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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Sports/Touring Car Racing Topics:  Sydney Telstra 500, Shane van Gisbergen


Stone Brothers Racing
December 3, 2011

In a reversal of fortunes on last year’s Homebush race where he ran out of fuel while leading on the last lap, Stone Brothers Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen sealed a dramatic race with third place today after several other drivers suffered at the hands of poor fuel economy.

Starting the race from fourth place on the grid, van Gisbergen looked to be in the box seat early in the race after the first Safety Car period played into the hands of the #9 SP Tools Racing Team’s strategy. But the tables were soon turned on van Gisbergen when another Safety Car interval caught the #9 machine out of synch and sent him back several places.

In the race to the finish, van Gisbergen was sitting in fifth place and did a brilliant job managing his fuel burn to ensure he made it across the line in the top five, but with Rick Kelly and Michael Caruso running out of fuel on the last lap, van Gisbergen was quickly elevated onto the podium. His third place today guarantees van Gisbergen is in contention for third place in the Championship which will be decided tomorrow.

SBR Teammate Tim Slade also had a good day out after also making it into the Top Ten Shootout earlier in the day. Slade lined his #47 Lucky 7 Racing Falcon up in seventh place on the grid for the start of today’s race, and like van Gisbergen was looking good after the first round of pit stops. While the race didn’t play out to Slade’s full advantage, his SBR Falcon had the pace to keep him well inside the top ten today, and after a nail-biting last few laps having to conserve fuel in order to make it across the finish line, Slade racked up a solid sixth place and cemented his 11th place in the Championship standings.

IRWIN Racing pilot Alex Davison also made the most of his race after a disappointing qualifying session saw him start today’s 250km stoush back in 27th place. Davison put that behind him and valiantly fought his way through the field to just narrowly miss the top ten to finish 12th. It was a great effort by Davison, who worked his way through a variety of handicaps thanks to a battle-scarred Falcon. Davison heads into tomorrow’s race sitting in ninth place on the Championship ladder.

The SBR Falcons will return to the track tomorrow morning at 10.20am for qualifying, followed by the final race of the 2011 season (74 laps/250km) at 3.05pm.

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

“It was great to pick up this result after last years’ disappointment. After the incident in the second stint I ran way off line and picked up some debris on my tyres which slowed me down for a few laps – it was a bit weird because some laps it was fine and others it didn’t feel too good but we managed to work through it. We weren’t in the best of positions after that to be saving for fuel and pushing hard at the end, but it worked out ok.”

Tim Slade – Driver, Lucky 7 Racing Car #47

“Yeah it was an interesting one that – I guess I tried to play the numbers game in that one – having been in this position before with a 250km race and going out too hard too early and come unstuck, so my goal was to be there in the end. We had a pretty pacey car today – qualifying was good and in the shootout we didn’t run on greens so seventh was probably alright considering. The car was really strong in the first stint but I didn’t want to take any risks trying to pass anyone because of the degradation of the brakes this track causes but we have a good base to work on for tomorrow’s race.”

Alex Davison – Driver, IRWIN Racing Car #4

“Our race was going fairly good until we ran into a number of problems – I got away well and in the first stint was able to get past a number of cars, which is no mean feat around this place. Toward the end of the stint, I was struggling with brake fade – which made life difficult and by the end of the race, the pedal was virtually to the floor. Adding to that, the steering was damaged about halfway through the race and I wouldn’t know whether I’d have power steering or not – depending on which corner I was on. Having to double pit cost us some time, but that’s how things go, we had to come in at that time, otherwise it would have been a lot worse. I was able to limp the IRWIN Racing Falcon home in the end and hang onto it – but it was pretty tough out there.”

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