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Mixed weekend for Steven Richards Motorsport in Sydney

SRM_LaserRacing_Rennsport_frnt_0516_medSteven Richards Motorsport endured a mixed weekend during the annual ‘Pro-Am’ race at Sydney Motorsport Park as part of the popular Porsche Rennsport Australia Festival. On the one-hand the #12 Laser Racing Porsche of Richards and Dean Grant suffered at the hands of fate whilst running strongly in the final race, whilst for SRM team-mates James Bergmuller and Garth Tander, they enjoyed a fantastic weekend, claiming second outright for the event at the close of the two 34-lap races.

“The fact that we loaded two Porsches back into the truck unmarked is a win in anybody’s language,” Richards lamented post-event.

“On the one-hand, as a team owner, I’m overjoyed with the results that James achieved. It’s his first ever win in the Tag Heuer Carrera Challenge class, and his first outright podium, a real shot in the arm for the whole team. The flipside of that of course as a driver, is frustration. We always knew that the weekend was going to present a challenge for Dean, especially against a big mix of amateur and professional drivers who have been racing constantly over the last 12 months. During that time Dean has been keeping fit, but there’s no substitute for racing miles, so we worked a strategy around that.

“In qualifying Dean showed good pace, but he was also trying not to hurt the tyres too badly, so settled into a comfortable rhythm knowing that I’d qualify on the same set, and then we’d start the race on those tyres too.”

Starting from position 17 (starting position was the aggregate qualifying time of the two drivers), Grant held on comfortably until the compulsory mid-race stop, handing the car to Richards who was aided by a new set of control Michelin tyres.

“The tyres were the key to the weekend. The Sydney surface is pretty abrasive for the Michelin, so the drop-off (pace of the tyre when new, compared to the pace of the tyre once it is used) is quite significant.

“That extra pace allowed me to work my way from last to 12th at the flag – and we were the fastest car on the circuit over the closing laps – which was okay, and gave me a starting position from the sixth row for race two.”

With new Michelin rubber under the Laser Racing Porsche once again, Richards charged off the line for race two and quickly worked his way past a string of V8 Supercar stars to be in second place and right on the tail of the leader on his way into the pits to hand over to Grant.

Grant continued to run strongly, holding down fifth position late in the race, before a Safety Car intervention bunched up the field, and with just a handful of laps remaining, the former GT star was quickly swamped, dropping back to 12th at the flag.

“It clearly wasn’t our weekend,” Richards admitted with a shrug. “Had the Safety Car come out in the early stages of the opening race, we would have been in the box seat for a podium, but it didn’t, it came out at the worst possible time for us in the closing stages of race two.. Dean had done a brilliant job all weekend, he drove consistently, and kept the car clean, but sadly for him our strategy didn’t allow him a good run on new rubber, so he wasn’t really able to show what he was truly capable of, but that’s what these two driver mini-enduros are about. All up, we’re still in the title race, and focus now shifts to Darwin in mid-June for the next round, an event which is always a favourite of ours.”

Round four of the 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Championship sees a return to Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin on 17-19 June to an event which is always a popular addition to the calendar for those coming from the southern states.

2016 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Championship
Rnd#3 – Porsche Rennsport Australia Festival (29 April-1 May)

Qualifying – Challenge Class Drivers (20-minutes) – 30 April
1. Geoff Emery (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup) – 1:30.9823
2. Shane Smollen (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup) – 1:31.0164
3. Adrian Flack (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup) – 1:31.5434
4. Roger Lago (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup) – 1:31.5653
16. Dean Grant (Laser Racing Porsche 991 GT3 Cup) – 1:32.9363

Qualifying – Pro Drivers (20-minutes) – 30 April
1. Matt Campbell (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup) – 1:29.3520
2. Tim Slade (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup) – 1:30.0492
3. Alex Davison (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup) – 1:30.1853
4. Nick Percat (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup) – 1:30.2270
18. Steve Richards (Laser Racing Porsche 991 GT3 Cup) – 1:31.2894

Race#1 (34-laps) – 30 April
1. Matt Campbell/Geoff Emery (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup)
2. James Bergmuller/Garth Tander (pricepressure.com.au Porsche 991 GT3 Cup)
3. Tony Bates/David Reynolds (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup)
4. David Wall/Adrian Flack (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup)
12. Steven Richards/Dean Grant (Laser Racing Porsche 991 GT3 Cup)

Race#2 (34-laps) – 1 May
1. Matt Campbell/Geoff Emery (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup)
2. Nick McBride/Dylan Thomas (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup)
3. Shane Smollen/Nick Percat (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup)
4. Shane van Gisgbergen/Paul Kelly (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup)
12. Steven Richards/Dean Grant (Laser Racing Porsche 991 GT3 Cup)

2016 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia (points after three rounds of eight)
1. Matt Campbell (456.5-points), 2. Nick McBride (420), 3. Alex Davison (368), 4. Ashley Walsh (276), 5. David Wall (275), 6. Michael Almond (258), 7. Steven Richards (257), 8. Fraser Ross (225.5), 9. James Bergmuller (190.5), 10. Duvashen Padayachee (182.5)

Source. Motorsport Media


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