KNIGHT ACHIEVES PLENTY OF POSITIVES IN V8 SUPERCAR DEBUT While the results ultimately eluded him, Christchurch driver Andy Knight showed his potential while gaining valuable time at the wheel of a V8 Supercar during his debut in the Fujitsu V8...
KNIGHT ACHIEVES PLENTY OF POSITIVES IN V8 SUPERCAR DEBUT
While the results ultimately eluded him, Christchurch driver Andy Knight showed his potential while gaining valuable time at the wheel of a V8 Supercar during his debut in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series at Queensland Raceway near Brisbane last weekend.
The 2007/2008 Toyota Racing Series Champion and current New Zealand Grand Prix title holder was quickly on the pace in the first practice session of the weekend on Friday morning. Andy set the eleventh fastest time in his MW Motorsport BA Falcon around the 3.12 kilometre track, just .9353 of a second off the fastest time and quicker than team-mate Grant Denyer plus fellow kiwi's Craig Baird and Gene Rollinson. In fact with just thirty seconds remaining in the session Andy sat eighth on the timesheets in the ultra-competitive series.
However the second practice period was the defining moment of the weekend for the 22-year-old. A broken rocker curtailed his session and the time lost meant he narrowly missed the cut to go into the top fifteen in qualifying. Instead he was left to qualify in the second half of the pack on a track with no rubber laid down to aid grip. That left the single seater champion nineteenth on the grid for the opening race on Saturday afternoon. In that race a typically storming drive saw Andy on the move as he quickly gained several placings. However his good work was undone when he lost position at the restart, falling back to a final placing of seventeenth.
In the second race, held on Sunday morning, the Cantabrian totally missed the start and fell to the rear of the large field. Again he showed his ability to pass cars, working his way through the traffic back to seventeenth place at the conclusion of the 14 lap race. In the third and final race Knight again made up several places, receiving the chequered flag in fourteenth position to end the weekend fifteenth overall for the round.
While the time lost in Friday's second practice session impacted on his weekend as he lost both track time as well as the opportunity to set a time to make the faster group, Andy demonstrated the ability that has made him a champion in his home country. After his qualifying time consigned him to the heavy midfield traffic he handed in three mature drives to keep the car unscathed while completing plenty of passes to gain position in each of the races.
"It was always going to be a learning curve," said Andy on his return to Christchurch yesterday. "I know what it's all about now and I felt more comfortable in the car every time I went out in it. Missing the second practice session and falling into the bottom 50% for qualifying cost us badly."
Knight's appearance at Round 4 of the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series was made possible thanks to the Chris Amon International Scholarship of $30,000, part of the prize package for winning the 2007/2008 Toyota Racing Series. Additional support came from Milwaukee Power Tools, one of the world's premium power tool brands, Mitre 10 Mega, Silencer Batts and the Latimer Hotel.