Besnard Sets High Expectation
Australian driver David Besnard today fell short of his own expectation in the second and final qualifying session ahead of Sunday's Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast.
Besnard had a troublesome day that started just five minutes into the morning's 75 minute practice session.
Besnard hit a bump while changing gear and, with the wheels of his Wright Patton Shakespeare/Walker Racing Reynard in the air, the gear change damaged his gearbox.
He pulled the car into the pits after just two laps and was forced to cool his heels for about 45 minutes while his crew made some running repairs to the third gear.
Besnard completed another two laps but the gearbox problems remained and he was forced to park the car for the duration of the session.
He had completed just four laps of the challenging Surfers Paradise street circuit.
"Considering I haven't really driven these cars before I couldn't really afford to lose the session," said Besnard.
He returned to the track for the afternoon qualifying session with a new gearbox and found an extra one second on the time he set when he placed 13th in the first qualifying session from Friday.
However, late in qualifying he ran out of fuel and caused the session to be red flagged. He was subsequently penalized his fastest qualifying lap.
The penalty saw him drop to 17th in qualifying. He will start from that position for Sunday's main race.
"I had bigger expectation for today," he said.
"After putting the thing 13th yesterday I felt I had more to improve than the guys who have been doing it for a long time.
"Hurting the gearbox this morning really cost me a lot. I could have taken one and a half hours this morning to get comfortable. Instead, I had to put it on the line in 15 minutes rather than one hour and 15 minutes."
Besnard said he was dealt a double-blow at the end of the session when he ran out of fuel and was penalized his fastest lap.
"It was a double-whammy for me because I was on a quicker lap again when it happened. It was a kick in the guts as I lost my other lap as well," he said.
Besnard said he would be relaxed going into Sunday's Lexmark Indy 300.
"Tomorrow isn't about going quick," he said.
"It's about staying straight and attrition. I will be watching them fall off in front and hopefully I will be out-thinking a few of them as well."
Besnard is racing in the Champ Car in a one-off drive courtesy of his WPS Racing team owner Craig Gore, who negotiated a deal with Champ Car series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven and Walker Racing principal Derrick Walker.
He will resume his place in the WPS Racing Ford Falcon in the next round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series in Tasmania next month.