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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Sports/Touring Car Racing Topics:  Australian Grand Prix


Stone Brothers Racing
March 24, 2011

Melbourne once again turned on the wet weather it’s famous for during today’s first hit out for the V8 Supercars at the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit. Two practice sessions were conducted under the testing conditions earlier in the day, but the rain stopped long enough for Stone Brothers Racing to place all three of its Falcons inside the top ten during qualifying.

When the sun finally set on the qualifying session, it was in Shane van Gisbergen in the #9 SP Tools Racing Falcon who emerged the quickest, not only of the three SBR boys, but the entire field, posting a cracking time of 1min57.18secs – half a second quicker than his nearest rival Craig Lowndes.

Tim Slade and his #47 Lucky 7 Racing Falcon was eighth quickest around the 5.3km semi-street circuit, closely followed by Alex Davison in the #4 IRWIN Racing Falcon who rounded out the top ten for SBR.

But the results didn’t rest there. With a radical new qualifying format being applied to the top qualifiers, everyone in the SBR garage held their breath in hope that our great qualifying positions would be retained once the fun and games of the new routine were applied.

Under the new rules for this event, Shane van Gisbergen, the fastest driver in the session, was asked to randomly draw one of 13 balls numbered between eight and 20 from his helmet directly after qualifying.

Having drawn the number eight ball, this determined that the top eight cars in the field would have their position on the timesheets reversed from the qualifying order. Confused yet? Don’t worry so are we.

With the draw complete this now means that all three SBR Falcons remain in the top ten. The worst possible result would have been that Shane drew number 20 and all SBR drivers would have missed out!

Thankfully the rest of the race meeting is straightforward, with the Race two grids being the finishing order of Race one and the third and final race being the finishing order of Race two.

Today’s qualifying result is a great one for the SBR team who hasn’t tasted victory at Albert Park since 2003.

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

“That was a great last lap. I was on a flyer just before the red flag was called for one of the Kelly cars and had to pit. I knew there wasn’t much time left but also knew if I could get another good lap in my tyres would be up to it. I was closing fast on Mark Winterbottom so I had a bit of speed and I was on it. When I crossed the finish line I saw the three green boxes on the big screen and that’s when it hit me that we had topped the session. Pulling the ball out of the helmet was a novelty but nerve-racking at the same time because we all could have ended up outside the top ten shoot out tomorrow which would have made life hard. Thankfully number eight came out and all three of us get to have a shot at pole position tomorrow.”

Tim Slade – Driver, Lucky 7 Racing Car #47

“The car was really good out of the box so it’s been a good weekend so far. All the changes we’ve made have kept us pointing in the right direction and the progression has been natural. I’m really happy we’re still in the shootout tomorrow – I would have been pretty upset had we not had the chance to capitalise on our speed today because someone pulled the wrong number out of a hat!”

Alex Davison – Driver, IRWIN Racing Car #4

“We were back in the mix in all sessions so to round out the top ten is a good sign. You always want to go faster but we can do that tomorrow in the shootout. To have all three of us back in the top ten is a great reward for the team after an average weekend at Clipsal. “

Albert Park Qualifying Results (top ten):

1     9  SP Tools Racing                  Shane Van Gisbergen      1:57.1899*
2   888  TeamVodafone                  Craig Lowndes                  1:57.7166 
3     6  Trading Post FPR Falcon   Will Davison                        1:57.7452 
4     5  Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon    Mark Winterbottom            1:57.7948 
5    15  Jack Daniel's Racing         Rick Kelly                             1:57.9396 
6    88  TeamVodafone                   Jamie Whincup                   1:57.9833 
7    19  Mother Energy Racing       Jonathon Webb                   1:58.0073 
8    47  Lucky 7 Racing                   Tim Slade                             1:58.0080 
9    14  Team BOC                           Jason Richards                  1:58.0237 
10    4  Irwin Racing                        Alex Davison                        1:58.1465

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