After a testing opening round on the streets of Adelaide just two weeks ago, 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia champion Steven Richards is primed and ready for the second event on the 2016 calendar on the streets of Melbourne’s Albert Park, an event he admits is one he looks forward to every year.
“The Grand Prix is one the events I enjoy the most,” Richards acknowledged. “I’ve always enjoyed the circuit – it’s one of my top five anywhere in the world – and as far as the Laser Racing Porsche is concerned, it’s where we began our relationship five years ago..!”
Richards is one of few drivers who has competed on the Albert Park circuit every year since the Grand Prix first moved to Melbourne in 1996 with the exception of 2007, the former V8 Supercar regular claiming victory there for the first time for Perkins Engineering in 2006.
12-months ago Richards claimed another victory on the 5.027-kilometre street circuit, taking the round win in the Laser Plumbing & Electrical Porsche 991 with two victories and a second placed finish, the result extending his championship points lead on the back of a double victory at Clipsal.
This year Richards comes off the Adelaide event in a much stronger position than he started the opening round, despite the setback of contact with the concrete barriers late in race three whilst holding down second.
“We didn’t need that, but it’s all part of the sport,” Richards admitted.
“The important thing is that we had pace, we were where we wanted to be with car speed at the start of the weekend, but the delay getting our engine back and the subsequent failure after the rebuild really set us back and we paid the price early.”
Whilst the new challengers and the rising stars in the category are expected to feature strongly at Albert Park, history shows that at his ‘home’ venue, Richards finds that little bit something extra.
Over the last three years at the Grand Prix, the reigning Bathurst 1000 champion has only been off the podium once, in fact his worst result in the last three seasons was a sixth placed finish in race two in 2013.
Looking back over the last nine Porsche Carrera Cup Australia races held at Albert Park, Richards has claimed four wins (one apiece every one of the last three years – including two wins last year), three second-placed finishes, and one third.. He’s also qualified on the front row in both 2013 and 2014 and stormed to second last year from a third row start, so keep a close eye on the #12 Laser Racing Porsche, it’s bound to be in the mix.. the numbers don’t lie!
“Look, I’m under no illusions about how hard this weekend will be,” Richards admitted. “There’s some pretty impressive competition, and the Grand Prix always throws up plenty of challenges. I expect the racing will be pretty frantic at the front and I think there’s any number of five drivers that are capable of taking out the win, but we aim to be amongst them!”
Rnd#2 – 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Championship
Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne (17-20 March)
Schedule: [AEST – GMT +9]
Thursday, 17 March
12:20am – Practice (20-minutes)
3:55pm – Qualifying (20-minutes)
5:35pm – Race#1 (25-minutes)
Friday, 18 March
3:30pm – Race#2 (25-minutes)
Saturday, 19 March
12:45pm – Race#3 (25-minutes)
Sunday, 20 March
1:50pm – Race#4 (25-minutes)
Source. Motorsport Media