SBR Experience Highs and Lows in Race 1 at Winton
SBR Experience Highs and Lows in Race 1 at Winton
Stone Brothers Racing
May 2, 2009
It was a disastrous start to the race weekend at Winton Motor Raceway today when both SBR FG Falcons qualified outside the top 20.
SP Tools Racing’s Shane van Gisbergen was first out on the track for Leg 1 of qualifying when just minutes into the session he ran off course and ploughed through a ditch damaging the front bar. In the pits the SBR garage ran hectic as the crew replaced the radiator and front bar quickly in an attempt to have Shane re-enter the session with enough time left to break into the top 20.
With three minutes left on the clock Shane managed to get two laps in but was unable to post a time valid of a spot in the second qualifying leg, finishing in 27th.
It was a frustrating result for the IRWIN Racing crew when the team decided to keep the FG Falcon in the pits to conserve tyres after Davison had broken into the top ten. Feeling safe inside the top 20 with 5 minutes left to go tension began to rise as Alex’s name moved slowly down the timesheet into 19th position. With minutes left in the session the team found the #4 car borderline in 20th position before the last 30 seconds of the session pushed Alex out into 23rd.
With poor qualifying results behind them the team adjusted their original race plans opting to go for an early pit stop strategy for Car #4. Davison started the race on sprint tyres and was called into the pits on the 1st lap for a full tank of fuel, the team hoping to have him re-enter the circuit with clear space. The decision to pit early proved to be a popular one as a number of cars entered Pit Lane at the same time causing Alex to make contact with Murphy upon exit.
Davison was soon to find out his race would be plagued with penalties when Race Control enforced a Pit Lane penalty for the contact with Murphy. On Lap 10 Alex entered Pit Lane to serve his drive through and re-entered the track in 26th position, 12 seconds behind the car in front of him.
After a nightmare start to the weekend things were looking up for Van Gisbergen as he managed to work his way up through the field throughout the 33 lap race. After starting the race on hard tyres, Shane stopped for fuel and changed to sprint tyres on Lap 9 before activating his orange light to indicate the soft tyres were in use.
The first and only Safety Car period during the race was deployed on lap 20 when Bargwanna spun off the track on green tyres making contact with the wall at turn 2. On the restart van Gisbergen had worked his way up to 8th before Tander and Holdsworth came together, spinning off the track allowing for the SP Tools Racing Falcon to pick up another two places.
Davison’s day went from bad to worse, after making progress to sit inside the top 20 he clipped Dale Wood as he was trying to pass. Once again Race Control reported to the crew that Alex would need to serve another drive through as penalty for a driving infringement.
On the following lap (31) the IRWIN Racing Falcon made its way down Pit Lane once more to serve a drive through and finished the race in 21st position. Van Gisbergen held position throughout the dying stages and crossed the line in 6th, 21 places ahead of his starting position.
Alex Davison – Driver IRWIN Racing Car #4
“We passed some cars on the first lap, then during the stop the we crashed into Murphy when I exited after getting fuel. The contact with Murphy bent my steering which made things hard and then I flat spotted a tyre and it just got worse and worse.
“With the soft tyres you only have to have a little lock up to destroy them so I had no front tyres and struggled with big understeer due to the flat spot. At the end of the race the rear tyres were gone too so it became just about getting to the end.”
“I am confident we can come back from this and qualify well for tomorrow’s race, it doesn’t sound like many cars will be out on the sprint tyres tomorrow so we can just get on with regular racing.”
Shane van Gisbergen – Driver SP Tools Racing Car #9
“I made a mistake in qualifying and went off the track, but we came good in the race. We started 27th and got a good start, then put the soft tyres on and we were away. We passed a few cars and made up good time in the pits. When the tyres were dying off the car was all over the place and felt quite slippery so it became a bit of a battle at the end there.
“At the end of the race I was happy to see we were just outside the lap record.”
Paul Forgie – Engineer Car #9
“It was a nice mature drive from Shane today which is good to see. We had a bit of trouble in qualifying on a cold tyre and I think we pushed him a little hard to get the job done so we qualified back in 27th. The boys got their SP Tools out and worked their magic and we were really strong for the race and found ourselves finishing up in 6th which is really a fantastic result.”
“It looked like the majority of the field opted to use up their soft tyres in today’s race. The way the format of the weekend is it didn’t make a lot of sense to run them tomorrow with the size of the fuel tank and it’s obvious a lot of the other teams picked up on that.
“We have a nice selection of green tyres for qualifying tomorrow so I think you’ll see us closer to the front.”
The V8 Supercars will take to the track tomorrow at 10:35am for Qualifying before gridding up for Race 2 at 1:05pm.