10 Oct 2009

Kiwis in good form at Bathurst qualifying

8:15 am on 10 October 2009

Kiwi driver Jason Richards says he's ready for the main act of the Bathurst 1000 after emerging as the dark horse for the second year running.

The New Zealand born 33-year-old took provisional pole position for the big

Sunday race with his co-driver Cam McConville, needing to nail a Top Ten Shootout lap today to qualify in pole.

Richards will go last in the Top Ten Shootout as the fastest qualifier so far.

Behind him are were Garth Tander, Lee Holdsworth, Mark Winterbottom, Paul Dumbrell, Craig Lowndes, Shane Van Gisbergen, Todd Kelly, Russell Ingall and Greg Murphy.

Friday proved a great day for the Kiwis at Bathurst with Steven Richards driving

with Winterbottom as fourth fastest, Craig Baird with Paul Dumbrell fifth,

Van Gisbergen seventh, Murphy ninth, Fabian Coulthard 11th and John McIntyre


With the weight of huge expectation on his shoulders last year Richards

wavered slightly in the race for pole position but still managed to claim sixth on

the grid and second in the race, vowing to go one better this Sunday.

Race favourites Lowndes (Jamie Whincup) and Tander (Will Davison) were

both on target to beat Richards' time but unforeseen obstacles hampered their progress.

First Lowndes was within sight of the finish line when a red flag dropped to end the session and Tander was also on a flyer before being slightly held up by a second Ford Performance Racing car driven by Dean Canto.

However both still sit firmly in the Top Ten for a one-lap shot again tomorrow.

Richards and McConville certainly have a great car to work with and one that

can match it with the more fancied TeamVodafone and Toll Holden Racing Team


Equally fast was the Garry Rogers Motorsport pair of Holdsworth and Caruso.

The pair, both recent race winners and possessing terrific speed, also now

loom as a genuine race threat.

And late in the day the veterans roared into contention with Murphy and Russell Ingall showing they won't be upstaged by the young upstarts come Sunday.

Ingall was quick all day finishing in tenth while Murphy gets a top ten

start tomorrow from ninth.

The Top Ten Shootout starts at 6.45pm NZ time.