RICHARDS CLAIMS THIRD OVERALL IN DARWIN DESPITE EARLY ISSUES.
19 JUNE 2013
Jim Richards and the Shannons Falcon Sprint have fought back from some early problems in round three of the Touring Car Masters at Hidden Valley to claim third overall for the meeting and remain second in the championship chase.
In the first practice session the team found the engine was running too lean and so the car only completed five laps before it was bought into the pits to have the problem seen to.
A change of jets made some difference in session two but it still wasn’t right and it was a case of more changes to get the car ready for qualifying.
When Richards was ready to go for a qualifying run the Porsche of Ross Almond had an engine failure depositing a substantial amount of oil on the track and the Falcon was not able to record better than 13th grid position for the first race due to the slippery condition of the track.
Starting that far back was never going to be easy with so many fast cars in front but Richards was able to work his way through the field to finish 7th at the end of 12 laps which gave him grid position four for the second race due to the reverse grid arrangement for the top ten from race one.
For the second race the team also elected to fit their remaining two new tyres whereas most of the other teams decided to keep theirs for the last race.
The race turned into a great battle between Richards and race one winner John Bowe
in the Mustang and at the end of 12 laps Bowe crossed the line in front by just one thousandth of a second in front of the Falcon./p>
For race three the team made some rear suspension changes which further improved the car and Richards got a good start to be third into the first turn just behind Bowe with Brad Tilley leading in the Falcon GTHO.
While Tilley and Bowe battled for position Richards was kept busy dicing with Greg Crick in the Charger until Crick made a mistake at turn one and dropped back.
Bowe had taken the lead from Tilley and the top three positions looked to be set until the last lap when the Shannons Falcon started blowing out water.
Fortunately Richards was able to hold out a fast finishing Crick to take third place and clinch third overall for the weekend behind Bowe and Tilley.
“Apart from the early problems the car was fantastic until we had the water issue and we won’t know just what the problem was until we get back to Melbourne and my engine builder Mick Webb can have a look at the engine.” said Richards.
Richards is unsure when the rebuilt AMC Javelin will be back on track but he is not too concerned about running the popular Falcon Sprint in the interim.
“Despite only running a 289 cubic inch engine the car is still competitive against the bigger engine cars and it’s just a great car to race.” said the eight time Targa Tasmania winner.
Bowe leads the championship on 497 points with Richards on 456 and Andrew Miedecke on 440.
Round four of the eight round TCM championship will be at Queensland Raceway on July 27 and 28.
Richards will be at Queensland Raceway this weekend for the Shannons sponsored muscle car meeting where he will drive the black JPS BMW 635 that he raced in the eighties.
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