SUCCESS FOR RICHARDS AT PHILLIP ISLAND HISTORIC MEETING.
12 MARCH 2014
Jim Richards ran his 1990 Nissan Skyline HR 31 at the Phillip Island Historic meeting under the Gibson Motorsport banner and came away with a very satisfying two seconds and one third in the Group A and C Historic Touring Car races.
The six cylinder turbocharged engine had recently been rebuilt by the “new” Gibson Motorsport enterprise which had a total of nine cars competing at the meeting which attracted over 500 entries.
Running on Yokohama tyres Richards recorded the second fastest time in the first qualifying session just three tenths of a second behind Bryan Sala in his RS 500 Ford Sierra .
In the second qualifying session Richards took two seconds off his session one time to take pole position from Carey McMahon in his Nissan Skyline HR31 and the stage was set for close competition in the first six lap race
Terry Lawler took out the race in his GIO liveried R32 Nissan GTR from Sala and Richards with only four seconds covering the top three cars and that was how they lined up for the second six lap race.
The second race was much closer with Lawler again taking the honours in the ex Bob Forbes owned “Godzilla”, which was originally raced by Mark Gibbs ,with Richards less than a second behind and just in front of Sala.
Race three was a case of déjà vu with the finishing positions the same as race two and the gap at the chequered flag even closer.
That was how they lined up for the fourth and final race ,which this time was over ten laps.
The top three were very close throughout the race with Richards running a very competitive third but then on the ninth lap there was a fuel feed problem with the Nissan caused by a split fuel injection line and the four time Touring Car champion was forced to retire.
Lawler went onto score his fourth win for the weekend in front of Sala and McMahon which only served to again demonstrate the domination of the awesome four wheel drive twin turbocharged cars in the early nineties when they dominated the touring car championship and the Bathurst 1000.
It was an unfortunate end to a great weekend for Richards ,who despite the disappointment of not finishing the final race ,was really upbeat about the car and in particular the meeting.
“Fred Gibson and the team did a great job preparing the car and apart from the fuel problem it never missed a beat all weekend and I’m really pleased with the results”. said the seven time Bathurst 1000 winner.
“Gibson Motorsport built the car for the 1990 Touring Car championship season and I contested six rounds of the championship in the car before I moved to the GTR later in the year. It was always a great car to drive and each time I drive it I have fond memories of how good it was”. said Richards.
As for the Phillip Island historic meeting Richards was full of praise for what is now claimed to be one of the top three historic race car meetings in the world.
For the Group A and C Touring Car races there was a very representative field of 43 cars covering fourteen different marques ranging from the GTR Nissan to the baby class Toyotas Corollas ,Ford Escorts and Holden Geminis.
In the meantime preparations are well advanced for Targa Tasmania in early May and with the course now confirmed initial recce can now get underway to note the new stages and any changes to the previously used stages.
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