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24 JULY 2013

Jim Richards made the long haul to the Lakeside circuit last week to compete in the Touring Car Classic meeting in the same Group A Nissan Skyline HR31 that he drove in the first six rounds of the 1990 Touring Car championship that formed the base for his title win.

Richards bought the six cylinder turbocharged car some time ago and it has been prepared by former Nissan team principal Fred Gibson and Nissan team manager Allan Heaphy at Gibson Motorsport based in Melbourne.

Richards qualified on pole for the first 8 lap race but as the 25 cars lined up for the start it started to rain and in the slippery conditions Bill Pye ,who qualified second in his ex Dick Johnson Ford Mustang ,took advantage over the turbocharged Nissan to win from Richards.

The second and third races over 10 laps resulted in two wins for the Nissan from the Mustang but in the fourth race the Nissan developed a handling issue while leading and Richards pitted to see what the problem was before rejoining the race.

In the fifth and final race the problem was still there and Richards was forced to retire so what started out as a promising weekend finished on a disappointing note with the team suspecting there was a problem with the alloy spool diff.

“The car was fantastic over the weekend even allowing for the problem and it was great to get back behind the wheel in race conditions at a circuit where I raced it before”. said Richards./p>

“Fred and Allan and the crew have done a great job preparing the car and it was a pleasure to drive. I’m really looking forward to racing the car again at the Muscle Car Masters meeting in September at Sydney Motorsport Park. said the eight time Targa Tasmania winner.

Richards used the HR31 to good effect in the first six rounds of the 1990 championship and it set the foundation for the final two rounds where Richards reverted to the new Nissan R32 “Godzilla”.

On the Monday after the Lakeside meeting Richards was back at the circuit to take 36 guests from Shannons ,Wacker Neuson and Adrenalin for a ride in a former Porsche Carrera Cup race car.

He also had the Porsche GT2RS tarmac rally car there as back up and did a number of shakedown laps in the car to make sure it’s ready for the four day Targa West event which starts on Thursday August 15.

This weekend the focus will be on the fourth round of the Touring Car Masters at Queensland Raceway where Richards will race the Shannons Falcon Sprint.

After the last meeting at Darwin the team discovered that the 289 cubic inch engine had suffered a cracked head which has now been repaired.

Richards will go into this round in second place in the championship points table 41 points behind defending champion John Bowe in the Mustang and 16 points in front of Andrew Miedecke in the Camaro.

“I’m expecting the opposition to be tough as it usually is but I’m hoping that the lighter weight of the Sprint will make the car easier on tyres so what I loose to the bigger capacity cars on the straights I can make up for under brakes and in the six corners”. said Richards.

Counting this weekend there are still five rounds to go so the championship is a long way from being decided.

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