Saturday, September 02, 2006
WITH 500 kilometres of racing to come tomorrow, Tasman Motorsport is well placed with both cars for the 39th running of the Sandown 500 in Melbourne.
Jason Richards put the Firepower-backed #3 Commodore into the Top 10 Shootout and clocked the eighth fastest lap time in the run-off, though he and Andrew Jones will line up seventh tomorrow after the second HRT car was demoted two positions on the grid for completing too many practice laps in Friday's session.
The Kiwi could have been even higher on the grid had it not been for a small lock-up into turn six at Dandenong Road Corner, though the fact that tomorrow's race is certain to be weather-affected, leaves the team pleased with its starting spot.
The second car, which was qualified today by Owen Kelly in 21st spot, is also well placed with Kelly and Mark Noske to handle driving duties.
Both haven't competed in a V8 Supercar since last year and have been spending the weekend working on a comfortable race setup for tomorrow, without seeking to set a blistering qualifying lap.
Tomorrow's Sandown 500 will begin at 1pm EST and be telecast live in Network 10 in Australia.
Jason Richards (#3 Firepower/Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"I got a little bit greedy on the Shootout lap after I'd done two good first sectors. I just locked a front brake a tad too much into the corner and that was that. But it's an endurance race and we're seventh on the grid. It's a strong spot to build from tomorrow. It's a better qualifying spot than we had last year (13th) and we finished third, so it can't hurt!"
Andrew Jones (#3 Firepower/Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"I came to the circuit with the plan of supporting Jason because he was supposed to do the co-driver's session this morning, but the rule makers deemed that I am the co-driver for the car, so it was a good chance for me to get laps that I wasn't expecting to get. I think both Jason and I have been well in the top 10 in each session we've done, so we're in the ballpark for tomorrow."
Owen Kelly (#23 Firepower/Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"There are a few full-time cars and drivers behind us on the grid, which is a nice feeling. We made a pretty good gain out of the brand new tyre. I thought we'd be in the high teens in terms of positions, so we're a few shy of what I thought we could have done. We've been working on the car setup for the race and not on qualifying at all."
Mark Noske (#23 Firepower/Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"It was a cruisy day to sit back and watch Owen qualify. Now we'll sit back and see what the weather brings tomorrow. The weather is the key, but bad weather would probably help us a little bit more to nullify the speed advantage that the full-time drivers probably have."
Grid Positions, Round 8, V8 Supercar Series, Sandown 500, Melbourne
1. Mark Skaife/Garth Tander, #2 HRT Commodore VZ, 1m10.6102s
2. Craig Lowndes/Jamie Whincup, #888 Triple Eight Falcon BA, 1m11.3471s
3. Jason Bright/Mark Winterbottom, #6 FPR Falcon BA, 1m11.4215s
4. Max Wilson/David Besnard, #8 WPS Falcon BA, 1m11.4708s
5. Jason Bargwanna/Craig Baird, #10 WPS Falcon BA, 1m11.6196s
6. James Courtney/Glenn Seton, #4 SBR Falcon BA, 1m11.7777s
7. Jason Richards/Andrew Jones, #3 Firepower Commodore VZ, 1m11.8630s
8. Steven Johnson/Will Davison, #17 DJR Falcon BA, 1m11.8683s
9. Jim Richards/Ryan Briscoe, #22 HRT Commodore VZ, 1m11.7804s
10. Steve Owen/Tony Longhurst, #55 Autobarn Commodore VZ, 1m12.3719s
21. Owen Kelly/Mark Noske, #23 Firepower Commodore VZ, 1m11.7783s