After taking delivery of his Novacastrian Motorsport car just days before the start of the season, Drew Russell has impressed a number of the top teams in the 2008 Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide. Despite a number of set...
After taking delivery of his Novacastrian Motorsport car just days before the start of the season, Drew Russell has impressed a number of the top teams in the 2008 Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide. Despite a number of set backs throughout the weekend Drew showed that he has what it takes to be a regular top 15 runner this season.
Local Adelaide team, Team Dynamik, updated Novacastrian Motorsport's car from a VX to a VZ, handing the car over on Monday leaving the team little time to prepare the car. The first time the car was driven in anger was the opening practice session around the streets of Adelaide on Thursday.
Light rain started to fall just prior to qualifying, however it cleared quickly and it was dry enough for the team to put slicks onto Drew's car. Drew went out at the end of a long train of cars and was quickly running in the top 15. The session was interrupted when the rain returned after just 10 minutes with Drew running in 11th position and on a flying lap. The rain made the track increasingly slippery and as a result Drew was unable to complete his lap, dropping him down the order to 18th position where he would stay for the remainder of the session.
The team chose to use this opportunity to complete a number laps in the wet conditions in anticipation of the rain that was forecast to fall during the race.
Drew and the team were really happy with the way the car was running and were looking forward to the race, confident that they could run further up the order in the race.
Race 1 -- 24 laps
The unpredictable weather that was seen in the qualifying session continued throughout the day with a heavy rain shower falling half an hour before the first race. The track dried, with only a few damp patches and threatening clouds overhead greeting the grid as they lined up for the start of the first race of the 2008 Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series.
Drew made a good, clean start and was up to 16th by the end of lap 1, fighting hard to climb further up the order.
Unfortunately this was attack was cut short when a wheel hub failure forced Drew into the pits on lap 5. The team quickly fixed the problem and sent him back out again at the back of the pack and a lap down. Drew fought hard for the remainder of the race, passing more than 10 cars on track during the 24 laps. Once in clean air he was able to set consistently quick times. Given the limited practice time the team had as a result of a shock failure in the first session and the changeable weather in the qualifying session, this opportunity to test the car provided valuable information.
Race 2 -- Red flagged after 18 laps
As a result of problems in the first race Drew lined up in 26th position for the start of the second race. Drew had a lightening fast opening lap, moving up into 20th position by the end of the first lap. He was running in 17th position on lap 5 and fighting hard when the wheel hub problems they suffered in the earlier race returned, forcing Drew to concede his position and return to the pits. The team sent him back out, returning to the track just behind the race leader, one lap down.
On the next lap out there was a serious accident at turn 8 bringing out the safety car. The team chose to bring Drew into the pits again at this point to raise the ride height of the car and to avoid leaving him a lap down with the pack bunched behind him. He returned to the track and was quickly on the tail of the pack.
The race was eventually red flagged and declared on lap 18, after 75% of the race had been completed.
Wayne Russell -- Team Manager:
"Drew drove incredibly well this weekend. Despite all the problems we encountered he continued to give 110%. We are confident that we had the speed to run in the top 15 this weekend which is a promising sign for the rest of the season.
"Operating on a budget of less than a quarter of what the top teams are spending we are really pleased to see how close we are. With a bit more track time I'm sure we can iron out any minor problems and we will be right up there for the next round at Wakefield Park in April."
Major sponsors for the Clipsal 500, Geoff and Mary Field, owners of local Adelaide company Good Vibrations, were very pleased with the weekend and were impressed with the response they received from their branding on the car.
"Supporting Drew and the Novacastrian Motorsport team this weekend has been a real eye opener; we had no idea of the huge level of exposure we would receive. I have had a number of really positive phone calls from people who have seen the car on the track. We are very happy with coverage we have received."
Drew and the rest of the Novacastrian Motorsport team would like to thank Good Vibrations for all their support this weekend.
They would also like the thank the following sponsors for their continued support, Go Karts Go, Koala Glass, Koala Clothing, Century Batteries, Valvoline Newcastle, Hunter Valley Solutions, Steve Koulis Smash Repairs and Walker and Company.
The next round of the 2008 Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series will be held at Wakefield Park, New South Wales, on 4-6 April.