Heimgartner inspired by Richards' Darwin legacy

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 18/06/2022
  • By James Pavey

The Darwin exploits of the late Jason Richards have handed Andre Heimgartner extra motivation to chase pole.

The Merlin Darwin Triple Crown is Heimgartner’s first Hidden Valley appearance for Brad Jones Racing.

In 2009, New Zealander Richards scored BJR’s first pole in the Darwin shootout.

It was the first career pole for Richards, who passed away in 2011.

A New Zealander will again pilot a #8 BJR Commodore in Darwin, this time in the form of Heimgartner.

The team’s spearhead revealed he watched a post on Supercars’ Facebook which celebrated Richards’ breakthrough pole.

A first pole for BJR is in the offing for Heimgartner given his strong Friday pace.

Heimgartner, who turned 27 last week, was second in Practice 2 behind compatriot Shane van Gisbergen.

“I was watching Supercars’ post about Jason Richards in 2009 getting pole in the shootout,” Heimgartner said.

“In car number eight, with BJR… so another Kiwi in car number eight.

“We’ll try and do it like he did all the way back then.

“Everyone’s pretty geed up, but we’re not holding high expectations.

“Today we’ll just go out there and do our best.

“If we have the same competitiveness as yesterday, we’ll for sure be in the fight for pole.”

Richards celebrates in 2009 Pic: AN1 Images

Heimgartner has found form of late, scoring podiums in Perth and Winton.

The Kiwi was quick over one lap and on race runs, a smart return given the updated tyre regulations.

He reiterated comments made in Friday’s press conference regarding tyre performance, saying it remains an “unknown”.

“Even people that did runs yesterday, it’s totally different going out of the pts doing 15 laps or 10 laps,” he said.

“At the start of a race, you’re all geed up, it’s harder to keep tyres underneath you when you’ve got cars around you.

“It’s going to be very interesting today.”

ARMOR ALL Qualifying will commence at 11:45am local time.

Purchase your Merlin Darwin Triple Crown tickets now.

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