New Zealander Jason Richards is determined to win a round of the 2006 Australian V8 Supercar Championship, and says he could be a dark horse for success at this weekend's round at Oran Park, Sydney.
Oran Park was his Tasman Motorsport Holden Commodore team’s test circuit in 2004 when it was based in Sydney, and was previously home to the Lansvale team from which Tasman was formed.
Richards has had a solid run there in the past. He finished fifth with Team Dynamik in 2003 and was seventh in Tasman’s 2004 debut year after qualifying fourth.
He went even better last year. In a car quickly repaired from its roll-over at Queensland Raceway three weeks earlier, Richards flew to third fastest in practice, won a spot in the Top 10 Shootout and was sixth in Race 1.
“Apart from Bathurst, it’s my favourite circuit without doubt and has become something of a pet track for us,” he said.
“I had my first Shootout appearance there for Team Kiwi in 2002 and from then on I’ve had some of my best sprint event qualifying and race performances.
“A win in a round of the V8 Supercar Series is next on the list for me and if our run at Oran Park continues into this weekend, we could be a dark horse among the championship contenders.
“I like the way the circuit flows. There’s a lot of medium to high speed corners that suit my style. Coupled with the fact that it has been a test track of Tasman in the past, plus the fact my engineer Wally Storey has a good grasp on the set-up, it gives us far more strengths than weaknesses.”
Returning to the cockpit of the #39 Team Sirromet Wines Commodore this weekend is fellow NZer, Holden Young Lion Fabian Coulthard.
He raced the car at the Australian Grand Prix, Pukekohe and Winton and will return from his base in Auckland to get in vital experience before the endurance races.