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Jason sets fifth fastest time


All-Kiwi team is most successful Holden outfit in qualifying at Adelaide, gridding its brand-new VE Commodores fifth and 11th.

March 3, 2007, 9.45am. Kiwi drivers Jason Richards and Greg Murphy made Tasman Motorsport the top Holden squad on the streets of Adelaide yesterday, by qualifying fifth and 11th for Race 1 of the Clipsal 500 meeting.

Driving his brand new GMC VE Commodore, Richards was first and second fastest times in the first two sessions of the new three tier qualifying. The new system cuts the field progressively from 31 to 20 then 10 cars, but he “overcooked it a little” in the final 15-minute run.

"Having been P1 after the first part of qualifying, then P2 after the second session while still using old tyres it was beginning to look good,” said Richards.

“Then I tried a little too hard, had some brain fade, did all the things race drivers do, and then the car ran out of fuel with a couple of minutes to go and we ended up fifth.

"(In) the final session, we were up in the first sector on a couple laps but I lost (rear-wheel grip) a couple times and that's what let us down.

"All things considered - including the fact that this car had never turned a wheel until this morning's practice - fifth is a terrific result for Tasman Motorsport."

Murphy just missed the final qualifying cut and will start today's first 250km race from 11th on the grid.

"It would have been great to be in the top 10, but that's the way it is, you can't be too disappointed with 11th," he said.

"The new qualifying system is exciting for everyone and works well.

"As a team we're rapt; to have two brand new cars in and around the top 10 is a fabulous reward for everyone at Tasman Motorsport."

Series favourite Garth Tander was the quickest Holden driver, qualifying third in his Toll/HSV Dealer Team VE Commodore.

Times from Clipsal 500 Qualifying, March 2.
1. James Courtney, Ford BF Falcon, 1m 22.3584s.
2. Jamie Whincup, Ford BF Falcon, 1m 22.4712s.
3. Garth Tander, Holden VE Commodore, 1m 22.5496s.
4. Mark Winterbottom, Ford BF Falcon, 1m 22.5900s.
5. Jason Richards, Holden VE Commodore, 1m 22.6406s.
6. Craig Lowndes, Ford BF Falcon, 1m 22.6513s.
7. Todd Kelly, VE Commodore, 1m 22.6850s.
8. Russell Ingall, Ford BF Falcon, 1m 22.6960s.
9. Steven Johnson, Ford BF Falcon, 1m 22.7326s.
10. Lee Holdsworth, Holden VZ Commodore, 1m 22.3118s.
11. Greg Murphy, Holden VE Commodore 1m 22.927s.

Photo caption: Greg Murphy has qualified his Tasman Motorsport VE Commodore 11th for this afternoon’s first Clipsal 500 race.


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