THREE TOP THREE POSITIONS IN THE TOP END FOR RICHARDS.
24 JUNE 2014
Defending Touring Car Masters Pro Masters champion Jim Richards and the Shannons Ford Falcon Sprint have come away from round three of the championship at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway with top three finishes in each of the three races to maintain second place in the championship.
Held in perfect weather conditions the round got underway with practice on the Friday with Richards finishing third and fourth in the two sessions and reporting that he was very happy with the car.
Come Saturday and John Bowe dominated the single qualifying session to finish on top 1.6 seconds faster than second placed Richards who opted to conserve rubber and only completed three laps.
Bowe took the lead from the rolling start for the first ten lap race and was never headed while Richards and Andrew Miedecke in his Camaro featured in a great battle with the Port Macquarie driver just in front of Richards at the finish.
The top eight from race one were reversed on the grid for the ten lap second race and Richards started from sixth and was soon involved in a very fierce fight involving the top half of the field led by Mark King in his Camaro.
On lap seven an oil line on the Leo Tobin HQ Holden came of on the approach turn four laying down a significant amount of oil on the racing line and when the leaders arrived the race turned to chaos with a number of cars going off and crashing.
The Falcon Sprint slid sideways but Richards got it under control to be in third place in the line as the safety car came out and the race was declared at the end of the ninth lap.
“I saw Bowe go off and then my car flicked sideways but fortunately I got it back on line and got through which was better than some of my fellow competitors”. said a relieved Richards.
Bowe had managed to get back on to finish fifth so he lined up on the front row with Richards for the final ten lap race.
From the rolling start Bowe took the lead and was not headed to the finish while Richards had an untroubled run to finish a comfortable second and second to Bowe for the weekend.
Richards also recorded the fastest lap of the race demonstrating that even though the car is only 4.7 litre capacity compared to the 5.8 litre Mustang it’s still very competitive no doubt in part due to it’s lighter weight.
“Once again the car was fantastic over the weekend and I couldn’t be happier with our results. We have finished all nine races so far this year without any dramas and hopefully that will continue for the remainder of the championship”. said Richards.
The next round of the seven round championship will be the Thunder Down Under meeting at Sydney Motor Sport Park on August 22-24 and at this stage the plan is for the TCM cars to race on the short circuit.
Obviously the long front straight will be an advantage for the larger capacity cars but Richards will be hoping the excellent handling and braking performance of the lighter Falcon Sprint plus better tyre performance will be to his advantage.
Meanwhile the Shannons Porsche Cayman S that was damaged during Targa Tasmania has been fully repaired ready for Targa West in August.
“The main damage was to the left hand radiator in the front of the car and apart from that there was very little other damage to be fixed”. said Richards.
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