Tasman's Richards helps lead Holden deep into enemy territory.
17 July 2006
JUST under twelve months ago, Kiwi V8 Supercar ace Jason Richards was nursing a broken rib and his Tasman Motorsport crew were hastily repairing his bashed and battered Commodore for the next round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series.
A massive roll-over that virtually destroyed any and every working part on the car in a crash at Queensland Raceway had set the second-year team back on its heels.
But fast forward a full year and the 30-year-old heads back to the 3.1-kilometre flat track near Ipswich every inch a V8 Supercar contender, fresh from leading the final race in Darwin and finishing the round in fourth-place overall.
He will help lead Holden’s charge into enemy territory for the BigPond 400 at Queensland Raceway this weekend, on a circuit used by five different Ford teams as their test track.
And the kerb that helped launch him into the massive roll-over last year has been removed, pleasing the Kiwi no end.
“From what I’m told the kerb is gone, so at least we know that something has come out of what happened last year,” Richards said, fresh from a visit to his native New Zealand to race against and speak to young karting drivers in Christchurch about establishing a career in motorsport.
“It’s now a removable kerb which they take out for races on the full circuit which was use, and put back when they use the link road section for racing.
“This time last year I was feeling pretty sore but this time around I’m very much firing on all eight cylinders.
“I have no dramas going back there this year. It’s been a troublesome place for us and we haven’t had a good run up there over the last two years.
“The crash won’t be playing on my mind when we roll out onto the track for first practice on Friday.
“Without doubt it was the biggest crash of my career.
“But we have good car speed at the moment and I’m pretty keen to try our new style of setup and see if it reaps rewards at Queensland Raceway like it has in the last few rounds.
“For sure, it’s the home track for plenty of Ford teams, but it’s just the same as when they come south to Winton, where all of the Melbourne-based Holden teams test. It was hard for the majority of the Queensland teams two rounds ago.
“There are plenty of fast Holden teams at the moment so we’ll have to dial out car in quickly and hope we can hang in there for a result.”
HOLDEN MOTORSPORT QUOTEBOOK
Garth Tander (#16 Toll HSV Dealer Team Commodore VZ – 2nd in points)
“Nearly every time I have been up there, we have had a strong result, including in the old Queensland 500 days. For some reason, I seem go all right up there, although I don’t particularly enjoy the circuit more than others. It is always difficult going to Queensland because there are so many teams based up there and they do a lot of testing on that track. Saying that, Craig Lowndes came down and beat us on our home circuit at Winton. So, we would like to return the favour.”
Rick Kelly (#15 Toll HSV Dealer Team Commodore VZ – 3rd in points)
“Last year at Queensland Raceway, we had a bad braking drama that restricted us, but compared to the dramas we had prior to Queensland, it wasn’t too bad. So, with the new cars and confidence we have so far this year, I am pretty damned happy to be going back there for another crack. We can’t allow these Queensland teams to get a jump on us. They came to our home track and beat us, so we have to attempt to do the same.”
Paul Dumbrell (#11 Jack Daniel’s Racing Commodore VZ – 8th in points)
“Going from our form this year, we’ve been consistently stronger at each track than last year. QR is the home of the Queensland teams, and with Lowndes winning on our home track, we’d love nothing more than to head up there and show them a thing or two – but it will be tough! Previously it’s been a longer, 280-kilometre race, so they become out and out sprint events this year, which should put a bit of excitement into the races.”
Cameron McConville (#50 Supercheap Auto Racing Commodore VZ – 13th in points)
“There’s no doubt about it, an upset win for Holden is possible, even though Queensland Raceway is the test track for so many Ford teams. But you only have to look to what happened at Winton; all the Victorian Holden teams tested there the week prior and set fast times, but when it came to the race the conditions were totally different and not many of us were on the pace – it bit us on the backside.”
THE RACING LINE – QUEENSLAND RACEWAY, ROUND 6
Circuit Length 3.1 kilometres
Circuit Direction Clockwise
Average Speed 160 km/h
Maximum Speed 250 km/h
Current Qualifying Lap Record: John Bowe, Ford Falcon AU, 1m09.2594s, 1999
Current Lap Record: Garth Tander, Holden Commodore VS, 1m11.0033s, 1999
2005 Pole Position: Marcos Ambrose, Ford Falcon BA, 1m10.2173s
1. Craig Lowndes, Triple Eight Race Engineering, Ford Falcon BA
2. Marcos Ambrose, Stone Brothers Racing, Ford Falcon BA
3. Garth Tander, HSV Dealer Team, Holden Commodore VZ
4. Russell Ingall, Stone Brothers Racing, Ford Falcon BA
5. Steven Richards, Castrol Team Perkins Racing, Holden Commodore VY
Race Format: A three-race weekend featuring a 100-kilometre race on the Saturday. Two races on Sunday, each of 140-kilometres in length and also each with a compulsory tyre stop. Race 2 on Sunday a full reverse grid race.
Television Coverage: Network Ten will telecast the Queensland Raceway action, beginning with highlights of Race 1 on the evening of Saturday July 22 after its AFL telecast. It will broadcast the second two races on Sunday July 23 from 2pm to 5pm AEST.
1999 Garth Tander Holden Commodore VS
1999 Larry Perkins/Russell Ingall Holden Commodore VT (500 km)
2000 Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VT
2000 Craig Lowndes/Mark Skaife Holden Commodore VT (500 km)
2001 Steven Johnson/Paul Radisich Ford Falcon AU (500km)
2002 David Besnard/Simon Wills Ford Falcon AU (500km)
2003 Russell Ingall Ford Falcon BA
2004 Marcos Ambrose Ford Falcon BA
2005 Craig Lowndes Ford Falcon BA
Pole Position Winners
1999 John Bowe Ford Falcon AU
1999 Jason Bright Ford Falcon AU (500 km)
2000 Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VT
2000 Garth Tander Holden Commodore VT (500 km)
2001 Marcos Ambrose Ford Falcon AU (500 km)
2002 Marcos Ambrose Ford Falcon AU (500 km)
2003 Marcos Ambrose Ford Falcon BA
2004 Marcos Ambrose Ford Falcon BA
2005 Marcos Ambrose Ford Falcon BA
· The Holden Racing Team’s Todd Kelly will debut a brand-new Commodore VZ (HRT 054) at the Queensland Raceway round. Up until this round he has been driving HRT chassis 050, the car he and Mark Skaife used to win last year’s Supercheap Auto 1000 at Bathurst.
· Steve Ellery will make his second V8 Supercar Series start of the year in the #39 Team Sirromet Wines Commodore. The Sirromet team, along with Team Kiwi Racing, are the only Holden outfits to use Queensland Raceway as a test circuit.
· The third round of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series will support the BigPond 400 this weekend. Nathan Pretty, driving for the Mack/Smiths Trucks Racing Commodore team, is second in the series. Two of Holden’s Young Lions, Shane Price and Jack Perkins, are fifth and ninth respectively in their black Perkins Motorsport Commodores.
· Located near Ipswich, Queensland Raceway first hosted a round of the V8 Supercars in 1999. In fact, it held two rounds in the one year, as was the case in 2000, with a sprint round and a 500-kilometre event being held on the circuit.
· Toll HSV Dealer Team pilot Garth Tander has been a man in form at Queensland Raceway. Not only does he hold the lap record of 1m11.0033s set in the inaugural event in 1999, he has had six podium finishes in nine rounds there.
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