Richards sets GT pace at Sydney Shannons Nats

Steven Richards speeds past a Ginetta on the front straight

Steven Richards speeds past a Ginetta on the front straight

Carrera Cup ace Steven Richards has topped the practice time sheets ahead of his return to the Australian GT Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Richards, who is back behind the wheel of the Justin McMillan Lamborghini Gallardo that he co-drive in February’s Bathurst 12 Hour, set the quickest time in the first of three practice sessions.

Fully repaired from its crash at the previous round at Phillip Island, the Gallardo is benefiting from the engineering assistance of Paul Ceprnich this weekend.

Erebus Motorsport’s Jack Le Brocq came closest to Richards’ 1:28.69s best in the late afternoon, falling just 0.2s shy.

The John Bowe/Peter Edwards Ferrari, Tony Quinn Aston Martin and Nathan Antunes/Rod Salmon Audi completed the top five on combined times.

The Formula 3 Australian Drivers’ Championship, Australian Manufacturers’ Championship, GT3 Cup Challenge, Radical Australia Cup and Swift Racing Series were also on track for practice ahead of the weekend’s Shannons Nationals meeting.

Nick Foster and Tim Macrow set the pace in the F3 sessions, with the former proving just 0.1s faster than his BRM team-mate.

The stage is set for a healthy battle between the Dallara and Mygale chassis, both of which have already won races this season.

In preparations for Round 2 of the AMC, Glenn Seton and Bob Pearson continued from where they left off at Phillip Island’s season opener.

Seton’s fastest time saw the former Australian Touring Car Champion 0.2s clear of fellow Mitsubishi driver Garry Holt, with Dylan Thomas, in yet another Lancer, just 0.1s further adrift in third.

Richard Muscat looks likely to continue his GT3 Cup dominance after an ominously fast Friday, while the Radical and Swift pace-setters were Josh Hunt and Andrew Price respectively.

The Swifts shared two practice sessions with the AMC ahead of their appearance in the opening hour of the multi-marque category’s 3 Hour endurance race on Sunday afternoon.

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