.
Electing to stay out on the track and capitalise on his speed, Richards ran longer than his rivals to the compulsory pit stop, rejoining in an effective 10th position.
With fresher tyres he was able to pass Steven Richards and Todd Kelly when the latter suffered a puncture and pressure Paul Dumbrell for the second half of the race.
He crossed the line in eighth spot, a result good enough for 12th for the round. It moves Richards up one spot to 14th in the championship points.
Team-mate Andrew Jones also had a great reverse grid race, forced to start from 30th on the grid due to retiring from race one with an engine drama.
His pace was strong in the #23 Commodore and he held pace with new championship leader Garth Tander, cutting through the field to finish 12th, a net gain of 18 positions.
With only half points awarded for the reverse grid race, Jones was left to start 28th for the final race and again proved his pace, moving through to finish 18th.
But the race one retirement certainly hurt him and he finished 23rd for the round, not a true indicator of the turn of speed he showed for the weekend.
The V8 Supercars will trek north for round five, making the long haul to Darwin to race in three weeks' time.
Jason Richards (#3 SEW-Eurodrive/Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"Race three was a physically demanding race. I worked pretty hard to pass Steve Richards and he went into the penultimate corner too hot and went too wide.
"We ran out in front in the last race until the pace started to drop into the mid 1m25s bracket.
"We'd run in clear air in the lead for long enough to have an overall gain and that brought us back out into a decent dice. I had fresher tyres than Dumbrell but it's so hard to pass here that I couldn't do too much about him.
"The reverse grid race was totally trouble-free, which tends to happen when you win by that sort of gap!
"But I'm absolutely stoked by the sort of speed we showed this weekend. We were racing and passing some of the top teams in the category and we were only one-thousandth of a second off pole position.
"It's an encouraging weekend, but another one that got away from us, just like Adelaide and Pukekohe.
"We are definitely in line to meet our team KPIs (key performance indicators) of winning a round at some stage. The ingredients are there for sure."
Andrew Jones (#23 SEW-Eurodrive/Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"In the reverse grid race the speed of our #23 car was really quite good, a real improvement over where we were in practice and qualifying.
"We passed the slower cars with our pit stop strategy and passed a few on the track with the pace we had.
"I took advantage of a hit between Courtney and McConville at the hairpin by going to the outside when most others went to the inside and got bunched up. There was another multi-car incident later where we made up another three or so spots.
"It's a little deflating when you have a good race like that and end up starting at the back of the grid for the next race anyway.
"Race one makes or breaks your weekend and that's what happened to us this weekend."