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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Sports/Touring Car Racing Topics:  L&H 500 Phillip Island


Stone Brothers Racing
September 12, 2009

The #9 IRWIN/SP Tools Racing team of Shane van Gisbergen and Alex Davison will start tomorrow’s L&H 500 from 7th on the grid following a great performance in today’s two 14-lap sprint races at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. John McIntyre and Daniel Gaunt were not far behind their teammates in the IRWIN/SP Tools Racing sister car, securing an 11th place on tomorrow’s grid.

Today’s format saw each driver complete a 30 minute practice session, 20 minute qualifying session and 14 lap race, the combined results of the races determining the starting positions for tomorrow’s 500km endurance race.

Van Gisbergen started from 11th and got off to a great start in Race ‘A’ moving up two positions on the first lap. The #9 Falcon was in top form with van Gisbergen making his way into 6th position at the end of Lap 4. The IRWIN/SP Tools Racing driver was up to 4th with two laps to go and remained there until the chequered flag.

Daniel Gaunt also came away with a solid race result despite having to take the compulsory tyre stop for car #4. Starting the race from 21st position, Daniel pitted for two new rear tyres on Lap 4 after a slick start on the grid. Gaunt found himself with plenty of racing room when he left Pit Lane and managed to post some solid times, finishing one position from where he started in 20th.

In Race ‘B’ Alex Davison avoided early mayhem when Jason Richards failed to get his car off the start line. Davison maintained his competitive pace dicing with Jamie Whincup until pitting for his compulsory tyre stop at the half way point of the race. At the end of the stop Davison re-entered the Pit Lane and made contact with HRT’s Garth Tander.

During the following lap Davison and Tander battled for position before Paul Forgie, Engineer for car #4 ordered Davison to let Tander pass to rectify the earlier incident. Davison finished the race strong crossing the line 21st.

John McIntyre’s race was an incident free 14 lap sprint to the finish. The two-time NZV8 Champion thrilled the SBR Team with his speed finishing 8th and in front of a number of the series regulars.

The IRWIN/SP Tools Racing Falcons will be on track at 10:25am tomorrow for a 20 minute warm-up before the 500km feature race at 1:30pm.

Alex Davison – Driver, IRWIN/SP Tools Racing Car #9

“That was about as good as we were going to do in that race having to pit. We tried a different setup to see what worked better and I don’t think it was as good, the car didn’t feel as good as it did in qualifying. That was always the plan to see which one worked better so it gives us something to think about tonight.

“I couldn’t see Garth Tander, I stayed left of the pit lane and went when Paul told me to.

“Overall today was good, Shane had a brilliant race, it was good to watch. I have nightmares sometimes that a race is about to start, the cars are on the grid, I’m not ready yet and I miss the race and that is kind of how watching Shane’s race felt. I couldn’t relax, it almost felt wrong not being dressed in my suit and helmet but it was great to be a spectator.

“It was funny having a headset on, Shane’s quite interesting to listen to on the radio, he was getting pretty excited passing all those cars!”

Shane van Gisbergen – Driver, IRWIN/SP Tools Racing Car #9

“We were good in practice and then in qualifying we had good balance but just no grip. We also had to deal with a fair bit of traffic.

“In the race we started 12th, I had great speed and was able to conserve the tyres for the end so it was good fun.

“Alex did really well, he did a great job finishing third of the cars that pitted. We made a change for his race that didn’t work so tonight we will find a happy medium to give us the best shot at tomorrow’s race.”

John McIntyre – Driver, IRWIN/SP Tools Racing Car #4

“It’s been a really good day, I was really happy to bring it home, we had such a strong car all day. We were much quicker in the early stages of the races and when in traffic we were able to pass cars which definitely gave me confidence.

“Near the end of the race the car was only going off a tiny bit compared to the cars in front so we had some really good race pace.

“It’s been really good fun, everyone has a really good attitude when it comes to getting the car further forward without putting too much pressure on us and its all working out very nicely.”

Daniel Gaunt – Driver, IRWIN/SP Tools Racing Car #4

“It was a great day, I couldn’t ask for much better. It would have been nice to start tomorrow’s race from inside the top ten but 11th is a great effort, we are certainly in the thick of it and out of the mayhem up the back. If our race pace is similar in tomorrow race we should finish with a great result.

"The SBR crew is just awesome, we had the second fastest pit stop in my race and it was great to get that out of the way. John did a fantastic job to get home eighth and I am really proud of him and the team.”

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