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Sports/Touring Car Racing Topics:  Armor All Gold Coast 600


Stone Brothers Racing
October 23, 2011

This afternoon’s final 300km race at the Gold Coast 600 was always going to be a tough gig for Stone Brothers Racing (SBR), after a challenging qualifying session earlier in the day saw its three Falcons line-up in 12th, 18th and 22nd places on the grid.

Alex Davison and Marc Lieb in the #4 IRWIN Racing Falcon were the best starters for SBR in 12th place and by lap 30 were running as high as sixth place. Everything was looking good for the IRWIN Racing pair, but contact with Fabian Coulthard in pit lane earned the #4 Falcon an over-zealous ‘drive-through-penalty’ on lap 60, which sent them tumbling back to 19th place. From there it was a battle to conserve fuel and tyres until the end, hampering any real chance of making back the lost track position. Davison and Lieb finished the race in 18th place, which was disappointing considering that earlier in the race a top-ten result was almost a certainty. This weekend’s results see Davison hold his ninth place in the Championship standings.

#47 Lucky 7 Racing drivers Tim Slade and Helio Castroneves fared worst of the three SBR Falcons in qualifying – starting the race in 22nd place – but they put that behind them when the lights went out. Castroneves made a blinding start, jumping up six places on the opening lap and was running as high as 14th by lap 11 – but just when things were looking good for Castoneves, a problem with the rear roll-bar reared its head causing severe understeer, leaving the Brazilian with no alternative than to pit for new tyres and adjustments. The unscheduled stop put #47 off the lead-lap for a period but the team made the call to run Castoneves’ stint longer than normal, which paid off – with him handing over the car to Slade for the run home in tenth place. After slipping back to 17th, Slade wrestled his wounded Falcon back into the top ten in the closing laps in a great display of mature driving. Slade will head to the next round in 13th place on the Championship points table.

Shane van Gisbergen and Italian Emanuele Pirro in the #9 SP Tools Racing Falcon also had a big job ahead of them today after qualifying back in 18th place. Pirro once again started the race and like his international counterparts, made a great start and put in some consistently fast laps which had him running in 11th place by lap 18. Van Gisbergen took over on lap 34 for the long drive home, and with no tyre life left with 24 laps to go, pitted a final time for fresh tyres and a splash of fuel. While the #9 car was remarkably quick in the closing stages of the race, by then it was a case of too little too late with the end of the race preventing van Gisbergen from progressing any higher than 16th place. Although a tough weekend, van Gisbergen holds his third place in the Championship.

SBR will now head home to Yatala and begin preparations for the next round at Symmons Plains in Tasmania on November 11.

Ross Stone – Team Principal, SBR.

“It was a frustrating weekend because I really thought we had good cars and were genuine top ten contenders. But it just shows how tough it is around here – you’ve got to have that track position, and at the end of the day when it came to our stops we didn’t have the track position we needed to be genuine contenders. We had good speed though which was reflected in our lap times – Shane, Alex and Tim were solid all the way – but it just didn’t pan out for us today.”

Tim Slade – Driver, Lucky 7 Racing car #47

“We had a fast car on Friday and missing that qualifying session yesterday probably put us outside the ballpark a bit with our setup and we struggled again in qualifying today which made it hard for Helio again starting back in the 20’s. Pretty much from the first lap we had a problem with the rear so Helio did an awesome job to kick things off the way he did. The upside was that while the car was no good when the tyres were green, it looked after the rears, so at the end of the race I was able to reel those guys in that I had to let past earlier. I can’t say enough about the job Helio did though – he was fantastic – top five in his practice sessions and one of the quickest guys out there so I’d love to work with him again next year.”

Helio Castroneves (Brazil) – Co-Driver, Lucky 7 Racing car #47

“I made a great start and we jumped quite a few places and kept ourselves out of the madness that was going on out there but then unfortunately we had the issue with the rear roll-bar – but we were able to work around that. The Team did a fantastic job –Tim saved fuel and was able to get us back into the top ten, so I’m extremely happy for him and SBR. It was awesome to come back here again and although I don’t get to take a surfboard (trophy) home hopefully I’ll be invited back again next year and we can stitch that up.”

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

“Today was another tough day but Emanuele did a great job in making a great start and bringing the car back straight – we decided to take a bit of a gamble at the end with a late stop but it didn’t really play out how we would have liked.”

Emanuele Pirro (Italy) – Co-Driver, SP Tools Racing car #9

“It’s been a terrific experience. I go home with a big smile on my face and I will never stop thanking the team and everybody for helping me – I learnt a lot and I had a lot of fun driving a V8 Supercar. I think our performance today was a lot better than the results show – we didn’t really make any big mistakes, we just weren’t hit by good luck. Overall a fantastic experience and I thank god Shane keeps his position in the Championship so he can be happy. I can say from now I already look forward to coming back and already feel like I’m at home here.”

Alex Davison – Driver, IRWIN Racing car #4

“Very rough weekend. Yesterday there was nothing we could do and today we were running good – Marc got a great start, had a really good first stint and got us up to sixth place. We were looking good and then I got held up a bit getting out of my pit box and made contact with Coulthard. We copped a drive through penalty which pretty much ended any chance we had of a good result.”

Marc Lieb (Germany), Co-Driver, IRWIN Racing car #4

“I feel for Alex this weekend. Yesterday was no good and today was hard too. We had a good start and everything was going well – we were running with the pack so it’s really disappointing when you see where we could have ended up if we hadn’t been penalised, so really bad luck for us today. I really enjoyed working with the team and Alex and hope everything bounces back next round.”

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