After a mid-season break for the height of winter, the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship embarked on the second half of the season with a return to Sydney Motorsport Park for the fifth event of the year.
After a strong run in Darwin during mid-June, Steven Richards was back at a circuit that had delivered some solid podium results in past years, and the Laser Racing star was looking to consolidate and build on his championship position in the two scheduled point-scoring races across the weekend.
Ultimately he was unable to gain a podium finish, but his consistency across the two races sees the #12 Laser Racing Porsche maintain fifth in points heading to Melbourne’s Sandown Park in three weeks time.
“My goal for the weekend was to get as many points as possible, so I was probably a little hard on myself going into the two races,” Richards explained.
“We chose a strategy in qualifying that relied on me getting the best from the car. We’d elected to keep fresh tyres for the opening race by qualifying on the tyres we’d used in practice, but I wasn’t able to extract the best from them, so I qualified only eighth however a couple more tenths would have seen me on the second row.
“The first race though was a cracker, I managed to charge through the pack off the start to be sixth pretty quickly, then fifth by mid-race, but we’re so evenly matched that I just couldn’t get around the guys in front of me, even though I was the fastest car on the circuit.”
For the standing lap record holder of Carrera Cup at Sydney Motorsport Park, the result showed the Laser Plumbing & Electrical Type 991 Porsche had the pace to run at the front, but a tough start for race two made the job a little more challenging.
“I just didn’t get the start I wanted and got swamped into turn one and dropped back to seventh,” Richards explained. “From there I was pretty quickly on the back of the leaders, but I just couldn’t move any further forward, even though it was clear again that we had the pace to finish on the podium. Ultimately I had to settle for points and that keeps us in the mix heading to Sandown and Bathurst which are two events I really enjoy, so we’re still there, but from here on, I need wins, and that’s what we’ll be targeting over the final three rounds.”
The final race of the weekend was an invitational event shared with Porsche Carrera Cup Asia who were entered for their own event in Sydney, the two ‘Pro’ fields from each region pitted against each other, although not for championship points.
“That was a fun race, but we were all being cautious,” Richards admitted. “I was forced to start mid-field which is never ideal on a busy circuit like Sydney, but I managed to keep my nose clean and pass about five cars during the race, but with no points on offer, we ran old tyres and used the session to gain some more data for the final few rounds.”
The sixth round of the 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia season will see a return to Melbourne’s Sandown Raceway (16-18 September) alongside the V8 Supercars who compete in their maiden endurance event of the season, an event where reigning Bathurst 1000 champion Steven Richards will once more join Red Bull Racing Australia’s Craig Lowndes.
Source. Motorsport Media