Friday, July 21, 2006
JUST over one tenth of a second separates Tasman Motorsport team-mates Jason Richards and Andrew Jones after opening practice today for this weekend's BigPond 400 at Queensland Raceway near Ipswich.
Richards was 17th fastest and Jones 21st in the two-hour practice session at the 3.1-kilometre circuit.
While both were happy with the general balance of their Harrop Engineering-backed Commodores, the duo will spend tonight searching for outright pace prior to qualifying tomorrow.
It was the first time Richards had driven on the circuit since the massive roll-over that eliminated him from last year's QLD event.
Last year he qualified 22nd for this event and the six turn layout has proven to be an unhappy hunting ground for the Tasman team over the past two visits.
Qualifying tomorrow will be held at 11.05am AEST with the first race at 3.20pm AEST.
Jason Richards (#3 Harrop Engineering/Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"The car's quite good and the balance is there, but not the speed, which is frustrating and a bit puzzling. We're a fair way off the fastest lap of the day by Mark Skaife, but there was quite a gap between the top three cars and the cars following are tightly bunched. It's good that we're not fighting an actual problem, like chronic understeer which can strike sometimes, but we may have to change our setup theory to find some time and move up the order. I enjoyed the session - until I got out of the car and saw the timing screen!"
Andrew Jones (#23 Harrop Performance/Tasman Motorsport Commodore VZ)
"I believe that I'm getting greater 'feel' from the car in previous rounds and that helps when we make improvements for the car and actually being able to feel the difference. We've actually got a good balance for the car but it's just lacking speed at the moment. We've got one, now we just need the other. A real focus for here is turn two because it leads onto a long back straight and that's been an area we've worked on. But we have direction now and that's a plus."
Practice - Round 6, V8 Supercar Championship Series - BigPond 400,
1. Mark Skaife, #2 HRT Commodore VZ, 1m10.1390s
2. Garth Tander, #16 Toll HSV DT Commodore VZ, 1m10.3368s
3. Jason Bright, #6 CAT Falcon BA, 1m10.5729s
4. Rick Kelly, #15 Toll HSV DT Commodore VZ, 1m10.6411s
5. Craig Lowndes, #888 Betta Falcon BA, 1m10.6527s
6. Jamie Whincup, #88 Betta Falcon BA, 1m10.6788s
7. Mark Winterbottom, #5 FPR Falcon BA, 1m10.6943s
8. Dean Canto, #34 Valvoline Commodore VZ, 1m10.8910s
9. Steven Johnson, #17 First Rock Falcon BA, 1m10.9361s
10. Steven Richards, #7 Jack Daniel's Commodore VZ, 1m10.9558s
17. Jason Richards, #3 Harrop Engineering Commodore VZ, 1m10.2293s
21. Andrew Jones, #23 Harrop Performance Commodore VZ, 1m10.3349s