STRONG PERFORMANCE BY RICHARDS AT QUEENSLAND RACEWAY.
31 JULY 2013
The fourth round of the Touring Car Masters at Queensland Raceway saw Jim Richards and the Shannons Falcon Sprint score a race win and put in a competitive performance in the other two races to finish fourth overall for the weekend.
Richards only did five laps in each of the two practice sessions on the Friday as the team made adjustments to the fuel mixture as a result of changes to the fuel system since the previous round in Darwin.
The team had also made some modifications to the cooling system since Darwin and repaired the cracked head that was discovered when the engine was stripped down back in the workshop.
Going into this round the Falcon had been penalised with a weight penalty of 60 kilograms and a reduction in the rev limit from the normal 8100 RPM to 7500 RPM as a result of podium results in previous rounds.
“The reduction in rev limit has a much greater effect on horsepower loss in the Falcon with it’s 289 cubic inch engine than a 351 engine so it becomes a bit of a struggle to stay in touch with the opposition”. said Richards.
Richards qualified only 8th for the first 12 lap race but it should be noted that he was only eight tenths off pole position which is an indication as to how close the competition is in the class.
Despite making a good start in the race Richards found himself boxed in on the opening lap and fell back a number of places before working his way back through the field to finish 8th.
The top ten from race one were reversed on the grid for the second race and Richards again made a good start to take the lead which he held to the finish.
The grid for the final race was based on the accumulated points from the first two races and Richards started from the second row again getting a very good start to find himself embroiled in a battle for the lead with race one winner John Bowe in the Mustang.
After leading for five laps Richards was passed by Bowe who went onto take his second win of the round and extend his lead in the championship.
On the last lap while in a safe second place Richards suddenly slowed and cruised across the line to finish 8th and 4th overall for the round.
Richards later explained there was no problem with the car but instead he wanted to avoid a further performance penalty which would have occurred had he finished on the podium for the round.
“If the category managers lower the rev limit any further there won’t be any reason to turn up to the next round at Sydney Motorsport Park for the Muscle Car Masters meeting in September. The car would just not be competitive and we would simply be making up the numbers”. said the seven time Bathurst 1000 winner.
“The car was absolutely fantastic over the weekend and the changes the team made between rounds really worked very well”. said Richards.
After four rounds of the championship Bowe leads the championship on 673 points with Richards second on 585 and Andrew Miedecke third on 580 in his Camaro.
While Bowe has a healthy lead there are still four rounds to go and it must be remembered that each driver will have to drop their lowest score from a round they attended.
The next event for Richards will be Targa West from August 15 to 18 when he will line up in the Shannons Porsche GT2RS with long time navigator Barry Oliver in their quest to back up their win last year.
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