CAUTIOUS START FOR RICHARDS IN OPENING 2014 TCM ROUND.
5 MARCH 2014
Defending Touring Car Masters champion Jim Richards has come away from the three race opening round of the TCM series in Adelaide thankful to have an undamaged car and reasonable results.
The Shannons Falcon Sprint had been freshened up in the off season and showed good speed in the second practice session to record the second fastest lap despite only completing two flying laps.
John Bowe in his Mustang blew the opposition away in qualifying to be a massive 1.4 seconds faster than the field with the next five cars separated by just four tenths of a second.
Richards started from sixth position in the new for 2014 rolling start format and featured in a good battle with Eddie Abelnica,Cameron Tilley and Brett Youlden to come home in fifth place in the shortened six lap race.
The big surprise in the race was the fact that Bowe didn’t have the speed he showed in qualifying and had to settle for third behind Tony Karanfilovski and Andrew Miedecke.
The second race was a reverse top half of the finishing positions of race one and Richards lined up in ninth for the rolling start.
Unfortunately there was a massive pile up at the start when the front row Torana of Cary McMahon faltered and was hit by Bill Pye’s brand new Camaro which in turn was hit very hard in the rear by Brad Tilley’s Falcon GT.
This bought out double yellows on the front straight but the race continued with Mark King in the Camaro scoring an easy win and Richards coming home in seventh place.
In the final race the Shannon’s Falcon had a solid run to finish fourth and that gave Richards fourth overall for the weekend with 132 points to finish behind John Bowe on 160 ,Andrew Miedecke on 152 and Eddie Abelnica on 149.
“Overall we were happy with the weekend and while it would have been better to finish further up it was the best we could do”. said Richards.
“The car was fantastic and never missed a beat and to come away from a meeting with no damage when there so many damaged cars was a bonus”.
Richards admitted he was no fan of the rolling start format as he believed it made it difficult to make up any places from the start.
The next round of the seven round series will be run at Winton on the first weekend in April and on the tighter confines of the rural Victorian circuit Richards is hoping the Falcon will finish further up the field.
Meanwhile Richards is still waiting for the engine to arrive for the completely rebuilt AMC Javelin and once it is installed it’s a matter of finishing off some auxiliary items such as ducting before the car makes it’s race debut possibly at the third round at Hidden Valley in June.
On the tarmac rally scene Richards has taken delivery of the new Porsche Cayman S which will make it’s competition debut in the Showroom Sports class in Targa Tasmania in early May.
“The roll cage has been installed and the competition pads have been fitted and all that’s left to do is fit the tarmac rally specific springs and shock absorbers”. said the eight time Targa Tasmania winner.
“The car looks fantastic and while it will not be an outright contender it should be very competitive in the Showroom Sports class ,which apart from limited modifications ,must be showroom stock”. said Richards.
The car features a seven speed PDK paddle shift gearbox and it will be the first time in 65 tarmac rallies that Richards has not driven a car with a normal H pattern gearbox.
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