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15 OCTOBER 2013

After a dramatic Touring Car Masters round at Bathurst ,which saw the first race finish under safety car conditions, Jim Richards and the Shannons Falcon Sprint now lead the championship by 56 points with just the final round at Phillip Island to run.

The two practice sessions on the Thursday set the scene for close racing with John Bowe ,Glenn Seton and Richards separated by just seven tenths of a second in session one and Seton ,Bowe ,Andrew Miedecke and Richards covered by just four tenths in the second.

In qualifying it was a similar story with Seton ,Miedecke and Richards separated by just three tenths of a second and Bowe not showing his usual speed in fourth.

At the start of race one Miedecke got the jump and led from Bowe ,Richards and Seton but at the top of the mountain Paul Freestone hit the wall very hard in his Camaro which bought out the safety car and only four laps were completed before the race was declared. As a result only half points were awarded.

Race two was a reverse of the top 50% from the aborted race one so Richards started eleventh on the grid and clearly had a lot to do. .

As the cars came down Conrod straight at maximum speed Miedecke’s Camaro made contact with the rear of Seton’s Falcon GT causing a massive crash ,fortunately without injury to both drivers ,but causing another safety car period.

Both cars were extensively damaged which put them out for the final race. op.

This time the race did not finish under the safety car and when the flag fell Richards had worked his way up to fifth place with Eddie Abelnica taking out the win in his two door XB Falcon.

Richards was very fortunate not to get involved in the chaos as Miedecke and Seton crashed in front of him and with so much debris and dust it was difficult to find a way through.

“The crash occurred on the down side of the final crest when I was still coming up the rise and I didn’t actually see the initial contact. All I saw was a huge amount of dust and bit’s of debris flying everywhere so I jumped on the brakes and hoped I didn’t get involved”. said Richards.

“The main thing I had to worry about was making sure the cars did not come back across the track as I was coming through but fortunately they stayed to my left against the wall and it was no problem”.

The only evidence of the crash was a piece of poly foam from trackside signage that got caught in one of the brake cooling ducts of the Falcon.

For the final race Richards started from position three on the grid and after an early battle with Bowe settled into a secure second place in front of Brett Youlden in the HQ Monaro.

Bowe took out the round with 130 points from Richards on 127 and Youlden on 122. In the championship chase after seven rounds Richards is on 1035 points with Bowe second on 979 and Miedecke on 909.

All drivers will be required to drop their worst round score and there is some contention as to whether Bowe will be allowed to claim his no points result from the previous round at Sandown when he was excluded for a pit lane incident involving an official.

“The car has been super reliable all season and I’m delighted with the way it has performed especially at the weekend”. said Richards

Also at the weekend Richards long time tarmac rally navigator Barry Oliver was honoured along with four others when the five profiles of the inductees to the V8 Media Association Hall of Fame were unveiled in the Media centre on the Saturday.

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